DIY Decals - Ceramic, Glass and unfired application

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 Decal Paper...
waterslide transfers  *see tutorials below

Screen Making Service

Gocco Lamps
Printing Screens

gocco and thermofax,
solar and yudu

Info: Unframed Screen

40 ml tubes

Alternative Inks
for YUDU, Gocco, Fabric and Other Printing

Info:Alternative Inks

Tools and Toys
some of our fav'rite t'ings

 Hand Stamp Kit

Embossing Folders:

dies and embossing, fits most machines

Shipping Info



Laser Print Decals 
for ceramic transfers

 Pulp Fiction
DIY create paper pulp for casting or sheet forming

Carving lino and rubber

Gelatin Plate Printing 
Super Easy monoprint technique


Choose a smooth glazed piece to work on. Keep in mind that your image will show up best on a light background. For best contact the surface should be  smooth and clean. Wipe the surface well with soapy water and rinse well. Use rubbing alcohol to remove any grease or oil. Wipe with a lint-free cloth, then lay out on work area ready for decal application.

 Print your original on a laser  printer.  Laser printer toner contains enough iron oxide to create a beautiful range of sepia to chocolate, depending on the ink deposit/value on the printout. Inkjets will not work; the ink beads up and does not penetrate the emulsion layer sufficiently.

Create Your Image

  • Create an image or text directly on the computer, and format it like you normally would print it – positive and right reading (so that the text reads correctly). OR
  • Use found images and text (from books, magazines, newspapers, or drawn) & scan into the computer. The image can be changed or altered in any way you like in Photoshop or another such program.
 As long as it's black and white, any image should work. Text and line art reproduce beautifully (think, old lithographic images). TIPS: Photographic work can sometimes be tricky. You may want to convert photographs to halftones so that there aren’t any vast expanses of dark black. For any images with large expanses of black, especially from photographic images, it is a good idea to adjust the brightness/contrast about 25%-30% brighter/lighter.

Arrange smaller images, text, whatever on the page with a small bit of space between images, 1/4” is good. Lots of images can go on the same page but you need to be able to trim them apart. Fit them on the page in any orientation, but leave a generous 1/4” border at the edge of the page all around.

  Set the printer's color preference  on "Grayscale>black cartridge only".  From media, choose 'film' or 'glossy photo paper'.

Dry and Coat the image

 Allow the printed decal paper to dry well, laid flat. Once it's dry, apply cover coat. We use a large squeegee and do the whole page at a time, first vertically and then horizontally. Allow sufficient drying time between coats - this depends on the heat and humidity. (On a sunny day here in Florida, that's fast!) You can speed it up with a fan or even a hair dryer on low, if careful not to hold it too close or for too long; the emulsion is a little heat sensitive. Again, let the decal paper dry well. Four hours is recommended, or leave it overnight if you can stand the suspense. If your prints are smearing on application, a couple light coats of clear sealer spray can be used before cover coat.


Place decal in a shallow pan or large bowl of quite warm water and let it soak for about 40-60 seconds until the printed emulsion layer will easily release from the backing paper. Test with a finger to feel if it is starting to slide.
Too little time soaking will make it difficult to slide the image off onto your ware;  too long, and it may release itself to float in the water, making it difficult to handle. Overlong soaking can also cause the adhesive backing to dissolve.

Hold the paperdecal parallel to the clay surface, with the slide-off edge touching closely, as flat to the surface as possible, face up over the desired space. Slide the backing paper out from underneath as you gently hold the slide-off edge in position on your piece with fingertips or the side of your palm.

The decal should still be slippery enough to move it gently into precise position on the ware.

Once it is in position, remove the excess water with a soft rubber squeegee, a soft brush (scaled to the size of the decal) or damp sponge. Pat gently from the center toward the outer edges until all excess water has been removed, smoothing out any wrinkles and air bubbles.

