How to make domed decals and what are they anyway? Domed Decals: World’s most of the popular brands prefer them as product brand labels because of their attractive look and crystal clear view.
For many people, the concept of printing is simply a mechanical process of transferring onto material, usually paper, certain texts and images for everyone to see, read, and enjoy. The individual or entity, or sometimes, the machine that performs this task is called a printer.
This simplistic definition of printing may have been true 50 years ago, but not anymore. Printing has evolved into a complex process, using different processes and substrates. Your choice of printer and printing process will depend on your purpose for a particular printing job and the effects you want to produce on the finished printed product.
For example, the skills needed, process involved, materials used, and technology applied to produce a printed publication are different from those you will need to produce self-adhesive decals, or what is commonly known as stickers.
Even with stickers, you will need to use a specific type of substrate and technology to produce the type of decals you require. It has evolved and morphed into specific technologies to meet specific needs. For one, the type of self-adhesive material you will need for a decal that will be used outdoors – which means exposed to the elements – is different from that required for a decal that will only be used indoors. For outdoors, you will need something more durable, all-weather resistant, more eye-catching and, consequently, more expensive.
One recent technology in the sticker or decal business that has caught the attention of marketing and branding experts is the domed decals, a type of sticker with glossy, crystal clear domed effects on a design or logo. When added to any decal design, it produces domed decals – a 3D effect that captures light and creates an illusion that it illuminates by itself. It enhances the aesthetic appeal of the graphic design/logo and colors, augmenting the visibility and promotional message indicated on the domed decals.
Many equipment manufacturers use domed decals as permanent marking for their products because domed decals’ 3D appearance is attractive and domed decals are tested to withstand extreme heat and cold temperatures. The clear and glossy polyurethane material is capable of withstanding minor scratches and cuts because of its strength and malleability.
Because of its inherent aesthetic look, domed decals add value to a wide range of manufactured products, including cars, motorcycles, home appliances, and even garments. A number of clothing designers and manufacturers use domed decals by affixing them to clothes hangers. Domed decals are strategically placed on the hangers in such a manner that the customer will want to touch the domed decals first to add to the perceived value of the garment.
Manufacturing process of Domed Decals
This is not a complicated technology as you might think. The entire process is simple, but you will need special equipment and technical experience to produce the desired results. If you have a certain artwork or logo that you wish to have a domed effect, all you need to do is bring said design in original format or digital format using Adobe Photoshop or CorelDraw. The entire production process involves the following steps:
- An in-house artist will reformat your design to make as many possible images in one sheet of quality self-adhesive sheet vinyl foil or aluminum foil.
- The self-adhesive sheets are then run through a commercial inkjet printer or screen-print, applying acrylic ink, not ordinary paper ink. Offset printing is not applicable in this process.
- With screen-printing, the screen printer manually mixes each individual Pantone color.
Each logo is then die-cut on a plotter, (think an ink printer with a knife instead of ink) to cut out each decal according to its shape. Excess foil is trimmed off.
Each logo is then domed using an automatic and digital “doming machine” that delivers several droplets of crystal clear polyurethane (resin) per run. Domed decals are allowed to cure for at least two days. Order is shipped to customers as individual decals, or on sheets if preferred.
It’s not surprising to note that domed decals are in high demand for many kinds of business. While your best option is to hire a professional to print domed decals, you can also create domed decals yourself using polyurethane epoxy resin that you can purchase from craft supply stores and online.
This is a rather tedious process, but if you have plenty of time on your hands, can create your own design and have your own desktop printer, then impressing your family and friends with homemade domed decals for badges and pins is a cinch. Here’s how it is done in three steps:
Do It Your Self – Make Domed Decals Home
- Print a sheet of self-adhesive sheet and cut each decal from the sheet with a stripping knife or scissors. Brush each decal with a thin coat of white glue or decoupage medium and let dry. Place the decal on two wood craft or ice drop sticks on your work table and make sure it’s completely level before applying the resin.
- Mix the epoxy resin according the instructions indicated on the package and slowly apply drops of the epoxy resin to the center of the decal. With a toothpick, guide the resin into the corners and edges of the decal. If there are air bubbles, pop them using the toothpick.
- Add more drops of the resin until a dome is created and allow your work to cure and dry for 48 hours.
The above domed decals process is ideal for small home projects and may take a few hits and misses before it is perfected. Professional domed decals manufacturers have highly efficient digital equipment to ensure each decal is mass-produced to perfection and delivered according to your desired specifications and effects.