MAGIC Decal Tutorial with Free Printables!

Some of you may remember, a little while back I posted a tutorial for DIY waterslide decals.

Amongst other things, I mentioned how wonderful they are for creating custom embellishments without the need for any fancy pants equipment. Yep, waterslide decal paper is a truly fab product, though as great as it is, there is one drawback – although it’s somewhat tough it’s not especially durable. So, whilst it’s perfect for ornamental purposes, it’s not ideal for more practical applications….until now that is!

Magic decal coating paper is a product designed to be used in conjunction with standard decal paper to make the finished transfers durable – yes, even dishwasher resistant!

If you’re already familiar with magic decal coating paper then please excuse my tardy excitement, though for everyone else who is just getting to the party now too, feel free to start throwing the streamers!

My recently aquired assortment of SLOM jars from IKEA were awaiting some DIY craftiness and seemed the perfect victims candidates for my first magic decal experiment.

As there may be several brands of magic decal coating paper out there, each with slightly differing application requirements, for clarity in this tutorial I will specifically pertain to the particular product I used which I attained from here. The paper seems a little pricey though you can create several decals from one sheet so in reality the individual decals are actually quite inexpensive.

The paper I received came with three sheets of waterslide decal paper (distinguished by a blue watermark on the back) which you print your image onto, and three accompanying sheets of the magic coating paper (distinguished by attached translucent protective paper).

GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

1. Image to transfer. Use anything you like. I made up my canister labels in Photoshop. I wanted them to be a bit different and quite typographic so decided to style them based on dictionary definitions (my artwork is attached as a free printable if you would like to use them – see the ‘At a Glance’ section at the end of the post to view and download!).

2. Inkjet printer.

3. Decal paper (blue watermark on back). Decal paper comes in clear or white. I’m using the clear paper because I want a transparent background around my image.

4. Magic paper (attached translucent protective paper).

5. Laminator. Basic laminators can be bought for around $20 from most office supply and department stores.

6. Scissors.

7. Water.

8. Soft cloth.

9. Item to embellish. As already mentioned, I’m using my plain SLOM jars from IKEA.

10. Microwave, oven or hairdryer.

THE PROCESS

1. Print your image onto the glossy side of your decal paper (DO NOT mirror your image) using an inkjet printer. Allow to dry thoroughly. I created my canister labels in Photoshop and have attached them below as a free printable (see the ‘At a Glance’ section at the end of the post to view and download!).

2. Separate the translucent protective paper from the magic paper. Do not throw the translucent paper away.

3. Place the magic paper gloss side up on your table. Lay the decal paper printed side down on top of the magic paper. Place the translucent protective paper gloss side down on top of the decal paper (the translucent paper is designed to act as a protective barrier of sorts between the decal paper and laminator heat).
Note: As my image took up the entire sheet of decal paper I did not need to trim around it first. If you are working with a smaller image you may wish to cut roughly around it with scissors.

4. Laminate your stack of three papers together on low speed and at low temperature.
Note: Laminating pouches are not needed. Laminating is performed to fuse the decal paper and magic coating together. Basic laminators can be bought for around $20 from most office supply and department stores.

5. Discard the translucent paper. Your decal paper and magic paper should now be fused together. Trim closely around your image – you can see it quite easily through the paper if you hold it up to the light.
Note: By nature, waterslide decals have a very fine, slightly translucent carrier film. On close inspection this will be visible on completed transfers. As my image is text alone with no border I experimented with techniques and found the neatest finish to be a nice even box (trying to mimic the outline of the text just looked messy). If your image has a distinct border then trim approximately 2mm all the way around it (leaving a small buffer ensures you get a good seal).

6. Dampen the back of the decal paper (watermarked side) with a cloth until it becomes translucent. Wait around 15 seconds then gently peel the paper away completely.
Important: Ensure you remove the watermarked decal paper only at this stage.

7. Quickly immerse the decal in a shallow dish of water to dampen the other side then position it, image side down, on your item, smoothing it down with your fingers and a slightly damp cloth to remove excess water.

