March 13, 2011

Using Water Slide Decals

Finding blank water slide decal sheets and printing my own decals has opened up a whole new world of crafting for me!

You can use water slide decals on wood, soap, paper, glass, and candles.

I have been using vintage decals I found at an antique store years ago and have been unable to find any since.

I started Goggling around and found blank decal paper, Eureka!  Available for ink jet or laser printers. 

I am probably the last crafter out there who did not know about this!

I put together a page of graphics from the Graphics Fairy.  I have a Mac computer that has a wonderful program allowing me to resize and merge images.  If you don't have this ability, Graphic Fairies has many collage sheets available

I first printed a plain sheet of paper and made sure I had everything sized right for my projects.

Then I printed on the decal paper, let it dry at least 30 minutes

After it has dried spray the paper with 2-3 coats of Krylon acrylic clear coat spray (Available at Michaels here in Orlando, but check the Krylon website for locations in your area ), letting it dry between coats

I have just recently used
Krylon crystal clear/clear gloss- This is less expensive and easier to find -Spray 2-3 coats, drying between coats

I was also thrilled to find Krylon triple thick crystal clear glaze requiring only 1 coat

Cut out your picture close to the edge and put it in luke warm water for about 15-30 seconds until the decal slides off the paper

 The decal will slide right off.

Lay your picture on your project surface and then slide the backing paper out.

You could print photo's and personalize anything.

I have all sorts of ideas for holidays

Instead of "buttons" you could put a name or photo.

What fun for party and shower favors.

I wrapped 2 of the soaps in clear paper that shrinks with heat and added some pearls

I recommend you order the water slide decals from

I have tried many different brands of decal paper, but have found that they are not all the same or good quality which is why I recommend Robins Eggcetera

A few tips to save you from my mistakes!

I found 2-3 coats of acrylic spray worked the best, it made the decals stiffer and less likely to crinkle or curl. Apply a real "wet" coat not just a light "dry" coat, if you do not apply a wet coat it will not seal your ink and when you get it wet the ink will come off

Since the decals are somewhat transparent they only worked well on white, clear, or light objects, the graphics disappeared on dark objects.

I can see your creative minds whirling, just think of the possibilities!  

Here is some projects using the decals
Step stools
Telephone table
Wedding hangers
Curio cabinet

Happy Creating!

Wassup Wednesday@Elements Interiors
Wow us Wednesday@Savvy Southern Style
Brag Monday@Graphic Fairy


Ruffles n Raspberries said...

Those candles are SO cute! Great idea, thanks for sharing the how to as well!

Sue@Uniquely Chic said...

You sure have been busy w/ those decals. I love the candles and soap...the possibilities are endless. I used to buy them preprinted w/ roses and use them on small items I would sell on Ebay. They are awesome! Then, like you, I googled, and came up w/ blank ones. Was so psyced, bought them and printed but I must have bought the wrong type because the ink just beaded up on mine. I was so disappointed. Didn't know they may different types depending on printer. Obviously I bought the wrong one. Thanks, Carol, I think I'm going to give this a try again.

Debbiedoos said...

Those are really nice gifts...I love the candle sticks!

Debbi said...

Carol, you never cease to amaze me with the ideas you come up with! I have always bought the premade sheets of waterslide decals and they are not cheap! (and always too many of the same design) I wondered what the finishing step was and now I know it is the Krylon spray!
thanks for sharing! And I love button jar idea...might have to do that for a my jars of buttons too:)

Marsha @ Tattered Chick said...

I've been using water decals for years :) You can find them also in abundance on eBay and Micro Mark.


Pam@OurAdventuresInHomeImprovement said...

I love this idea! I am definitely going to try it. Thanks so much for the tutorial.

Have a great day.

Ricki Treleaven said...

Wow. You have opened-up a world of possibilities for me!

Laurie Brown said...

