In this waterslide decal tutorial, I will show you how to remove the background off of any image, recommend the best waterslide decal paper and provide tips on how to make the most out of your waterslide decal image using this puppy tumbler example.
I made this mug the other day for our family friends. I thought the phrase “ruff life” was quite fitting for dear little Milo here given he probably lives the most pampered puppy life I’ve ever known.
A little irony always makes your coffee taste better.
I was going to make a pillow for Milo as well but didn’t get around to it so it will have to be another project for some other day.
In the meantime, I’d like to share some of the graphics I designed but haven’t turned into a project yet with all of you.
These dog lover SVGs are all free and available in my resource library.
Materials for DIY Waterslide Decal
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Waterslide Paper – There are two broad types, Waterslide paper for Inkjet Printers and Waterslide paper for Laser Printers. I used the Laser Printer paper because I didn’t want to add a sealant to my mug which is something you have to do to make the Inkjet ink waterproof.
Scissors or Cutting Machine – Most waterslide paper comes with a clear background so there’s no need to be super precise with cutting the outline. However, if you are making a bunch and want to save yourself blisters from too much scissor usage, I would recommend the Cricut which is what I use. Here are a few recommendations on which Cricut Machine is best for Beginners.
Base Material – Waterslide paper is actually just a really thin sheet of paper so it works best on smooth surfaces that you can wet like ceramic, plastic or glass. It also works on smoother wood surfaces. Here’s a super affordable set of basic white mugs from Amazon.
Sealant (for Inkjet printing) – Any acrylic sealer like this Mod Podge Clear Sealer will work.
How to remove the background off of the waterslide image
There are a couple of reasons you might want to remove the background from your image. One, it saves a lot of ink. Secondly, if you are cutting the image on your cutting machine, it makes for a more precise outline around the subject of interest.
If you image has a simple, clean background, you can most likely just use the native software available for your cutting machine like Cricut Design Space.
For more business backgrounds, I use Clipping Magic, a browser-based automated background remover.
It is way more accurate then all the other available software out there and the best part is it’s all automated. You just upload your image and it just automatically removes the background without any additional work.
How to make personalized mugs at home
This really doesn’t get any easier.
First, print your designs and gather the rest of your supplies.
In this example, I decided to make the text out of black vinyl instead of the waterslide paper. Be sure to apply the non-waterslide pieces first as your waterslide paper will need a few hours to dry.
I then soak each cut out for about 30 seconds in some water. I then place it image side down on the surface. The paper backing should slide right off. At this point, I would smooth out any air bubbles in the print out part left and make minor adjustments sliding it in place.
When printing the image, be sure to mirror the image as in flip it along a vertical axis.
After the air bubbles are out and it is in position, let it dry, it will take 2-3 hours depending on your climate.
If you used an inkjet printer, be sure to seal the image after it has dried completely.