8. Carefully slide off the backing paper and manipulate the decal into its exact position then continue to smooth it until it is water and air bubble free.

9. Finally, set the decal by either:
Baking in an electric oven for 8 minutes at 150 degrees celsius.
Cooking in a microwave for 5 minutes on low.
Blowing with a hairdryer for 5 – 10 minutes.

Although I was hesitant, I did find the courage to run these babies through the dishwasher (twice, just to be certain) and they didn’t show any signs of distress. I was honestly AMAZED! Of course, given I have only had them for a few days I can hardly vouch for their longevity so advise hand washing for frequent use.

As I mentioned, there is a very faint translucent background (which is the case with waterslide decals) though once the canisters are filled it’s barely noticeable.

I am super stoked with how these turned out – absolutely love! Don’t forget to download your complimentary printable sheets of labels below!

UPDATE

If you’d prefer the labels without the work you can now buy them in easy ready-to-apply format from my little on-line store here.
And excitingly, along with the PDF file, you can also now download the free PSD version of my labels below! Enjoy!
Also, the SLOM range has since been discontinued. KORKEN is the alternative though similar clip-top jars can be found in lots of discount/dollar stores.

AT A GLANCE
SOURCES
Jars (IKEA Slom from $2.99)
Decal Paper with Magic Coating Paper  (Australia – Sounds Creative $16.90 for three sheets)
Decal Paper with Magic Coating Paper (USA – Robbin’s Eggcetera $12.61 for five sheets)
Wooden Scoops (eBay)
CREDITS
Fonts: Courier New, Another Typewriter, Mrs Eaves Bold
FREE DOWNLOAD
Click here to view and download the printable PDF.
Click here to download the editable PSD (for Photoshop users)Free for personal use only.

Republication, reproduction or redistribution in any form is forbidden.

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518 Comments
  1. Ohhh… I LOVE these!!! Thanks so much for posting!!!

  2. this is SO cool!!! love it!

  3. Sarah says:

    This is really one of the cutest projects that I have seen in a long time! Thanks for sharing! I am going to have to try it…

  4. Oh, this is fantastic. I’ve pinned it…can’t wait to try it! You make it look easy. Thanks for such a great tutorial!

  5. Jamie Evelyn says:

    Such a great idea! I love it! Thanks for sharing.

  6. WHAT A COOL PROJECT! I’LL HAVE TO TRY THAT!
    lINSEY

  7. These are absolutely lovely, they appeal to my need to have a lovely pantry. Thanks for sharing.

  8. These are so cute! What a fun idea.

  9. Cath says:

    These are fun and would make a great shower gift.

    Unfortunately I am not locating the two papers here in the U.S. any suggestions?

  10. AntiqueChase says:

    wonderful! and a lovely bridal shower gift!!

    • Stacey says:

      Excellent idea!

  11. Becca says:

    Your end product looks simply fabulous! Very you!
    Thanks for adding the printable sheets!
    Becca

  12. You know whats funny, I was trying to find a tutorial on how to use decals for my project that I already did but its good to know for future reference. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to use them so I had to come up with a solution before i wasted all of my papers. Thanks for sharing this tut.

    ~Mandy

  13. Rachel says:

    Wow! I love those labels! Thank you for providing us with them, too!!

  14. NanaDiana says:

    Thank you so much- I am saving this to my tutorial file. xo Diana

  15. stormygirl says:

    Absolutely gorgeous, Kristine! You are so clever, and I adore your labels. They are fabulous!

  16. Anonymous says:

    These are really cute and I’ve pinned them too. Thanks Kristine. Just wondering where you can find the decal paper and the magic paper.
    Karen

    • sheri says:

      I bought from e-bay a product called Lazertran paper (for inkjet) waterslide decal transfer paper 10 sheets clear/white for only $12.61

      • forcranlon says:

        Thank you for sharing this! I was trying to find a product not from Australia I could use for this project!!

