Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dragon-ing Up a Singer 99 and DIY gold decals

You read that right, fellow VSM addicts, DIY gold decals!  A breakthrough!  Read on down for the whole story....)

You can never have too many Singer 99s or its identical cousin, the Singer 192, aka Spartan.  The smaller size means that they make ideal hand crank machines for children.  And all children NEED a hand crank sewing machine.  Obviously.

My last two machine refurbs were hand cranks for my young friends Nellie and Clinton, who are twins.  You have already seen the princessy pink machine for Nellie in earlier posts.  But it is so adorable I cannot resist showing it to you again.

Clinton opted for a black machine, which was nice for me.  I couldn't just leave it alone however, I wanted to bling it up in a more boy-appropriate way.

While I was pondering ways and means of adding new gold decorations to the bed of this machine I spied some temporary jewelry decals at Walmart.  Amazon has even more, LOTS more.  Figured they were worth a try.  They were cheap ($1/package) and I bought multiples of each of the sets they had.  One of the sets had a dragon.

To apply the jewelry decals to either your skin or the bed of a sewing machine, you cut the motif out then peel the backing off of the adhesive side.  Stick this down.  Then you wet the paper on top, wait for it to soften, and then peel that layer off, leaving the decal revealed on your skin or machine.

As usual when trying something new, it made me nervous and therefore I neglected to take pictures of this part of the process.

The dragon looked fantastic and I clear coated over it.

By the next day the gold was "silvering".  The chemicals of the clear coat were destroying the gold.

Whoops.  By this time I also figured out that I had applied the dragon upside down (standing on its head, so to speak).

no longer totally gold!

Good thing I had bought multiples of each decal set.  I scraped the silvered dragon off of the sewing machine, cleaned up the bed, then applied a new one.

are we having fun yet?

This time I masked off the dragon (simply by cutting a dragon size hole in a piece of scrap paper) and spraying fixatif over the dragon on the sewing machine.

This worked and the dragon stayed a bright shiny gold.

 I also added some other decorative decals to Clinton's machine.

the lightning flash is gold instead of the red it appears here.

When I started this I thought I was very clever and the FIRST person to think of adding temporary jewelry decals to a sewing machine.  Silly me.  Eleanor in Australia casually mentioned this technique in a message to me.  As if everybody already knew this.  Everybody but me that is.

Looks great, no?


A while back there was chat on the boards about gold decals.  It is not possible to print gold on your home printer.  Extensive investigation (ahem, 15 minutes of googling) led me to discover that there was once such a printer but it is no longer available, if you can still find a used one it will cost around $500, and good luck with getting it serviced when it breaks down.  I have a hate-hate relationship with home printers so I was not tempted to look into this any further.

But my mind kept mulling it over.  And mulling.  And even some stewing.  And here today folks, is a Dragon Poodle EXCLUSIVE:  How to create gold decals for a black sewing machine.  That's right, I solved the problem.  You can send donations through PayPal to my email account in gratitude and respect.  Or not, because I am going to tell you anyhow.

I am really, really pleased, happy, ecstatic and absolutely full of myself over this.  I'll try not to go on and on about it. Really, I will try.

The technique is really, really simple.  The catch:  so far I have only tried it on a black machine.  And I have only tried it with text.

I used a word processing program to create the text for a label for the back pillar of Clinton's machine.  I use Open Office, which is much like Microsoft Office but it's free.

I created a text box.  I used the color white for the text and black for the background of the text box.

The first label in the photo above was printed in "draft" mode, which saves a lot of ink.  When I was happy with it (size, etc) I printed out three in "text" mode on inkjet waterslide decal paper.  Three because three went all the way across the page.   I could cut them off and save the rest of that page to print something else on later on.  Printing just one would have used up the same amount of the (not cheap) waterslide decal paper.

As with all inkjet printed waterslide decals, I then had to spray clear coat over it and let that dry.  I did that three times.  Without the clear coat the ink would melt right off of the decal.

(I have written about waterslide decals before.)

I taped around the paper draft of the decal on the back of the pillar.

Creating a space where the final decal would go.

Then I filled in that gap with gold paint.  See where we are going here? Are you getting excited about this yet?  Well, you should be.  It's absolutely brilliant if I do say so myself.  And I do say so.

After the gold paint was thoroughly dry (the next day) I applied the waterslide decal over the gold.
Remember that the text was in white?  Well, your printer does not spray white ink.  Paper is white, so white is just vacant in an image.  Hence, the gold shows through.  And we have a gold decal on a black machine, all done on a home inkjet printer!

You can see a few lines around the edge where some gold is showing.  I should have masked off a bit more before applying the gold paint.  But my trusty black Sharpie paint pen (not a regular Sharpie) solved that problem nicely.

More clear coat over the whole machine (including the temporary tattoo decals) and it was done.

With a bit of photoshopping you could take any black image and reverse the colors from black on white to white on black and do the same thing.  A line of decorative filigree, for example, or even an image of a dragon.  I plan to try this in the future.

(I use Photoscape, much like the light version of Adobe Photoshop, but free).

You could also experiment with color.  I think it would be hard to get an exact color match, but you could use a coordinating color and have white on teal on a pink machine, for example, which would give you a pink machine with gold designs bordered by teal.  This would not be too hard with a linear design or a label.

Lots of possibilities!  So who wants to experiment, photograph the results, and be the next honored DragonPoodle guest blogger?


  1. Hey, I don't even know what jewelry decals are or how they are used. These machines look great! I love the old machines and the decals make them even more attractive!

  2. All tho I will probably never do this it was a very interesting read. I also like their names that are on the cases. GOOD JOB!

  3. Let's try it on that White I rescued from my neighbor- the one that was in the house that burned down and then went through Hurricane Matthew?

  4. That's cool! Both machines turned out great!

  5. High fives all around! That is so dang cool. I don't know what I'm doing with this information, but I know it's going to come in handy.

  6. Wow! Very cool! I'm always impressed with your creativity and fearlessness!

  7. Fabulous, and that decal hack is now the ninth wonder of the world! I will look for waterslide decal paper, did not know that was available at retail. This would work with an oval or round decal too.


Say hello or leave a comment here. I would love to hear from you! If your own settings are set to receive a comment back, I will write to you. If you don't hear back from me, you will know that your own settings are set to "no reply".

I have to block anonymous posts to prevent spam. I am really sorry if this excludes you.