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. Deana says:

    This is an awesome idea I love it…Pinnin ya’…I’d love for you to share this @CountryMommaCooks Link & Greet party going on now-Sunday midnight…

  2. I am so happy you came over my blog and visited my party! You’ll be featured tomorrow during STICKER TIME!

  3. bdswagger says:

    This is a great tut, but the labels decals, when they open in another window, or tiny, and the link you posted for someone else in the comments, doesn’t seem to be working. I’m a ceramic artist and I think this will work just as well on my ceramic pieces, with my own decals, ofcourse.
    Leigh Perry

  4. Leigh Perry
    May I ask what browser you are using? Perhaps there are some compatability issues as no-one else has mentioned any problems.
    When you click on the image it should open in a lightbox at full size. If you then save the image to your computer it should be standard print size (at least, it is for me). Alternatively, right click on the image and open it in a new window then hover over it. You should see a magifying glass. If you click on the image it should zoom in to full size then you can save it to your computer (again, what you see may be dependant on the particular browser you are using). Do not simply save the image as it appears in the blog post – you need to open it to full size first.
    If this all fails, please try this link: (again, you will need to zoom in to open the image to full size).
    Please let me know if you continue to have problems. Could you please also let me know if it works so I know all is okay.

  5. So cool! I must try this!

  6. Bliss says:

    I’m really behind the learning curve….. I didn’t even know there was decal paper! Adding it to my list now.

    ~Bliss~ Stopped over from, hmmm, I forget, maybe Funky Junk?

  7. These look amazing…and I have seriously never heard of waterslide decals!! But how cool are those!!

    I would love for you to link up at my Weekly Friday Link Party if you are interested.


  8. carole says:

    Petit mot pour toi sur mon blog le 07/02 à 18 heures
    Bravo !

  9. Simply Grace says:

    I love this project! Where did you find the jars….I’ve been looking for some like that for a long time, and are they plastic or glass?

  10. Cindy says:

    So cute! Thanks for the printables! XO Cindy

  11. Kristine,
    How did you know? I just recently purchased the decal paper and I am getting ready to make a decal for a painted table tomorrow. Thanks so much for the tutorial!


  12. Lisa says:

    thanks for posting this Kristine, I love these decals!

  13. Deana says:

    Thanks so much for linking up to CountryMommaCooks Link & Greet Party!
    Hope to see you next Saturday……Have a blessed week:)

  14. Jenn Lifford says:

    These are FABULOUS!!! I just pinned them and hope to do something like this very soon! If you get a chance I would love for you to share this at my link party on Tuesday night. I’ve shared this on my Facebook page too. Soooo cute!

  15. Such an awesome product – and your decal designs are pretty sweet, too!

  16. GdeG says:

    really wonderful!

  17. Toodie says:

    VERY. COOL. I also like typographic things so this was awesome to see!. Thank you so much for the great tutorial and a special thank you for allowing us to use your hard work. :)

  18. These are great – now I need to get some of this paper, some jars AND finally ink for my printer!

  19. Eva says:

    I just love this!!

  20. Sharon says:

    Fantastic tut….and so timely! Having a crafty weekend get-together with the girls next weekend. We can do this!

  21. Dee says:

    Adorable. Wish I could use your printables but I will have to make my own to label all my different types for gluten free flours. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  22. Simply Grace
    As mentioned in the post the jars are from IKEA. They are glass (not plastic), from the SLOM range.
    Hope this helps :-)

  23. Angie says:

    Wow! I love this. I’d never heard of this decal paper before, so I’m looking forward to trying it now.

    I hope you’ll come share it for the Knick of Time Tuesday Vintage Style Party. The party starts Monday evening.

    Angie @ Knick of Time

  24. Wow. These are fantastic. I have been buying glass jars like this at thrift stores. Can’t wait to do this!

  25. Lynn Lovejoy says:

    Question, Do I need to get laser waterslide decal paper or inkjet? What’s the difference? i can’t wait to try this but cant seem to find any magic paper here in the US that isn’t insanely expensive! Any other suggestions? Thanks! These are amazing! I hope you make more in the future!