        • The Painted Hive says:

          You can use any type of waterslide decal paper (such as Lazertran). It just won’t have the ‘magic’ coating.

  17. Alice says:

    love it! I have been wondering how I would go about putting labels on my canisters (that look nice)… You just solved my problem!

  18. Hi girls
    There is a link for the paper embedded in the post though here it is directly:
    http://stores.ebay.com.au/sounds-creative/_i.html?_nkw=magic&submit=Search&_sid=506380515
    It is an Australian based store though international shipping is available.
    Kristine

  19. Hello I am having trouble getting the free printable what is the link … cant wait to do this…

  20. LU LU says:

    Hello I am having trouble getting the free printable what is the link … cant wait to do this…

  21. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-rcVX_3Xd0A4/TyfRzo5ziMI/AAAAAAAADbo/t8dcR-jH2_I/s1600/Labels.jpg

    If you are having trouble then feel free to try the above link.

    Otherwise, you should be able to simply click the image I have included in the post (which will then open to full size in a light box) then save it to your computer.

    Hope this helps
    Kristine

  22. Absolutely GORGEOUS! :-D

  23. Love, love, love these! Such a great way to get organized!

    Jeanine

  24. Anonymous says:

    Love the simplicity of these canisters! I even really like your scoops! Where did you find them?

  25. Hi Anon. I was lucky to stumble upon these scoops by chance at a clearance warehouse though I have seen them on Etsy as well. Or perhaps you can try Googling “wooden baking scoop”.
    Kristine

    • MissK says:

      I just came across your website. Do you have more information on the wooden scoops? I have been trying to find them and I have had no luck. What is the size of them? Do you remember the store name? Product number?

      • Hi Miss K
        I just happened to find the scoops in a clearance store one day. It was a few years back now though from memory they were around $1 each. My scoops are about 15cm/6″ in total length. Perhaps try googling “wooden scoops” or similar. You should be able to find some online.
        Hope this helps.
        Kristine

        • MissK says:

          Thanks for your response. No luck on scoops. Googled wooden scoops and most don’t have rounded handle. Must not be able to purchase in USA.

          Is the clearance store still around? Do they have a website?

          • Hi again
            The store I found them in was just a temporary clearance warehouse. I have seen the scoops elsewhere too though (in some kitchen/dollar/hardware stores).
            I just did a few online searches and managed to find a few! My search engines predominately return Australian, UK and NZ results, though I’m pretty confident you should be able to find some in the US too. Again, try searching for “wooden scoops” and check out Google (image search), eBay and Amazon.
            Here is one listing I found on eBay (UK based though cheap international postage).
            If you still have no luck, I’m happy to ship to you (just be aware that shipping from Australia is pretty expensive).
            Hope this helps :-)

          • MissK says:

            Still looking for scoops. LOL The scoops I have found are quite expensive and/or not like yours. What kitchen/dollar/hardware stores have you seen them in?

  26. Rebekah says:

    I love this! It looks so clean and organized. I cannot wait to do this for my pantry. Thanks for posting.

  27. Kate says:

    Oh I love this! Thanks for sharing! What a wonderful idea ~ and it has me thinking about applying this idea to other crafts!
    I’ve pinned this and added your site to my favorites! Thanks again : )

  28. Mrs Ergül says:

    This is awesome! You can totally sell the labelled jars as a collection!

  29. Sarah B says:

    They look fantastic! Thanks for sharing your technique :)

  30. Ness Lockyer says:

    Thats awesome! I have been looking for nice labels. Thanks for the images
    Ness xx
    Marley & Lockyer

  31. Never heard of this product… it looks great and I love what you did with it.. just fabulous! – Susan

  32. I love this, thanks for the labels!
    Debbie

  33. I LOVE YOU!
    I am doing this for my kitchen… It is PERFECT! Thank you for sharing!

  34. Michelle says:

    This is so cool! Thanks for sharing so many details about how you did it. Do you know if it will work on plastic containers as well as glass? Obviously finishing in the microwave rather than the oven — what a mess otherwise!

