Making stickers and decals

Comments: 11 Comments

This page has hierarchy - Child pages: How to do white backed decals

One of the things that make many models stand out is the decals or stickers that are applied, with diecast there are three main types.

Waterslide decals; these are usually done on special decal paper, either clear or white, if you have ever made an Airfix kit you will be familiar with waterslide decals, these are floated in lukewarm water to release the backing and the decal is carefully applied to the model.

With an ordinary inkjet printer the ink has the be fixed with a spray lacquer or the ink will just lift off when emersed into the water.

Sticky back decals; These are more common on later Matchbox Superfast and whizzwheels models along with a large portion of other toys and diecast models.

Anyone with a good inkjet printer can do these, the ink dries quickly and the sticker paper is cheap, I use shiny white gloss sticker paper and costs about £4.00 for 20 A4 sheets, I also use clear gloss sticker paper but works out about double the cost.

Tampo; you may or may not of heard of tampo, this is in fact printed directly onto the model, more common on current Matchbox and Hotwheels, in fact Matchbox used this process to print the chrome centres on the Superfast wheels but has been used now for some years by all the diecast makers, and requires specialist equipment.

Creating the finishing touches is a great way of customising your model for little cost and although waterslide decals are probably the best for detail and the realistic approach stickers  work well too.

The Corgi Commer below has custom made stickers made from Goodyear logo’s found on Google and scaled down to fit, better than a plain truck, you can’t print white with a normal printer so white backing paper is what is required here.

To see the restoration of this Commer Click Here

If you don’t need white, a clear sticker paper is available too, although more expensive, the Texaco tanker truck below had stickers or decals but had long since lost most of them.

After a clean up and using clear sticker paper this new decal looks fantastic.

The Matchbox Audi below has waterslide decals, these have a clear backing so ideal if you want detailed logo’s where the body colour shows through, also the backing of waterslide is barely noticable once applied and saved cutting out awkward shapes.

Some weeks ago I aquired the Corgi Rockets superstox cars and although in good condition was missing their main stickers, the numbers on the roof boards, so rather than getting involved in making waterslide decals I opted for the original type applied to these cars, using white gloss sticker paper designed for use in inkjet printers.

The numbers were easy, just find a suitable font and scale to size, the bonnet sticker for the Derek Fiske car was also missing and after searching for a suitable replacement I printed it along with a few others (see top row with the numbers)

The stickers for the numbers were cut out carefully with a scalpel and applied, the grill was shaped so this I applied direct to the car front.

I rubbed it down especially around the edges with a blunt stick then cut carefully with a scalpel this gave a similar effect to the original as applied by Corgi.

Now with all their numbers and the grill sticker I can proudly display them.

To see the article on these superstox cars Click Here

The type of sticker you can make is limited only by your imagination and also suits well for dioramas, slot car and railway signs along with replacement stickers for diecast cars and trucks that have long since lost or worn theirs out.

Making one of specials is easy with software like Paintshop Pro, even odd shaped areas can be covered.

This one is done on white sticker paper so the yellow text shows up, these do need careful cutting though

The result on this custom generator truck

I do make many decals sets and have been asked a few times now if i would sell them so have started to release a few sets, the next part of this article is our first set of decal stickers in use.

Printing white gold and silver

Most people don’t have a printer that can print white or gold and silver, (myself included) but it can be done effectively by using a backing decal, to see how Click Here

These two Matchbox Daimler Fleetline buses featured a while ago in one of my posts and are due for restoration, the decals on the cream one are best part complete so will stay as it is for now but the red one has lost it’s decal stickers before I owned it.

For the purpose of this article we are not restoring the bus just yet but replacing the decal set on the red one.

I have bought decals before but the quailty of some of them leave a lot to be desired so I have scanned originals and spent hours cleaning up the images to create a full set of Daimler Fleetline decals.

These are printed to a high quality on white glossy sticker paper but they do need cutting out with a very sharp knife.

With the decals cut the application is easy, just peel off the backing and apply.

Below is a full set (well almost, first batch had a printing error) for the Fleetline and are the same size as the original of 70mm x 7mm making them also suitable for the later Matchbox Londoner buses too.