  26. Hi Lynn
    If you have an inkjet printer (which uses ink cartridges) then you need the inkjet paper. If you have a laser printer (which uses toner) then you would use the laser paper.
    I don’t know what the technical difference is though I imagine the papers are made specifically to ‘hold’ either ink or toner.
    You can make these decals without the Magic paper (with waterslide paper alone) you just don’t get the same durability (though they are still somewhat robust). You can see my previous tutorial for that by visiting the link at the top of this post.
    The paper is a little expensive though I only used one sheet for all of my jars.

  27. Love this project! Thanks for the TUT!! Visiting from Sunday’s Best! Drop by for a visit sometime! I’m one of your newest friends!

  28. kevly says:

    Would you believe just last night, as I transfered our breadcrumbs into an empty jar, I wondered how I could go about labelling my jars – and look, your wonderful post has just answered my queries.

    Thank you so much.

    They look wonderful!

  29. flutietootie says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. It is very creative and resourceful.

  30. Kristen Lynn says:

    These are so so so cute! Thank you for the adorable free printables! Definitely using!

    xo kristen

  31. Julie Elick says:

    wow…o wow o wow o wow…this is wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Really cute! I couldn’t help but notice your flour label for self “raising” flour. In the US we say self “rising” flour.

  33. Jelli Bean says:

    What a great item! I’ve never heard of this before, but would love to try it!

  34. i ordered the decal paper!!! i cannot WAIT to do this! do you think you could just make them in a word document? i don’t have photoshop…nor do i want to pay to get it lol

  35. Michelle says:

    This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing the labels and the tutorial!

  36. aimee says:

    i featured this post as my crush of the week pop over and grab a ” i was talked up and twigg studios” button if you like xxx

  37. Lindsey says:

    I love this!! Thanks so much! Jars bought, paper ordered, and I’m so excited!
    Can you tell me what font you used in case I end up labeling my entire kitchen? Lol!

  38. sorry another quick question…how did you get the numbers for the dictionary definition…that’s such a cute addition and im making a whole bunch so want to have numbers :)

  39. Lynn
    You could certainly do something like this in Word. If you don’t have Photoshop you can use or GIMP (they are both free image manipulation programs). I used before I got Photoshop (I made my blog banner using it).
    The numbers above each label are just made up cause I though they would look cute.

  40. Lindsey
    The fonts are Courier, Another Typewriter and Mrs Eaves Bold.

  41. UMM I just spent the last hour and a half making these labels for EVERYTHING in my pantry lol… we are moving and i’m desperately trying to reorganize my life and you have basically been the biggest god-send ever. I love your idea for the definitions…it is SO beautiful, simple and unique (well maybe not unique for me since i’m copying you, but you were definitely unique for coming up with it! ) I used the numbers you had for the ones you had done and made my own…i’ll probably be posting them on my blog asap and will be sure to link up to your blog so everyone can see how amazing you are…so thankful for pinterest since it caused me to discover you!

  42. ok hi again! haha i’m back! I told you I’d post it on my blog and I did… plus you can see all the ones I made! took me awhile but totally worth it!

  43. hi! i just responded to your comment on my blog, but i’m not sure if my website lets you know if i responded or not, so i’m just telling you here just in case :)

  44. OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE these!! Pinned them!!

  45. This is awesome, thank you so much for sharing!!!

  46. love love love these!! found them on Pinterest AND I just love your Hive :)!!!! thanks for sharing!

  47. I thought I commented on this…but maybe just pin it! I have done a lot with waterslide decals and am so interested to try this technique…thanks for teaching me something new! Thanks for linking up to tickled pink…featuring this this week!

  48. Amy says:

    Wow, I LOVE these! They look fantastic, and I’m all about the dictionary definitions! Thanks so much for sharing at Shine on Fridays; you’re being featured tomorrow at One Artsy Mama!

  49. Samantha says:

    Wow! Great tutorial!! I will have to look out for some of this cool magic paper! Found you via Today’s Creative Blog :-)

  50. Becca says:

    Hello dear!
    I used your awesome over-sized map tutorial from your bedroom to complete some map art.
    Here’s the link if you wanna see my version!

    Thanks so much for sharing your amazing tutorial!

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