How to Make Porcelain & Ceramic Decals: Easy DIYs at Your Fingertips

How to Make Ceramic Decals: Easy DIYs at Your Fingertips

I’m sure you’ve heard of decals for many other things - cars, windows, and the likes. But ceramic decals are also a thing! You can transfer specific designs, pictures, quotes, and numerous patterns on ceramic materials. Interestingly, ceramic decals offer a myriad of decorations for ceramic wares. Decals are simply transferred prints created out of ceramic materials. You are in for a magnificent sight when decals are correctly applied; and ceramic decals are no different. They add an elegant touch to ceramic pieces. These decals adorn cups, bowls, pots, wall tiles, and many more. Ceramic artists and owners of these pieces see the need to apply unique and personal decals that will enhance the look of their ceramic articles. Ceramic Decals are the most common type of fired-on decal. It is mostly of two kinds, the overglaze, and waterslide ceramic decal. 80% are Ceramic Decals for firing. Ceramic decal is the primary technique for decorating porcelain, stoneware, majolica, and a glass of various compositions. It consists of printing by using ceramic paints on special paper coated with a water-based adhesive. Basically, porcelain and ceramic decals are the same. With ceramic decals, one can transfer pre-printed images or designs to ceramic pieces, decorative wares, and glass containers. Ceramic decals are not new. Fun fact: They date back to the mid-18th century. In fact, this type of decal is the result of the need to produce uniform markings and decorations on lots of pieces. So, ceramic decals offer you the opportunity to produce and reproduce similar designs in different pieces/ Getting decals for ceramic is no difficult task. You can buy them or even make them yourselves. In pottery, decals are used for decoration. Printing is done in varnish, and specific colors are dusted on it. Subsequently, the colored side of the decal is placed on the pice, rubbed firmly, and the paper backing is rubbed off.

Why ceramic decals?

Decals help to improve the appearance of a ceramic piece. It helps to show your personality, brand, and style. Ceramic decals are pretty impressive. They make your cooking wares stand out beyond recognition. With ceramic decals, you can score a point or more with your dinner guest. Ceramic decals are also very useful to those into pottery and ceramic artistry. After all, adding appealing decals to creations can help boost sales. With decals, these artists will have a wide range of unique wares that are designed to the taste of their customers.

DIY Ceramic Decals

Are you tired of commercial decals? Do you want to create your unique designs with your favorite quote or picture or even recreate famous decorations like waterslide decals, rice paper decals, or carbon decals? Are you looking to have a stand-out ceramic piece? Do you want to experiment? If yes, you’re in the right place. You can take a break from commercial decals and fix your ceramic wares with decals that are unique to your taste. Here, we’ll give you pretty quick steps on how to make easy ceramic decals.

Things you’ll need

  • Overglaze colors
  • Decal paper or ceramic decal printer
  • Polyurethane Varnish
  • Scissors or razor

Step-by-step Guide

  1. First things first, once you have your colors, mix them properly to get your desired results.
  2. I’m sure while thinking of making your ceramic decals, you already have an idea of the pattern (s) you want to create. Do well to make that pattern, and place it on top of the decal paper.
  3. Now, use a squeegee to get the overglaze color mixture onto the pattern you created. Be sure to apply this evenly.
  4. Carefully pull the pattern away, then allow it to dry.
  5. Once the pattern is dry, apply polyurethane varnish on the whole surface. Note that the varnish creates a film on the decal paper and print.
  6. Now, you can cut out the decal to shape.
  7. Apply.

How to Apply Decals on Ceramic Materials

It’s one thing to make or source for decals commercially, it’s another thing to apply them correctly on your ceramic tiles, cups, plates, bowls, and the likes. Whether you make the decals yourself or you buy them, it is best you apply them properly. Now, what’s the necessary process of applying decals on ceramic? You'll learn the proper techniques to make regular decals as well as how to make transfer decals.

  1. First, do well to glaze fire your piece. To ensure that your decals show well, do well to use light-colored glaze. Before you glaze and bisque the part of the piece you desire, wipe the surface to remove dust, fingerprints, or stains.
  2. Go on to trim the decal, then soak in lukewarm water. You don’t have to wait for long before the paper backing on the decal starts to peel off from its edges. Your decal may curl, but after a little while, it will straighten, and you can peel it off the paper. To make sure it’s ready before you remove the backing, see if it slips easily. In case you’re not prepared for the decal just yet, rest it on a towel.
  3. Are you set? Proceed to moisten your ceramic piece. Now, lay an edge of the decal on your piece. Slide the paper backing away from the sticker, leaving the decal just right there.
  4. Once that’s done, remove the air and water that’s beneath the decal. Do well to use a damp sponge as you dab the surface. Blot dry with paper towels; do well to work the bubbles out the sides. If there are air bubbles trapped underneath the decal, you’ll risk the chance of your decal sticking. Just in case you missed a bubble and the decal is dry, prick with a pin, drop some water over it, and smoothen the surface.
  5. Do well to refire your ceramic piece to about Cone 015. This is equivalent to 1450 degrees F. You can achieve this temperature in your kiln. If you don’t have a kiln, relax. You can still use decals without it. After you’ve successfully placed the decal on your piece, cover with a spray sealer. If your piece is painted with acrylic, use a sealer then transfer paper to move the decal to the ceramic piece.

Most times, it is best to use mix glazes and pigments, to achieve specific colors.  While firing the decoration on the ceramic or glass, the glaze melts and builds upon the surface of the product. This creates a permanent bond between the design and the surface.

Extra tips:

  1. Whether you’re buying a decal or going with our easy DIY guide on how to make one, have this at the back of your mind. Many decals are not dinnerware safe. Most of them have lead and other elements that may be harmful. So, do well to check if they are safe. You should also apply decals only on the outer part of any ceramic piece used for cooking, drinking or eating.
  2. To apply your decal the right way, ensure that you trim any excess away. Trimming makes the decal look a lot more presentable and professional. It is usually difficult to trim larger stickers, but that should not be an excuse. Trimming will enhance the lines and curves and makes it look aesthetically pleasing.

Well, there you have it. You can get a decal and fix it yourself, or you can make your ceramic decals unique to you and your taste. I’m sure our informative DIY will come in handy! If you want to save the headache and order online then check out these amazing decals.


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