Thursday, August 25, 2011

Decal Storage

Almost daily I answer questions about decals.  Questions about application, firing, sealing, availability, etc.  Sometimes I would have to research for answers, other times my 25+ years in the industry and prior experience provided the answers.

Over the next couple of months I'm going to attempt to organize the questions and answers by posting, in depth, one topic at a time.  Today's topic is Decal Storage.

Tried and True Design
Country Goose
 Decals can last indefinitely if stored correctly.  Decals have 3 enemies...Temperature, Moisture and Pressure.

Have you ever put a decal in water and the whole thing fell apart?  Bet you thought it was because it was an old decal.  Nope.

The cover coat more than likely was damaged due to the decal enduring too many temperature to cold, cold to hot.  If decals are kept too warm the cover coat and wax paper separator can soften, thereby causing the decals to stick together or for the wax paper to stick to the decal.  Store decals at room temperature (68° F to 74° F).   Extreme temperatures should also be avoided . .. . below freezing or above 90° F.

Horses...always popular
Another Tried and True Design
Humidity should be between 50 and 65% to preserve your decals.  Never get your decals wet unless you are ready to use them.  Even a splash of water on a decal that is then allowed to dry will make the decal stick to the paper forever in the once wet spot, making the decal unusable.

Decals should not be stored in piles as the pressure can force the decals to stick together and may become damaged no matter how carefully you attempt to pull them apart.  The wax paper that usually separates the decals can 'stick' to the decal.  If this happens be sure to peel the wax paper off before soaking the decal in warm water.  You may have to gently scratch some of the wax paper off with your fingernail or dip your finger in a bit of water and gently rub it off.

Photo Box Storage
I store my decals in several places, depending on the size.  Most of the decals I purchase arrive in large sheets that I cut down and resale in small sets.  I store decals that measure 1/2" to 6" in photo boxes.  I fold a piece of paper almost in half, leaving the back of the paper 1/2" taller than the front; this is where I write something about the decal that will help me locate it in a hurry (the name of the decal, the listing number, the design number).  On the front 'flap' of the paper I write any other information that might be useful to me when I need to reorder the decal (distributor, catalog#, size, cost, etc.).  If the sheet had the manufacture or artists name, I'll make a note of that too.  I reinforce the photo boxes by going around them once with clear packing tape and by taping the lid to the bottom of the boxes.  This way the boxes become drawers...I simply pull out a drawer to find what the decals I need.

On slumped wine bottle?
Vibrant Colors
For larger decals, I store them in manila file folders and then put them in a hanging filing system.  For border decals that are extremely long, I've created clear plastic sleeves that fit the decals, then taped the sleeves onto the sides of filing cabinets, shelves, whatever I have available.  If it is not a decal I plan to stock all the time, instead of taping the sleeve onto something, I'll use strong magnets instead of tape to hold them on the metal cabinets.


Metal Filing Cabinet from Joann's
Celtic Knot Fused Glass Card

The last place that I store decals is in metal filing cabinets that I purchased from a Joann's Fabric and Craft Store that was closing (because a Super Store was opening).
When I was owner/operator of American Heritage Ceramics oh so many years ago, I packaged the decals in clear poly bags and organized them on a pegboard system and in themed 3-ring binders in clear sleeves so that not only was it easy viewing for my customers, but the decals were well protected. 

I have customers that store their decals in recipe boxes, photo albums, shoe boxes, old metal lunch boxes, etc. 

The main thing to remember even when storing decals 'on edge' is not to pack them too tightly; otherwise, you will get the same results as you would from storing them in piles...decals that are stuck together!

Come back in a couple of days to read more about decals.  I've got lots of decal info stored in my head and hope that maybe a bit of it might be useful to you.

If you have specific questions or have a decal topic you would like more information about, please post!

Until next time, Happy Crafting!
   Captive Illusions            Captive Embroidery
            &                                &
    Captive Decals                    Crafty Family


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