SPECIAL SECTION/DECORATING: A Low-Temp Decal Alternative

April 1, 2007
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Low-temperature open stock decals provide a cost-saving and convenient alternative for decorators of ceramic and glass.

Low-temperature open stock decals are an environmentally sound alternative for decorating glass, ceramics and other materials.


The decals can be used to print colors like bright purples and pinks.

Open stock decals have been available for many years and are unique and valuable resources that can help ceramic and glass decorators expand, experiment and reach for new possibilities. Most importantly, they can add to the bottom line and give businesses a competitive edge in providing the services and products their clients demand. With open stock decals, there are no artwork or development costs, and no excess inventory. Companies simply order what they need when they need it-and minimum orders are typically not required.

In the past, however, open stock decals have been limited to use on either glass or ceramic. Each type had a different color palette and, thus, a different firing temperature. Now there is a new option-low-temperature open stock decals. The new low-temperature application process opens up new avenues of creativity for decorators while helping businesses meet the challenges of competing in today's often difficult marketplace.

Applications

Low-temperature decals are available in a wide variety of intricate designs, and can help businesses cut costs while providing high-quality, design-driven products that satisfy all the requirements of their demanding clientele. Just as with glass and ceramic decals, low-temperature decals can be used on glass lampshades, ceramic and glass lamp bases, giftware, jewelry, ceramic tile, kitchen utility ware, ceramic mugs, and other collectibles.

A low-temperature decal is applied the same way as other water-slide decals. However, the decal's cover coat is literally peeled off after drying. As an option, the decorated object can then be heat-cured at 300-320°F. The heat curing adds integrity to the design adherence and helps provide dishwasher resistance (though low-temperature decals are not intended for repeated dishwasher exposure).

Benefits

Low-temperature decals are totally lead-free, eliminating U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Proposition 65 concerns, and making them an environmentally sound decorating alternative. Another benefit of low-temperature decals is the wide range of colors available. The process can be used to print colors like bright purples and pinks, which are very difficult-and in some cases impossible-to reproduce using conventional glass and ceramic color processes.

Other benefits include lower energy bills, since a kiln isn't required to decorate the product; the ability to use one type of decal on a variety of products and surfaces; and the option of printing a combination of many designs on the same sheet, which helps control inventory.

For more information about low-temperature open stock decals, contact Instar Enterprises International Inc., 35 Cotters Lane, P.O. Box 6609, East Brunswick, NJ 08816; (732) 238-4100; fax (732) 238-4102; e-mail instar@instardecals.com; or visit www.instardecals.com.

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