Ah-hah! I'd been wondering how one made a decal with an ink-jet printer, since the ink is almost always water soluble. Now I know! Thank you for the Krylon hint.

Mari said...



Gina said...

That's amazing! Everything looks so wonderful. I had no idea this could be done.
Thanks for sharing it, I may have to give it a try.

Unknown said...

I LOVE all the pretties you have come up with! Always an inspiration, Carol!
BTW, I am down 9 and I found a meeting I like so it's all good!

E said...

Nope you're not the last I think I might be :) Love love it!! Thanks so much for sharing (credit card in hand) E in TN


You just don't stop with all these great ideas! We should have had some time to "create"...Thanks for sharing another AWESOME idea...I'll add it to my LIST!
Hope you had a nice weekend! Thanks for praying for my friend :)

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Carol, you are killing me with all your wonderful ideas!!! Stop it!!! LOL.
Now, I am going to order some of these and start decaling everything. My kitties better look out too.
Love everything that you've embellished.


~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I've had your blog open to remember to try to make the you've got another great idea! I'm going to put your blog in my blog favs to keep up with you! You are SO talented! ♥♥♥

Debbie said...

Carol, of all your wonderful ideas and beautiful creations, this is absolutely MY FAVORITE. I love every single application of this, especially those candles. Just LOVE it.

I'm certain that I could do this, too. I'm so glad that I found my sleeping "spring forward" eyeballs and made a trip to blogland tonight.

Dawn said...

Carol, thank you for following my blog and inviting me over to your place. Darling blog you have. I was reading the post on your ruffle foot for the sewing machine. I will have to get me one of those. Makes it look much easier to get a nice uniform ruffle. Thanks and Have a Great Night :)

Ginger said...

Carol you are such an inspiration and so sweet to share all your crafting ideas with us. Wish I lived close to you so we could craft together!! Love the button jar.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Hi Carol, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and becoming a follower!! I just love what you did with those decals. I can't even chose a favorite I love them all. Following you back, Martina

laxsupermom said...

That's so neat! You're definitely not the last crafter to have heard of them, because I've never heard of them either. I'm going to have to look for some now. Thanks for sharing.

Diane said...

These are all so beautiful! Who knew?

I admire people who can do such beautiful, creative projects. Me? I'm all thumbs!

Thanks for visiting me tonight. I'm happy to follow you, too!

Bevelry said...

Carol, thank you soooo much for so much for stopping by so that I was able to find your wonderful blog! I LOVE this and will be ordering my decal paper soon. I adore vintage papers and never know what to do with them.. now I do. I am a follower and look forward to looking at all your blogs.

Unknown said...

Love everything that you did! Thanks so much for the link.

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

For the record you are NOT the last person to know of this. But, because you didn't let the secret die with you (well, you didn't die) but shared this great information... I'm thinking of using it too!

I'll have to give this a try!

Decal SaVvy NOW!

Createology said...

Such a fabulous find...these decal sheets. You have made some beautiful decals with your prints. Love what you have embellished.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Carol, I love the look of the decals and my mind is racing with projects. The bottle is gorgoeus! Thanks for the link.

We had a showing yesterday and agent said they loved our house and we are on the short list. Keep your fingers crossed!

Nancy said...

Oh Carol, this is so exciting!! Thank~you so much for sharing, your projects turned out Beautiful!!

Huggs, Nancy

Shabby Soul said...

I just read EVERY ONE of your posts (and I think I love you). *grin* I just rented a booth last week and wanted a shabby chic booth. I accidentally came upon your booth and am super excited! Thanks for being so giving with your ideas and prices!!! Really...THANKS!

Cindy Cade said...

Hey Carol,
Love your stuff as usual. A popular product for this is called Lazertran. YOu can see it here:
But if you have clear packaging tape on hand simply tape over your printed design or magazine page then scrape with a credit card or similar to get the bubbles out, then soak in water and rub off the back. Instant transfer!

