Craft Basics How Tos

A Do and Don’t List For Waterslide Decals

Waterslide decals are an easy craft project, but there is a nack to them and also you have to be careful of how you use them.   

I shared with you my first water slide project on my La Sacre Coeur blog, these storage jars, with this image…

They look pretty on the jars don’t they? 

Here’s a basic do and don’t list for this craft;

Select the right waterslide decal paper

Be sure before you’ve bought your waterslide decals on line and that you’ve got the appropriate ones. That means either inkjet or laser jet appropriate decal paper.

You also want to consider whether you get transparent or white background dependent on the project. The jars above look great, but it was a project of kitchen storage jars. So dark produce, like raisins, didn’t let the labels stand out. Eventually I had to swap over to white background labels, but they look just as unique and satisfying.

Print out your design

You can design an image on canvas, print out an image you’ve saved from the internet or use one of my free print outs on the blog. Then print straight from your at home printer -however it may be bast to do a dry run with normal printer paper before starting to make sure the image is the right size.

When you print out your images on decal paper the advice is print it shiny side up, no need to mirror image it, leave it for 30 minutes to dry and then spray it with acrylic varnish.

Do spray acrylic varnish four times

I’ve read other instructional on this subject that say spray two or three times, but four is the charm. Believe me. I know this because I accidentally sprayed one sheet four times and the others three. The sheet with four coats worked so much better.

The three times sheets had a more malleable feel, like cling film. They were tricky because, just like cling film, they stuck to themselves a good deal of the time. I wasted so much transfer paper. 

However the four times one was remarkably more durable, almost like a laminate sheet pre laminating. It was far easier to remove and lay on the object as a result. I don’t think I wasted a single piece done like this. If you don’t follow any other dos, do this! 

Do trim the Decal to size

If your decal is slightly too large for the surface it puckers up as it dries and you get a distorted image. I ruined decal projects before I realised what I was doing wrong.

Do put water on the object

When I was trying to use the transfers in a more cling film like state they were tricky to apply. So I started to dip my fingers in the bowl of water that I was submerging the transfers in and coating the surface a little. It acted as a means to slide the decal in place more easily on the surface itself. It continued to work well on those I’d coated four times with varnish, allowing me to have far me capacity to move the decal on the objects surface. I’ve been able to move them around a good couple of centimetres. 

Do grip the decal between your fingers and thumbs

Submerge the decal in water and it will curl up like one of those magic fish you get in crackers that are meant to tell you your fortune. Leave it for about thirty seconds. To remove the decal grip it with your fingers underneath it and your thumbs together on top of it. Grip it firmly then push your thumbs away from you. You’ll feel it give and it will start to do as it’s names says, slide in the water. 

Remove the decal from the water, half on and off the paper. Place it where you want it to go on the moist surface and then finish sliding it off. 

Do get rid of the air bubbles beyween your thumbs too

On the decal place your thumbs or fingers in the middle of it side by side. Then slide one of them out to the edge and off the decal, keeping the other firmly in place. Return it to the middle and do the same the other side. Make sure all the bubbles are gone like this. 

As always I’d love to hear your comments and feedback, in the meantime…

God bless!


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