How to Print Decals

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Decals can be created at home using paper specially made for ink jet decal printing, an ink jet printer and a few other items that are easy to find. You will be able to apply decals to plastic, glass, metal and wood.

Things You'll Need

  • computer graphics software ink jet printer decal design ink jet decal paper ink jet decal fixative spray scissors water foam squeegee paper towel

How to Print Decals

  • Create a decal design using any graphics software program, scan a design into your graphics software program or download a photo from your digital camera.

  • Print your design first on regular paper to proof. Make adjustments as desired, for example to the size of the design. When the design prints on regular paper to your satisfaction, print your design on decal paper, using the highest resolution or highest quality settings for printing.

  • Some brands of ink jet decal paper require a decal fixative, also known as a water slide decal coating. If required, spray a light coating of fixative on your decal and let dry. Then spray a heavier coating of fixative at a 90 degree angle to the first coating and let it dry for several hours.

  • Cut your decal to size. Soak the decal in water for 45 to 60 seconds.

  • Position your decal over the intended surface and slide the decal off of the backing paper. Apply the decal to the intended surface, carefully smoothing it with your finger or thumb. A small foam squeegee can help smooth and remove air bubbles, but do not use too much pressure, it could damage the decal. Gently remove excess fluid with a paper towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider the color of the intended surface when creating decal design, and whether to use white or transparent decal paper, or both, overlaying the transparent decal over the decal printed on white paper. Ink jet printers do not print white, but white backed ink jet decal paper is available. Edges will show up as white when using the white backed paper. It is possible to print two layers, first print the white and apply to surface, then the second layer prints on the transparent paper to overlay the white. Or, spray white on the area the decal will be applied to, masking as needed. A bit of trial an error may be necessary.

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