MAGIC Decal Tutorial with Free Printables

Magic Decal Tutorial - with free printables | The Painted Hive

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

Among other things, I mentioned how awesome 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 super 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 acquired assortment of SLOM jars from IKEA were awaiting some DIY craftiness and seemed the perfect 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).


1 Image to transfer.

Use anything you like. I made up my canister labels in Photoshop though a standard publishing program would be fine too. 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 Printer.

You can use either a laser or an inkjet printer. The decal paper comes in two varieties, designed specifically for the type of printer you plan to use. Just make sure to purchase the right paper for you. I used an 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 $15 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.


1 Print your image onto the glossy side of your decal paper (DO NOT mirror your image). 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 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 $15 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 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. You could choose to use basic clear stickers in place of decals. Just be mindful they will not be as durable and their border and background will be more visible.

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



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 editable PSD version of my labels below!
Finally, the SLOM range of jars has since been discontinued. KORKEN is IKEA’S new alternative though similar clip-top jars can be found in lots of discount/dollar stores.


  1. Suheda says:

    I would love to try this with the minc gold foil. Can you please give me some instructions on how to do this? 😍

    • Hi Suheda
      Well, I’ve never used foil before though based on some tutorials I’ve seen it seems doable. I’m just not certain if the foil might react adversely with the decal paper or magic coating.
      I guess you will simply need to test it for yourself. I would print out the labels onto the waterslide decal paper using a laser printer, laminate the foil on and then laminate the magic coating on. The main potential issue I can foresee is that laminating the foil on might melt the decal paper. I guess you can only try it.

  2. Tovia Edmonds says:

    I purchased the decals/labels from Kristine. I absolutely love them. The instructions were complete and user-friendly. It took less than 10 minutes to decal all of my canisters. I soaked them in water as she instructed and they are durable. I am so happy with my decals and extra impressed with Kristine’s professionalism and customer service. Thank you so much!


  3. Laura says:

    Is it possible to do this process with a second sheet of decal paper verses the magic paper?

    • Hmmm, I guess you could always try though the decal paper has an adhesive layer whereas the magic coating doesn’t. I’m thinking that the glue might be activated when you laminate or soak the decal causing unwanted results.

  4. Lorelle says:

    Hello, very nice idea!! If you have come across any more of the cute wooden scoops, would love to know where I can get them. There are some on ebay, but dont look quite as nice as yours. I am from Queensland. Many thanks.

    • Hi Lorelle
      I’ll keep a look out. Like I mentioned, I just found these in a $2 type store though I’ve also seen them at my local Mitre 10 in the past. Just luck I think!

  5. susan hall says:

    I did an entire set of dishes 2 days ago with water slide paper and spray poly. Then went on great. I baked them and all. Put them in the dishwasher last night and all the decals washed off. I guess I need the magic paper. This is the paper I used;

    • Hi Susan
      Yes, regular waterslide paper is not dishwasher resistant. Even with the magic coating paper, I don’t really recommend using a dishwasher if possible – it’s a bit risky. Sorry your hard work was all washed away :(

  6. Sarah says:

    Where are the free printables? I only see a link to purchase..?

    • In the ‘At a Glance’ section at the end of the post look below the ‘Free Download’ heading.

  7. Pam W says:

    I downloaded these years ago and still use them! Would
    You be able to make one for cane sugar?

  8. Tracy G. says:

    I am just in LOVE with this idea for pantry labels… but I need to have them done for me…hubby & I just purchased a home..(yay) lol & my iMac & printer along with a couple other things fell off the back of the moving truck..😢..pieces everywhere & if that wasn’t bad enough& the mother board fell into water so my hard drive is just POOF gone..I’m actually in full on grieving mode as though it had a heartbeat & a pulse…I’m so very happy I stumbled upon your website Kristine…It’s just so beautifully done & chock full of ideas..your creativity is infectious & I can’t wait to try my hand at a few of your endless ideas 😉
    Ty kindly

  9. Lea says:

    Hi there! Just wondering how these have held up as this was written years ago, and here we are in 2019. Do you still have them? Or how long did they last?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Lea. Yep, I still have them and use them regularly. All are still perfect :) 

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