I had my first go at making printed transfers yesterday.
The paper I selected was the clear laser paper from http://www.craftycomputerpaper.co.uk/
I bought a pack of 12 sheets because I thought I would need to practice to get used to the technique.
For my first try I just made some registration plates and divisional markings for a vehicle kit which came without any transfers.
Having done a test print on normal paper I printed one sheet on the transfer paper.
I found the transfers worked very well. I cut the paper with a craft knife and steel ruler, put in water, etc as instructed.
I used Humbrol Decalfix to prepare the model surface and fix down the transfer after application.
I noticed two main differences between the self-print method and traditional decals.
1. The transfer layer is continuous over the whole backing sheet so you can't use the technique of cutting round the design to get some bare paper to grip on with fingernails or tweezers when lifting and manipulating transfer.
2. The clear transfer layer is thinner than the type you used to get in Airfix kits. On the one hand this makes it more liable to tearing, but if you are careful, it will have a lower profile and look more realistic when dried down on the model.
I advise people to make a spare set of markings for each vehicle, in other words if your vehicle will have two registration numbers, print off three, in case one of them goes wrong when using it. It is also a good idea to make a test print on normal paper before you use the special paper.
The other thing I realised about making my own markings is that I needed to create a scheme of what markings are required, choose fonts and colours and do a lot of work on designs for tactical markings.
I worked out I wanted four types of markings.
A. A vehicle registration number (like a licence plate.)
B. A unit ID
number consisting of Division-Battalion-Company (The company is a letter.)
C. Optional regimental markings which I haven't designed yet. They will be fairly colourful.
D. Tactical markings to identify vehicles within a platoon. These will be dull colours as they remain on the vehicle in combat.
I also had to decide the fonts to use, the size (12 point works well) and colours (black for light paint background.)
Finally I measured my tank turret and decided a tactical marking needed to fit a 10mm square.
You need to work out all this in advance because once you start to print and cut your sheet of transfer paper, it quickly becomes impossible to run it through the printer.
To economise on the use of paper, you should fit on as many symbols as possible and print the sheet in one pass.