Carrie Garvin said...

LOVE this! What a great find (your blog)!

Unknown said...

That is so cool! Endless possibilities...
I just wanted to thank you for following me. And I'm following you back :O)

Daniella said...

Hi Carol!!
Thanks so much for visiting my blog!! I'm glad you think I will be a very successful Bloger!! WOW! How sweet are you???? I am so happy you are following me now!!
Your projects are out of this world! The ideas go on forever! I will bookmark you, so I can come back and look at your store!!
You are awesome!

Daniella said...

I already left a comment, but if you remember, my computer is having a breakdown!!
Let me know if you didn't get it, I'll write you a new one!!

Unknown said...

Carol, you can add me to the long list of people who really appreciate your posts. I plan on getting a ruffle foot and found where I think I can get one. Also I have been wanting to do this decal thingie and didn't know how. Thanks so much for posting. I already ordered my decals. Thanks again. You sure are a wealth of information and I appreciate your being so generous to share with us.

Calypso In The Country said...

These are so pretty - you are very talented!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a thoughtful comment!

Tatum @ Tatum's Take said...

Hi there!

Wow, you are a decal master! It is amazing how much a simple decal can transform anything!!

Quite inspiring.

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a sweet comment! I am following you back.

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Well I know you will not be surprised to know that I just picked up several packages of vintage decals . .
got some cherubs and butterflies.

Shelly @Crafty Creative Studio said...

What a neat trick! Looks like tons of fun. Another good reason to buy a laser printer. :)

Allison Nicole said...

Thanks for the advice about my kids playroom & the follow! I am following you back!

Grannys Attic said...

OMG I love it! I am bookmarking right now and can not wait to give this a try. Thank you for the sweet comments today! I just became your newest follower. Going back now to check out more of your beautiful blog. Blessings, Vicky

Scarlett said...

Hi, thanks so much for visiting me and following, I am following your fabulous blog too. I love this crafty make with the decals - Ive used the rub decals on glass previously but will have to check out water slide ones :o) I got the cath kidston napkins on ebay. Scarlett x

Audrey Pettit said...

Wow! Wow, wow, wow! And you were not the last blogger to know about these sheets, because I didn't know about them. How fabulous all your goodies look! I absolutely adore all the vintage images you used, and love how everything looks. Totally professional!
Visiting from Graphics Fairy. TFS!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a neat idea! Great job! Thanks for stopping by a visiting my blog, I really appreciate it!


Anonymous said...

What a great idea, I will have to give this a try. Thanks for stopping by and the follow, I'm following back.

Karyn said...

Hi Carol!

I'm so happy to have found your blog! You have such wonderful projects. This one reminded me of when I was little and my Mom and I would decoupage soaps together :) I'm going to try this! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm your newest follower :)


Sheila said...

Love love it all! Thanks so much for sharing!


Ann-Marie ~ Brambly said...

I want to try this out! I adore the soap packaging. Thanks for visiting Brambly and following me. I'm following you for more inspiring ideas. Have a great evening!


Karena said...

Carol these all are so sweet. I love how beautiful you made everything!!

Something luscious for your face..

Come and enter..

Art by Karena

Kathy@ Gone North said...

Wow!! Who Knew?? I sure didn't. Thanks for the tips & how-to. Going to have to try this one myself.
Thanks for stopping by earlier with such sweet comments...
Looking forward to a long & fun, blogging relationship : )

Nancy's Notes said...

Oh my, you are so clever! I'm thrilled that I found my way to your great blog, I'll be back!


Anonymous said...

I bought some decal paper with the idea of putting graphics onto old plates and things but never got around to trying it. You've inspired me to give it a try. (Now where did I put that paper?)

crazy for chocolate said...

you are not the last person to know about this. I am!! lol I love that and am book marking it to get later. AWESOME!

Sherry@Back2Vintage said...

