White glue restores old decals

August 31, 2019 · in How-to · · 7 · 2.4K

I purchased a 20 year old Hasegawa P-51 kit at a hobby show and discovered the had been probably stored in a humid environment. The decals were firmly affixed to the backing paper. Needing to use at least a few of the decals, and with nothing to lose in an experiment, I experimented with a decoupage technique. I simply painted 3-4 thin coats of thinned Elmer's glue over the decals. The glue was randomly thinned from 10-25%. While it helps to trim closely to reduce the excess dried glue film, any excess glue is easily brushed away with a wide bristle brush upon application. Simply cut out the decal and soak as usual. At 30 seconds soaking the white glue turns cloudy. At 60 seconds the decal is ready to slide from the backing. My times are likely excessive, less time will work. Apply the decal to the kit and smooth with a wide flat brush. The excess white glue is brushed away. Clean the brush with water and smooth again to remove any additional excess. When the decal is dry, cover with a sealant such as Future. I did not notice any discoloration or fogging or excessive thickness due to the white glue. Sometimes we think a solution has to be complicated or exotic to work properly. Or perhaps it is something simple and basic.

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7 responses

  1. Very interesting White glue chemistry rocks . I will Try this as well.
    Thank you.

  2. Very interesting method, thank you very much for bringing it here

  3. Thank you for the tip!

  4. Sounds a bit like when you want to strip layers of wallpaper before putting up new one. Brush glue, apply Glad wrap over, let it be for a while, strip.

  5. Great info, thanks a lot!

  6. Charles, I have done something similar using white glue on decals where the decal has came loose after drying on the model. I simply dilute a few drops of white glue in water then use a paint brush to apply the solution on the back of the decal. Re-attach it to the model, wipe off the excess and let it dry. Works every time.
    Thanks for the tip. I add that to my list !

  7. Hmm, very interesting. Nice tip.

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