Working with multiples:
Work your way up to a number of sheets; it is difficult to get the timing right if you try to do too many sheets at once.
Use a large flat bowl or developing tray to soak sheets. Remove up to 5 decal sheets from the developing tray and place them face-up on a glass slab. Make your separating cuts with a sharp exacto blade so you can slide decals off the paper with a finger and apply each individually to the ware. Straighten each while it is still wet, then remove water as above.
When all of the decals from the top sheet have been removed from the backing paper, discard the backing paper and work with decals from the next sheet.


For best results, allow decorated ware to dry at least 24 hours before firing.

Laser decals contain simple iron oxide and generally flux nicely at cone 04 to cone 4 depending on your glaze. Very high fire china may not flux at this low temp. Test your pieces! Firing temp depends on your base glaze. We suggest you start by trying Cone 017 or 018 on most ceramics; porcelain "china" may require a slightly higher temperature to flux the surface glaze - Cone 016 or 015.

GLASS depends on the system glass you're using - between 1020-1080ºF, generally.

Under optimum conditions, the firing cycle should be slow and well ventilated, with the first 800ºF being the most critical. 
If using an automatic kiln, set firing cycle at the slowest setting. 
1st hour - Power switches on low. Lid cracked. Peep holes open.

  2nd hour - Power switches on medium. Lid cracked. Peep holes open.
  3rd hour - Power switches on high. Lid closed (if kiln has completely stopped smoking. If not,  leave lid cracked until it no longer smells or smokes).
 After kiln has shut off, leave lid closed for at least 2 hours for a "soak" period before you crack the lid to let the cool down continue.

Note: Bear in mind it really depends on the ware's base glaze. After the decal has been fired, you may add color using low-fire on-glaze china paints in separate firings. These are variable in firing temps. Some fade significantly at higher temperatures(usually Yellows, Oranges, and Flesh Tones). Earthtones will stand-up the best (Blues, Browns, and Blacks). Reds, Greens, Pinks and Purples will alter depending on the particular hue or manufacturer. Some stay true, some darken, some are mute. 


  • - Clean greenware as normal.
  •  - If your surface is rough you may prep the surface using a solution of ½ water and ½ white glue (e.g. Elmer's glue or  equal).
  • - Sponge or brush on two thin, even coats onto the area where the decal is to be applied. Allow to dry between each coat.
  •  - Apply a third coat and put decal in water so that it will be ready to apply (see "APPLICATION" Section).
  •  - Before the third coat is dry (i.e.,while it is still a little tacky), apply decal to prepared area.
  •  - Carefully blot decal with a paper towel or cloth to remove bubbles and smooth out decal. Do not squeegee.
  •  Allow to dry for 24 hours.
  • - Fire with your next greenware firing (cone 04-06).
  • - After firing, spray a matte or gloss sealer if desired, to protect from being soiled.

After decal has been applied to the piece as described earlier, allow to dry for several hours.
Using any common decoupage sealer (e.g., clear acrylic; poly-urethane; clear lacquer; or any name-brand decoupage product), brush on thin, even coats, ALLOWING PROPER DRYING TIME BETWEEN COATS. (This will usually be indicated on the side of the sealer's container.)
Note: On rough-textured surfaces we recommend a basecoat of sealer BEFORE applying the decal. Be sure to allow basecoat sufficient time to dry.

Note: Water-mount Decals possess a small amount of glue which helps them adhere to the surface they are being mounted on. (That soapy film you feel on the wet decal paper is the glue).These decals adhere very well on non-porous surfaces without further treatment. The smoother the surface, the better the adhesion. F'rinstance,glass, vinyl, plastic, soap, candles, enameled-finished metal all are excellent surfaces for water-slide decal application.


For the longest shelf life, prepared decals should be stored at room temperature - between 68-74ºF and normal humidity - about 60-65%. Use a separating sheet like acid free tracing paper between sheets if possible.

For long-term storage, ceramic decals / glass decals should be stored in a vertical position. Only those sheets intended for immediate use should be left lying flat.


Much of this information is courtesy of Beldecalco, modified by our own studio experience.

<3  Thank you Claudia! <3