Found you at Kim's this post. I remember the old decals, but you're right, you just can't find them easily. Thanks for sharing the DIY for new decals!!! Following now!

Pam - @diy Design Fanatic said...

Love them!!! They are so pretty!

Bring Pretty Back said...

Carol... I. Have. Never. Heard. Of . This! I LOVE IT!
This looks like so much fun!
Thank you for sharing the tips as well!
Have a pretty day!

LL aka Lisa-Lin said...

HA! No, you are NOT the last person to find out about this...I AM! :) As I've gotten older, my 'inner crafty person' has come out--I try to put those D's I got in junior high art class to rest. :) I realized I enjoyed learning about decoupaging terra cotta pots. I want my own artwork on them. I think I have finally found HOW to do it--that looks clean and crisp. Thank YOU!

Heart Vintage Design said...

Ha ha! I'm the last person to learn about this! Now that I've been schooled, can you write a post about the wrap you used on the soap? Thanks for the inspiration!

Dee ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ said...

Hi Carol,

You always have the greatest ideas! Your so crafty and talented.


RhettDidntGiveADamn said...

This is amazing - I especially love what you did with the candles! Thanks for sharing and I'll let you know when I try this.


(new follower here)

pipigirl said...

wow, absolutely fantastic job. you really transformed that baby.... does mom want it back or what!!!!! and thanks forall the info. yup, the wheels are a turnin.....

the old white house said...

oh my gosh, the possibilities are endless! I can't wait to find the decal paper and give it a try, I have two little tables that would be perfect for this! Thanks so much Carole! t. xoxoox

Epsminis said...

What a great idea and thanks so much for the tips :)

How Sweet It Is-A lifestyle blog said...

This is wonderful.So glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I am now following you :)

Unknown said...


weedmeyer said...

These are so cute. Could you tell me the program you have for your Mac to resize and put a lot of images on one sheet? I waste soooo much paper and transfer sheets because I have to do one at a time!! Thanks.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Weedmeyer, no way to reply to you so I will do it here. I use the "Pages" program in my Mac. It is about $80 good luck!


FraniQ said...

Great project! No,you are not the last to know about these sheets. May I ask if you used the Papilio Decal Mounting Fluid? You didn't mention it do I wasn't sure.TYA

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Emily, there is no way to reply to you, I hope you look back. No, I do not use the mounting fluid, I just ordered the decal paper and use the Krylon clear coat


eleven-o-one said...

I saw you featured on the Graphic Fairy and found my way to this tutorial. I had no idea about water transfer decals. Love, love, love this idea. Can't wait to try it out.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just found your blog and am so excited to do these.
Thanks for sharing
Burlington, MA

Donna said...

I just cannot seem to leave! I have been here for a couple of hours already! Thank you so much for posting so much information.


Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

The FIRST thing I did after reading this post was check to make sure I was following you (I am), then bookmarked it and added it as a Fave--I've been LOOKING for this solution!! I thought I was going to have to buy one of those machines for $$$, so you saved me a lot of money--Yea!! I hope you stop by and visit back. ~Zuni

Bliss said...

No I think I'm probably the last crafter to know about these decals. This might open a whole new world for me, since I seem to be transfer and graphic challenged.


Kat's Purrfect Boutique said...

I had bought water decals but wasn't sure how to use them. I didn't know they worked on candles, but that makes sense. I will now know what to do. The site had instructions but yours were easier to understand. Now I have to make my own too. Thanks!

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

HOLY STINKIN' COW!!! I have never heard of this -- it's on my "must try" list now and pinning to my supply to try board!

Anne said...

Carol, you aren't the last crafter to know about this because I didn't, COOL! I have to try them! I've just found your lovely blog, and I'm a new follower ~ So nice to meet you!

Debbie @DewdropGables said...

I have never, ever heard of water slide decals...and I wish I had! These look amazing and sound so wonderful to work with! I'm going to have to look into where I can find these up here in Canada. Thanks for an easy to follow tutorial!
Debbie :)

Unknown said...

