Vintage water slide decal adhesive
November 9, 2008 4:48 PM   Subscribe

What is the adhesive that backs water slide decals made of?

I've been collecting vintage water slide decals for a while now, and some work beautifully.

Some very old ones crumble and flake apart when they go into the water, and then there's this third problem: decals that seem to just not adhere. They stiffen as they dry, and don't just fall immediately off the surface I stick them to, but they also don't lay flat enough that the clear part stays clear. It definitely lifts a little bit, not even in bubbles, just in a crackly-looking air matrix. I think the problem is the adhesive, because I successfully took them off with hot water and then repositioned them, paying more attention to smoothing them out, thinking that leaving too much moisture beneath them caused he crackling. No luck, they still dried "up" a little.

Maybe these particular ones never had adhesive. Wikipedia informs me that it is optional. I think the way they are, they would do alright on a matte wall, but I'm putting them on a metallic purple bottle, but I'm applying them to a metallic surface, a lot like I did here, this time to a Sigg bottle, so the littlest bit of opacity throws off the look altogether.

Can I try a little adhesive? What kind do these use originally? What would be water soluble, super thin, and perfectly clear?

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Or, I guess I'd also like to know how to try to make the dextrose corn sugar adhesive Wikipedia mentions. Maybe that would work.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:51 PM on November 9, 2008

I don't know for certain, but there's a patent about removing decals which says it was tested on something called Drymark manufactured by Meyercord. I don't know if Drymark was the name of the adhesive they used, or if it was a type of decal.
posted by WCityMike at 5:31 PM on November 9, 2008

My guess is that it's hide glue, aka gelatin. After all, there's always room for Jell-O...
posted by fracas at 5:31 PM on November 9, 2008

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