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A lot of people ask me if my symbols are hand-painted or if they're decals.  So far, I've only made ONE custom with decals - Princess Ladybug - an experimental pony.  And she turned out lovely!  

This new technique is a great way for non-artistic folk to make customs with intricate symbols.  I realize that not everyone can paint. ^_^  It's also very fast...great for personalized gifts & such!

Update: The test bait pony I made had a problem with her decals.  They are sticky and peeling.  I think this is a reaction between the G3 plastic and the decal.  I am now testing a different strategy.  I placed a few layers of clear coat on the pony, then the decal, and coated it with another clear coat.  Hopefully, this will turn out better.  If you have any experience with sticky decals (perhaps it's the brand of the decals?), please drop me an e-mail.

Supplies needed:
3rd generation pony - any G3 Pony will do.

Water slide decals  - any pre-made designs with small parts would work.  They are available at Wal*Mart's craft department or any other craft store such as Michael's or Joann's.

Sponge - for wetting the paper on the decal

Scissors - to cut out your decal

1. Remove decals from package
Okay, I put this step here so I can show you the picture of the decals I used.  They were made by a company called Folk Art.  The artist who created these is named "Donna".  Make sure the decals are "water slide" and NOT rub-ons.

click photo above for a larger view
(warning: huge file size!)
2. Cutting the decals
Use your scissors to cut around one decal.  They are easier to handle if you leave a little border.


REMEMBER: always cut or pry AWAY from your fingers.
Kids - ask your parents to help you with this step.

3. The decal cut from the sheet
Here is the backside of the decal.  It's an outline of the actual design.
4. Peeling off the protective coating
Carefully peel off the clear plastic protective backing.  Try not to touch the actual decal, since it is sticky.
5. Stick the decal on the pony
Place the sticky portion on your pony.  Be sure to position it carefully before sticking it on - you can't move it around after this step!
6. Wet the paper backing
Get the sponge slightly damp & place it over the decal.  Your sponge doesn't need to have an abrasive pad, like this one. It just needs to hold a little water!

Hold the sponge over the decal for about a minute.  The paper should be completely soaked through.  DO NOT slide the sponge around, otherwise your decal may be wrinkled.  Patience!  ^_~

7. "Slide" the paper backing off
Gentle here!  If you aren't careful, you might end up wrinkling or ripping your decal.  These decals have a very small clear border around them, but they are not too noticeable.  Leave them to dry completely (about 24 hours in standard conditions).
8. Apply clear coat
After the decal is completely dry, apply a light clear coat sealer of your choice.  I experimented on a few G3 ponies, and the decals became sticky after a few days, if they were not clear coated.  It might be a reaction with the pony's plastic.  It doesn't matter if the surface was prepped without or with acetone (during the removal of the original symbol).
If you don't like the way a symbol looks, it can be removed BEFORE clear coating with a cotton ball dipped in acetone.
A Link?:

If you used this tutorial, I'd appreciate a link back to this page.
Who knows, you might inspire me to write another tutorial =)

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