DIY Transfer Decal Tutorial

Sure, there are a heap of different embellishing methods out there though did you know you can make your own custom, professional-looking, easy to use decals at home with no expensive outlays, time-consuming crafting or specialty equipment?

All you need is some waterslide decal paper and a printer (plus a cute design of course!).

Waterslide decal paper comes with a white or clear carrier film and is compatible with either inkjet or laser printers so be sure to purchase the type of paper best suited to your particular project.

Let’s get started….

1. Waterslide decal paper 2. Printer 3. Clear acrylic sealer 4. Item to embellish

Yes, those are my ugly kitchen tiles you can see beneath the plates. I will get around to making over my kitchen one day!

I really love the professional finish, ease and graphic flexibility of this method. Anything you can design you can use as an embellishment, and waterslide decals can be applied to all kinds of substrates (glass, timber, metal etc.).  The possibilities are vast and, for a DIY-aholic like me, embarrassingly exciting!

Waterslide Decal Paper (eBay)
Ceramic Plates (Provincial Home Living)

  1. Thanks – I didn’t know there was such a product, I’ll look for it here. Your plates look fabulous too!

  2. Lottie says:

    I didn’t know you could do this…the possibilities seem endless! Now all I need to do is find some of that paper!

  3. Anne says:

    Super cute! I can see many more projects like this showing up over the next few months!!!

  4. NanaDiana says:

    Cute idea! I have never worked with this paper…might be fun to give it a try! xo Diana

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing this great little project with us Kristine.

    Take care
    Jo :)

  6. Very cute! Love how this turned out :)


  7. Jamie says:

    Oh those look so nice! Thanks for joining in Make Yourself Monday!!

    For Love of Cupcakes

  8. I have heard of this waterslide paper and now I reeeally want to try it! Do you know if it works on fabric? :) Thanks for a great tutorial!

    xoxo laurie

  9. Katie says:

    Oh I’m in love with this! I’m pinning it!

    Creatively Living Outside the Box

  10. SheilaG says:

    Oooh,thanks for the info- now I don’t have to wait for a silhouette machine!

  11. Super cute! I see a lot more projects like this appear in the next few months!

  12. karla says:

    Thank you for posting about this method. I will have to try this someday. I am always looking for methods to transfer designs. this would be very helpful.

  13. karah says:

    Thanks for the info! Your plates look great!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

  14. Thanks so much for this info! I was just thinking I wanted some decals. I’m your newest follower!

  15. Deanne says:

    I saw a blog post on this, promptly found some on eBay and it arrived a couple of weeks ago and as yet I haven’t used it, I have a couple of projects in mind but have a few other things to get finished first.

  16. oooooh…I love this. Totally pinning this for a rainy day. I’ve never heard of waterslide paper. LOVE to learn something new :-)! And the plates are absolutely adorable!

  17. So cute. I have never worked with the decal paper before. Thanks for letting us know where to find. But I sure am going to give it a try. The possibilities are endless. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving. Thanks so much for sharing over at Sunday’s Best.

  18. Love this! I need that decal paper! :)

  19. Jen says:

    So happy I found this through link party! I love this idea- so many different things I can do with this.


  20. hi Kristine.
    just found you through Pinterest. LOVE this tutorial – and LOVE your decorating. looking forward to following along.
    cheryl xox.

  21. Never seen this before!!! That is just fabulous!!!! Love it, thanks so much for sharind and happy thanksgiving!!!!

    Kammy’s Korner

  22. malia says:

    There are magnificent! LOVE! xo

  23. What a great tip and tutorial! I had never heard of waterslide paper! I can see lots of uses for this and what fun…that I can make my own decals! I would love to have you share this at my party!

  24. Sara says:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing, do you think it would work on a wall?

  25. I saw decal paper linked from Pinterest to here:

    Saw you on pinterest, too. Thanks for the tute!

  26. Sara, it would definitely work on a wall though unlike vinyl decals which are removable I’m pretty sure decal paper is made to be reasonably permanant so I’m not sure how easily it would come off. You could certainly give it a go though (maybe on something other than your wall as a trial!).

    Messy Mommy, that’s a great resource for the paper for my readers in the USA. I am based in Australia though.


  27. Thank you, thank you! I can’t tell you how many times I want to do a project with a decal and think to myself “darn it I wish I had a Silhouette machine!” This is awesome and thanks for sharing {but shhh…..don’t tell my hubby cause I’m still hoping for a cutting machine for xmas..LOL}

  28. This is awesome! I found you through pinterest. Now.. with this, do you think it would work on Mugs too? Thanks!

  29. I love these! New follower here. Your home is beautiful! Would love it if you would stop by and share this at my linky party going on right now :)

    Have a great week!!

