How Apply Water Slide Decals

Written by rebekah martin
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How Apply Water Slide Decals
Decals can be used to decorate things such as craft items, toys and furniture. (Eagle image by Alexandr Shebanov from

Water slide decals are simply decals that need water to work. The water helps them to slide off of the paper backing. You can use these decals to decorate hard or soft surfaces. You can even wash them once they have cured. Water slide decals can be printed on your home computer on the speciality paper. Once your decal is designed and printed, it is time to add it to your item.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Printed water slide decal
  • Clear glossy varnish
  • Scissors
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Shallow container
  • Tweezers
  • Newspaper or paper towel
  • Cotton swab
  • Paint brush
  • Towel

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  1. 1

    Brush varnish on the item you on which you will place the decal. For example, if you are placing it on a mug, paint the outside of the mug with the varnish and wait for it to dry. Make sure the coat is smooth and even. This will simply give the decal something uniform to adhere to.

  2. 2

    Cut out your decal. You can use sharp scissors, although a sharp craft knife works best. Leave as little extra material around the design as possible.

  3. 3

    Pour tap water into a shallow bowl or cup and hold the decal under the water for 10 seconds. Hold it with tweezers or tongs.

  4. 4

    Place the decal on a newspaper or paper towel for 30 seconds to allow some of the water to drain off.

  5. 5

    Place a few drops of water on the item using a cotton swab or paint brush. Do not flood the item; a few drops will work best.

  6. 6

    Pick up the decal with a pair of tweezers and place it where you want it on your item. Press it to the item with a paintbrush and pull the paper away with the tweezers. This requires two steady hands.

  7. 7

    Wrap your finger in a soft towel and press it on the decal on the edge. Roll the finger over the decal, pressing it into place at the same time. Do not rub, as it could tear the decal. Rolling will help any air bubbles to escape.

  8. 8

    Wait 15 minutes for the decal to dry completely. Brush off any stray bits of paper with a clean dry paintbrush and cover it with another coat of the clear varnish to protect it.

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