Decal Reproduction Assistance Needed

Do we have a method and equipment to scan a vintage decal (on glass) for reproduction as part of a restoration project? If so, then I will either need to print a new decal or a mask to be used to etch the new glass. This is a flat piece. Assistance will be welcome once DMS re-opens.


@Team_Vector Probably best people for an answer.

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I would guess you are most likely going to need to scan or photograph the old decal at a high resolution, digitally edit it to correct any errors or damage, and then print out the decal. If so, this seems to be more of a Creative Arts/Digital Media related question. Printmaking at DMS is more focused on screenprinting, etching/intaglio processes, block printing, letterpress, etc.


There are very good detailed threads on the garage journal on reproducing decals and labels for repaired or restored machinery and tools.
There are also threads on making or reproducing metal or brass manufacturer’'s data plates and much more.

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Will I hope you post your glass decal once you get it done - - or a before/after, because it sounds interesting.

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Decal reproduction thread from the Garage Journal (lengthy)

This may help others at the DMS looking for new decals for their new or restored items.


My apologies for my delayed response!

The attached photos are of an original and my reproduction door glass for my RCA Photophone 1040 35mm cinema sound reproducer, circa 1936.

I do believe that this project and a few others pre-dated my DMS membership.

I visited several graphic/sign shops in Fort Worth for assistance with this project and a few others. Considering available technology, I was shocked about their general complete lack of ability!

Someone told me about a specific manager at a specific Fast Signs location. This individual was dedicated to customer service and a stickler for quality…a top-notch person who is no longer there. We reproduced the art and plotted masking frisks at a VERY reasonable and affordable cost. These were then handed off to AJAX Glass in Fort Worth who sand-blast/etched the reproduction (the original being a decal). It took a few attempts with minor artwork adjustment to finally get it right.

I have not followed up with any further projects at Fast Signs. My top-notch manager was no longer there and had been replaced by another with less-than-quality standards. This became apparent as I started to work with them on another reproduction. Their submitted art work art-work was completely unacceptable. The new manager attempted to justify this bad craftsmanship and wished to charge me a GREATLY inflated price! They were unable/unwilling to provide a quality product, so we parted ways. I still need to complete this project.

Regarding metal identification plate reproduction, please post the thread-link. Many of these plates (early 1900’s) were photoetched and serial numbers were hand-stamped. There are several companies that produce these tags, but they are dedicated to high-volume production. Be prepared to mortgage your home for their price of a small one-off reproduction.

On vintage radio and electronics, much of the dial-glass art was multi-layered/multi colored silk-screening…another difficult item to have done!


Nice work!

Etching like that can be done at the space with the vinyl cutter and a chemical etch.

You just cut the lettering and then weed the letters instead of the rest of the vinyl.

The best thing to do is go to daiso and pick up a bunch of $1 glassware to practice on, once you get it where you like it then you can go to town on the good glass.

This is the stuff I use:

In just a few minutes you get an etch like this:

The only thing I would caution with this kind of etching is that it doesn’t do big areas evenly. So it’s great for letting and stuff but if you had a large area you wanted to etch it will likely come out splotchy.


Thanks for sharing the “before and after” ! It looks great!