Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tutorial: DIY Waterslide Decals

I´ve been playing around with waterslide decals for a couple years right now and I wanted to do a tutorial on how to make your own water decals for ever. Finally my tutorial is here!!

Waterslide decals are water-mounted decals used for transfering a printed image onto a surface. They are very popular in craft areas like scale modeling and nail art.

Normally you can buy nail art waterslide decals online but for me they are too expensive and not very original. I wanted to pick out my own images to make and use them as decal on my nails.  

What you need to make the waterslide decals:
- Waterslide decal paper in clear or white, you can get these online
- A spray can of clear coat
- Your computer or laptop
- A printer that is suitable for your type of decal paper

Step 1; Search for cute pictures that you want to use for your nail art. Put the pictures all together in a file as Microsoft Office Word. Adjust the pictures on the computer so that the pictures are small enough to fit onto your nails. This step can take a while because you have to measure your nails and images. You can print them on regular paper to see how big or small they will finally come out the printer.

Step 2; Choose your decal paper. If you're going to buy decal paper in a craft store or online you need to know if the printer you are using is a laser printer or an inkjet printer. There are different types of decal paper for each printer. Then you need to choose between clear or white paper. Remember that your printer doesn't print white so if you have a lot of picture with white in it, it's probably best if you take white paper, but keep in mind that you have to cut out the pictures very precisely if you don't want a white line around the images. I  have white and clear decal paper, but I prefer using clear.

Step 3; When you choose your decal paper and got all the images the right size you can start to paint! Put the decal paper in the printer. The glossy coat is the side were the images need to print on. Once the images are printed don't touch them yet, you need to wait till the ink is dry. I waited about 30 minutes.

Step 4; Once the images are completely dry you can spray a thin layer of clear paint onto the images. Hold the spray can 30 centimeters/11 inches above the paper. Let the clear coat dry. Once it's dry repeat this step one more time and let dry.

Once the second coat is dry the images are ready to use! Now onto the part how to use the decals. Before you start make sure your nails are grease free by washing your hands or using desinfected gel. If you want the images be placed on a polished nail, that's alright. Just make sure your polish nails are also grease free.

That's it! Have you ever made your own decals, or have you ever used any? If you want to know how to use these, come back this friday. I will show you how to transfer the images from the paper to your nails.


  1. Hi Stephanie! Thank you for this brilliant tutorial!!! I'm really looking forward to doing this! I have a couple of questions though: do you know how to do decals that are silver/gold paint or ones that are white drawings? (My printer doesn't have metallic or white cartridges haha) Thanks!

    1. you might have to go over the metallic areas with a Sharpie. Just an idea.

  2. Hey hi stephaine
    Thank for sharing ur ideas
    I have few questions
    I have decal paper,primer and even the designs but I dunno how to resize nd resemble it.
    Do I need to use special software or it is better with Microsoft word.
    Looking forward for your reply.
    Thank you
    Indhu Thiyagu.

  3. Hello! How to choose the printer?

  4. what kind of format picture did you use? JPG or PNG?


  5. What is this clear paint you spray on? Is it like a clear matte finish spray paint? Like Krylon?

    Thank you.

    1. Yes. Krylon is good. Most people use high gloss, but if you like matte you can use that, as well

  6. This is awesome thank you. But still can't find where to go on microsoft word, I have the folder with pictures. Plus, I got everything, already but dont know the way to get them all in one sheet.

    1. If you go to the picture and right click on it a drop down menu pops up and you'll want to select "open with" and then select the paint program option. That's how I do it anyway.

  7. The EASIEST thing to do with a .jpg is to:Right click on the image, select "Copy". Open a word document, Right click on any space and select "Paste". Now you have the image in a .doc. Click (left) on the image. You will get dots around the edges that you can stretch or shrink to get the result you want. Good idea to print on regular paper first to make sure you have the size you want.

  8. Oh, and when you get the size you want, you can make a whole row of them. Just Right click on the image you like, and then next to it, Right click, Paste over and over again - (no need to click on the image you want each time.) When you click "copy" the first time, the computer remembers it unless you change it. You can just keep pasting. **NOTE A SHORTCUT using just the keys is Ctrl + C at the same time to copy, and Ctrl +V to paste. If you get used to that, it is much quicker! Good luck!

  9. I have a glossy photo paper for inkjet printers, Is it the same with the waterslide decal ?

  10. I have a glossy photo paper for inkjet printers, Is it the same with the waterslide decal ?