  35. Becki says:

    Oh my word! Super crafty idea. I am thinking of redoing my glass spice jars with this. Too perfect.

    TFS,
    The Happy Card Encouragement Factory

  36. Anonymous says:

    Can I ask a dumb question; what is magic paper? I just ordered Clear Waterslide Decal Paper to do this cool project and you list magic paper also. I have all the other tools. I want to make sure I get the 3 paper layer correct.

    Thanks Jen

  37. Dorothée says:

    It’s a lovely project and I’d love to make my own labels in French. Would you mind telling me what is the font you used ? I love the look of it.

    • Shiloh says:

      I was wondering the same thing since I would like to use this style for other things such as my dog treats.

      • The Painted Hive says:

        Shiloh
        The fonts are listed, along with links, under the ‘Credits’ heading in the ‘At a Glance’ section at the bottom of the post.
        Have fun :-)

        • Shiloh says:

          Thank you, I found they shortly after posting the question. Thank you for the quick reply!

        • Shiloh says:

          Also what do the numbers in the top right hand corner of the labels mean?

          • The Painted Hive says:

            I’d love to say they had some kind of meaning though the truth is I just liked the look of them so made them up then grouped like items with similar numbers.

  38. Michelle
    I’m not 100% certain though I am pretty sure you can use this on plastic too though do be careful with the microwave because, as I’m sure you are aware, some plastics can melt and warp.

    Jen (Anon)
    You do not need the Magic paper to complete this project however it does give the product a more robust finish. As mentioned in the post, Magic paper is a separate product designed to coat the waterslide decal to give it a protective seal. You can purchase it from the link I have provided by clicking on the logo in the post. If you want to do this project without the Magic paper then follow the previous waterslide decal tutorial I posted here:
    http://thepaintedhive.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/diy-transfer-decals.html

    Dorothee
    I used three fonts; Courier, Another Typewriter and Mrs Eaves Bold.

    Kristine

  39. Pilar Wong says:

    Quick question- I’ve seen several tutorials similar to this that state that the plates and items they make should not be used to serve or eat food from. Do you know if you’re decals are food safe?
    Thanks!

  40. Pilar
    My understanding is that they should not be used on food-touch surfaces (such as the inside of bowls or mugs etc.) though they are quite safe for any external surface.
    Kristine

  41. Janet says:

    I was going to ask what magic paper was too? This is so cool. I love dictionary type. I love the kitchen scale too. Great tutorial.

  42. Maria says:

    These are gorgeous! Love the font!

  43. Colleen says:

    Fabulous!!!! Just the idea I was looking for! Great job!!!

  44. Oliver's says:

    Love Love Love this project!!! Is there any way would customize some lables and sell them? I am photoshop illiterate. I would love the ones you have shown along with a granola and an oats label. Thanks Paula

  45. Love this project and the labels turned out great. Photoshop is definitely my best friend!

    The instructions on my decal paper say to spray it with a few coats of “clear coat” (letting it dry between each coat) before you apply the decal to your surface. I haven’t run mine through the dishwasher, but have hand-washed items and so far so good.

    Just an alternative that may work as well…

    Gettin ready to take a look around at the rest of your inspiration. Thanks for posting!

    Lora

  46. lynn says:

    awesome tut–tfs:)

  47. c. Joy says:

    Thanks for the lesson. Now to find something around here to try this on.

  48. I love these, very cool tutorial. Hmm, going to have to find me decal paper. Thanks for linking up at Beyond the Picket Fence.

  49. Oliver’s
    I am hoping to create a downloadable customisable PDF in the future so people can create their own labels though I am still learning how to do this! If you aren’t confident with editing programs then at this stage it is not possible to modify them.
    Kristine

  50. My Indulgences (Lora)
    Yep, the general way to protect waterslide decals is with a few coats of clear sealer (this is how I did it in my previous waterslide decal tutorial – link at the top of this post). I just wanted to share the Magic paper technique too because it’s just a bit more durable and the decals are easier to handle.
    Kristine

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