Fixing white backed decals

If you want some of these you can contact me and can buy either the full set or just one pair.

For more details on these or other decals we are doing Click Here

Matchbox airport coach decals are now available.

Corgi tanker decal sets now available, for either Guinness, Esso or Gulf, Clickhere







We can of course make Sticker type decals for you to almost any design, we can also now supply  waterslide and alps printed decals including white and cream to any design and scale, the picture below is of a three and a half  inch gauge locomotive tender, the letters are 18mm high so a big decal, the decals were especially designed and printed as waterslide decals using white and yellow inks to create the cream colour, for more information or to tell us your requirements please use the contact page.



  1. Martin says:

    Interesting but there is a huge gap in the UK market for exact reproduction decals for the matchbox Speedkings and Superfast. Maybe because there is little profit in it?
    Some cars I buy boxed mint but others I would like to restore. I have been looking at shaving the stickers off playworn examples scanning them and using photoshop if that can restore the image.
    Just getting the equipment and software together is pricey so for the few cars I want to do its not really cost effective.
    Some people only seem to have the older regular wheels stickers and transfers and thats mainly USA sellers.
    Anyway just my thoughts as I look into this.
    All the best
    My regards to you

    • Peter says:

      I agree Martin, and as a Matchbox specialist, I am looking into what I can reproduce myself.
      As you say Superfast and Speed kings stickers are not made else where, but that could all change as I am looking at doing them for myself and others.

      Sent me a list of the most important one’s you are looking for and I will see if I can do them

  2. Martin Read says:

    Sorry Peter I went away without following this up.

    In the Speedkings I would like to see The Cambuster Bazooka K43/44 Mustang Gulper K38, Caper Cart, Milligans Mill. Javelin K54, Cougar K21 Dodge K22.

    With the superfast it would be nice to see the Mustang Widcat sticker, Racing Mini, The flower on the Baja buggy and Whoosh n push. Maserati Bora, Monterverdi hai. Lotus seven.
    The wildcat and Leopard on the Mod Rod and the scorpion stickers they started putting on a few models. Thats just some examples.
    Basically all the stickers on the most popular 1971 to 1976 superfast models.

    Often the paintwork will be fine but the stickers have oxidised and deteriorated. It would be nice to restore certain models.

    I dont expect people to make them just for me which would be expensive. I was hoping there would be a general interest in producing and selling them.
    I have seem some made by US dealers but none which really interest me.
    I just thought I would throw it out there and maybe there just arent enough buyers for them.

    All the best

    • Peter says:

      That’s fine, good to see a list though, if I can get the artwork I will have a look at the possibilty of doing a sheet for KingSize and one for standard Matchbox Superfast stickers, you may have to cut them out but the images will be correct.

      May take a while as I have many other projects to do first.

  3. Peter says:

    Can Paul, who inquired about Matchbox Race & Chase Reproduction Stickers please send correct email address, the one you sent comes up as not available on reply.

  4. Alan Greenwood says:

    Hi im after some decal for a truck im making its 1:50 I want decals for the front and two sides of the unit and front and back of the tanker not the side its plain could you tell me if you do that and if so roughly how much you charge? thank

  5. Tony Tran says:


    Your topic is very helpful. Could you please explain more on how to measure the decal that fit to diecast after printing. Just like the above example essex fairgrounds. Thanks you so much and looking forward to your reply. Hihi

    • Peter says:

      The decals are designed in a programme called Paintshop Pro, rather than re-size them in pixels you get the option of resizing in millimetres, with acturate measuring of the model the decal can be sized to suit any scale, the shape of the one on the Essex fairground truck was trail and error and in the end I scanned the side of the body and overlaid the scan with the decal giving me the shape I required

  6. Jeremy says:

    Very informative article, thank you. Did you get round to restoring your two Daimler Fleetlines (Matchbox 74)? If you have, can I ask how you managed to take them apart? The awkwardly placed rivet above the rear engine cowl has me wondering how to go about removing it on my Daimler bus. Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

    • Peter says:

      Hi Jeremy, no I haven’t done them as yet but have noticed the odd placed rivet, the only way I could see of removing it is with a shaped Dremel burr so you could grind away at an angle

Leave a Reply