  30. SleepBakeCheer, I think this would work on mugs though I’m not certain how durable the decals are in terms of washability so it might be something you would have to trial.

  31. Great tutorial! Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday

  32. Bryn says:

    Do you think this would work on a canvas? As in like transfering a picture?

  33. Hi Bryn. It would probably work on a canvas. You would have to trial it though. As the name suggests, waterslide decals are designed to ‘slide’ into place. Canvas may be a little too tactile though you could certainly give it a go.

  34. Jeanee says:


    I featured your awesome DIY on my blog yesterday :)


  35. hihi!
    Love this post and I hope I can do something similar! I was wondering if this is the same stuff:
    please advise!! :D

  36. Hi Jenn. Thanks for your comment. Sorry, though it’s not the same stuff (though it is similar). You could probably use it though I imagine it would be much thicker (the waterslide decal paper is extremely thin). Try doing a Google search for ‘waterslide decal paper’. I’m sure you will find some near you.

  37. hi, it’s me again! hah… anyway, I just got the regular waterslide paper because the magic was like ridiculously expensive :( but now i can’t figure out how to mirror my stuff in word. do you know how to do it?

  38. ok hi again sorry to keep posting…i figured out how to do the mirror thing in pdf so it’s no biggie… i still have to mirror it if i’m going to only use the waterslide right? (not magic)

  39. I happened upon your tutorial on Pinterest. I have been wanting to make some plates for some time and your post here really helped me out… Thanks so much
    Jane Rainwater

  40. Thanks so much for posting this. I happened upon it on a Pinterest post. I have been wanting to put my design stuff on plates for a while and had really no idea how to accomplish it. Thanks so much, I love your blog!

  41. lisa says:

    Can you explain the concept? What’s the relevance of the type?

  42. Lisa
    Sorry, not sure what you are asking. There’s no real relevance – I just like typography and think the numbers look nice. There’s nothing too deep about it.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I was so eager to do a project with waterslide paper and ordered some from eBay, but I just can’t get it to work! No matter how long I soak the paper in water–30 seconds, a minute, 5 minutes, or even longer–the decal never separates from the backing! Is my paper defective, or is there a trick to this I’m not getting? I’ve already ruined two very expensive sheets of the stuff trying to get it to work. How easily is the decal supposed to slide off the paper?

  44. Anon
    While the decal paper isn’t the easiest medium to use (as it is a little fiddly to work with due to being so thin) I have never had trouble with getting the paper off.
    I suspect you may have some defective paper.
    I know the paper’s not cheap and you surely aren’t keen to waste more money though perhaps you can try a different brand?

  45. Kathryn says:

    As the Magic paper is rare in the US, I am still extremely interested in using the tutorial you posted with clear spray paint. Since you obviously don’t wash your canisters every day, wondering if this special decal paper can be wiped off with a damp rag every so often, or even get wet when washing? Don’t want to waste, but LOVE LOVE LOVE this and I want to make it work! Also, would putting an extra coat or two of the clear spray hurt it?

  46. Kathryn
    The decal paper without the Magic coating is still pretty hardy. A few fine mists of sealer would be fine and I think it should certainly be tough enough to handle being wiped down.

  47. sooooo cute, Will try and send you results!!

  48. Sweetwater says:

    Could you please so a picture of you laying the reverse printed material on your plate in the process of sliding the backing off. I’ve taken on this project (not the magic paper post as couldn’t get the product in the US) but can’t understand why the print needs to be in mirror image. I printed my standard, sprayed the top with sealant, slide the back off and attached that sticky back to plastic tumblers. I can’t figure out how or why to do it in reverse but that must mean that I am missing something. Thanks for your post!

  49. Sweetwater
    I just followed the directions which were included with my paper and don’t profess to be an expert on this :-)
    I imagine the reason the manufacturers recommend printing in reverse is so that when the decal is applied the ink (printed surface) is face down on the object, hence sealed beneath the film.
    I have watched several manufacturer tutorials regarding applying the decals and all stipulate printing in reverse. That said, I see nothing wrong with printing as usual and sealing your decal from the front with sealant.
    I think the reason they suggest spraying with sealer is to give the decal more body, so it is stiffer and easier to apply (though I’m not certain).
    Hope this helps.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I dont know if my last post posted. I purchased the wterslide decal paper on ebay and am looking for the magic coating paper. I can’t seem to find it anywhere other than the australia company in your post. I am a little hesitant to purchase as I dont know what shipping will be. I googled it and it estimated $20 from AU to USA! I found this paper Lazertran Decal Transfer Paper 8.5 x 11 Inches – 10 per Package on amazon but I am not sure if that is what I need to if it is similar to the waterslide paper I already purchased. Do I need the magic paper? Any advice would be appreciated!


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