Cool! This is why I really love decal papers. In fact, I make sure that I always keep a stock of it in my room, just in case boredom attacks. Haha! I try to be artistic by creating my own designs, print it on decal paper and stick it on my bedroom walls or door. :D

Jake Grant

lpvickery said...

Where can you find this paper on short notice?? I've been looking every where and all I can find is the iron on paper (I do live in a smaller town though. I know I can get it online but I don't really have time to wait for it to show up :/ I'm really kicking my self for not looking this up earlier. Can anybody help?

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Ipvickery, There is no way to contact you, possibly you will check back. The only place to find the decals besides on line is at a dedicated art supply store or a store that deals with model planes and cars, this is what the decals were originally used for. They are not as of yet available at any craft store that I know of.

The Polka Dot Closet

Unknown said...

This is really great. I was wondering if I used this to print up pages for a recipe book, would face to face images stick together?
Thanks, Amanda
I'll check back in a day or two, thanks.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Amanda, I do believe they would stick together, but the draw back would be the difficult in getting the bubbles out of a full sheet. The bigger the decal, in this case a full sheet, is very difficult to work with. I don't think I would try it


Deb VintageSoul said...

Carol, what do you use for glue to stick the decals on?

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Deb, You don't need to glue or use mounting fluids. All I do is wet the decal and slide it on. Within minutes it will stick and stay stuck! I have the decals on outside planters that have with stood the Florida heat, sun, and rain for 2 years.


TeriCu said...

Hi my name is Teri Cunningham I have found you through The Graphics Fairy (love that sight premium member) I found that I love using the waterslides that you recommended, however I have had a lot of problems. However, I have found some things that have helped me the only problem that remains is my edges keep curling up. I have started using Krylon adhesive spray but that leaves little to no room for moving the picture for placement once it's down. Can you please help me I have talked to Robin and she said she has never had any one have this problem. She gave me some tips but they didn't help. Can you help me please?????


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Unknown said...

Hi, I know this is an old thread but I'm sure hoping you will still see it and respond! I'm definitely going to try this as I have an ink jet printer but my question is ( I also have a MacBook Pro ) what is the program you have that is allowing you to resize and merge and put multiple pictures on one sheet????

FavorFavour said...

Wow-you're brilliant! I have had trouble with decals before but spraying them with triple gloss to stiffen them up before application is such a great tip! (I used laser water-slide decal paper)
Thank you for sharing --I see how old this post is but it was incredibly helpful! for a wholesale project I'm working on! Yay!

Tina said...

Could I ask what programme you use on your mac..I have just purchased some paper..very late in the game haha.Im not sure how to transfer images from mac to printer.. i need a lesson in that alone hehe. just noticed that someone above has the same question.

FavorFavour said...

I use Photoshop Elements for most of my work and only use full Photoshop when I need to do something more complicated. I use MacBook Pro too
I also bought a laser priinter a few years ago that I use everyday. It's a workhorse although I wish it were a little faster--OKI c610

Mariaan said...

Hi Im from South Africa.... would you please share your soap recipe with me... want to try to make it.... Mariaan

Mariaan said...

Hi Im from South Africa.... would you please share your soap recipe with me... want to try to make it.... Mariaan

Micheal Alexander said...

Hello, an amazing Information dude. Thanks for sharing this nice information with us. Water Slide for Rent in Spring

hollyg said...

This post is so old, I don't even know if you will see it, but I am praying you do! Is the first photo of the pack of decal paper you posted the stuff you bought from Robin's Eggcetera? Her paper is the only decal paper that I have found that I love, but she has recently gone out of business and I have no idea who her supplier was. I am in desperate search of that paper! I have wasted so much money on other brands that just don't work for me. Thnaks!

FavorFavour said...

Search Experts Choice on ebay--I think you will find what you need :)