Volume 1: Waterslide Decals

Crafting is an art form - a sweet mix of creativity, skill and a little patience.

The best part about crafting is the endless possibilities, the various methods that exist and challenge to create something that is unique. 

Try Something New!

Are you tired of "personalizing" a tumbler with just a name?

Have you thought about how you can add some colour to your tumblers?

Want to start making epoxy tumblers?

Not quite ready to dive into the amazing but expensive world of sublimation?

Well, let me introduce you to the wonderful world of waterslide decals!

They are applied just like temporary tattoos, but are made to last. Once properly applied and completely dry, the waterslide transfers are permanent. How amazing is that?

Customers are going to SLIDE into your DMs, once you showcase this amazing technique into your product lineup because they will love the unlimited possibilities.The best part? They can be applied to ANY hard, smooth surface - glass, ceramic, stainless steel and even wood!

Follow me and let's make a tumbler with a waterslide decal.

Here is a list of products and equipment you need to get started:

  1. Inkjet Printer - I used my trusty HP Envy 7640. It's so versatile! Not sure if you can even buy one anymore. It may be an ancient relic like me.
  2. Waterslide Paper - I used the We R Memory Keepers® Spin It™ Waterslide Paper.
  3. Cricut, other cutting machine or sharp scissors
  4. Acrylic Spray Sealer - I used Krylon Clear Coat Sealer.
  5. Stainless Steel Tumbler - Any size, any colour. I used the glitter tumblers from Crafty Corner Supplies for added bling.

I was inspired to make a waterslide tumbler as a way to showcase our amazing glitter tumblers. These tumblers aren't just for customizing with sublimation or vinyl. They can be personalized with waterslide decals too. Let me show you how!

The best part about our glitter tumblers is that there is already the perfect amount of shimmer and shine that can be used to peek through and enhance your design. No additional glitter needed.

Choose a Design

I chose a colourful pineapple design from Design Bundles. It's fun, colourful and  screams summer.

But, I didn't stop there. To give my tumbler even more personality, I created a vinyl decal in Cricut design space to complement the pineapple design. It said something a little different from the typical "wear a crown" pineapple quote...

... Sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, always ready for happy hour

I'm not sure we're still talking about the pineapple anymore, but we won't focus on that. After all, I did say the tumbler was personalized. That doesn't mean I have to put MY, I mean "a" name on it.

The black boxed font stands out and contrasts the glitter tumbler perfectly. It's bold. Just like me.

Print Your Water Slide

After creating and sizing your design, prepare it to "print and cut" on your Cricut.

For simplicity, this pineapple file was in PNG format, so no further steps were required in order to make the image print ready. 

However, if necessary, make sure that your flatten your image in Design Space to make sure it prints properly and the machine only cuts around it. Nothing worse than missing a step, wasting supplies and having to start over. Don't worry, it happens to everyone.

Load the waterslide paper in your printer's paper tray so it prints on the glossy side. With my printer, I inserted the paper face down in the tray, but each printer is different. Get to know your printer so you save ink and paper and don't have to %@&!-ing start over.

Before I printed, I selected "print using system dialogue" in Design Space. This allows you to change your printer settings depending on the type of paper that you are using. It also allows you to adjust any other print settings to ensure you get the perfect print for your project.I recommend this step for any Cricut print and cut project.

For this project I selected the following settings:

  • Bleed: OFF
  • Mirror: ON
  • Paper Type: Glossy inkjet paper
  • Image Quality: BEST
  • Paper Size: A4

Cut Your Decal

The next step was to get it ready to cut on my Cricut. Before I pressed the glowing button on my machine to watch my machine do it's magic, I lined it up on my green standard grip Cricut mat, set my machine to Medium Cardstock and selected "more presssure".

Crafty confession: I ALWAYS watch my projects cut. It obviously doesn't make a difference, or need to be supervised but it's just so satisfying to watch the machine do its thing and see my idea slowly come to life.


Look how cute it is! I love it already and can't wait to get it ready for its permanent home.

If you don't have a Cricut or other cutting machine you can also cut around your image with a pair of sharp scissors. Simply cut as close to the image as possible to eliminate any unnecessary white space around the design.

Now that our waterslide decal is printed and cut, it needs to be prepared for the next step - application.

Seal Your Decal**

To make sure that the colours stay vibrant and the decal can transfer easily to the smooth surface of our tumbler, it's time to clear coat it. Make sure that you do this in a well ventilated area.

I took it outside and sprayed the entire cut image with 3 generous coats of Krylon Crystal Clear, but any acrylic clear coat spray will work.

Let the decal dry for about 20 minutes between coats. While you are waiting, now is a great time to put your feet up, cuddle with your furry friend or make a cup of tea or coffee. That's definitely better than watching clear coat sealer dry. 

Applying Your Water Slide Decal

Once your decal is completely dry and no longer tacky and you have tested your patience by waiting the alloted amount of time, it's time to get ready for the grande finale.

  1. Fill up a container with warm water. The container should be large and deep enough to completely submerge your decal.
  2. Place the container on a solid, level surface like a kitchen counter.
  3. Put the decal in the container and fully submerse it in the water.

The decal will start to curl as it gets ready to release the backing paper. This is a good sign!

Soak the decal in the warm water for about 60-90 seconds depending on the size of your decal.

Let it do its thing, but make sure that the edges do not touch and stick to each other so the design is not ruined. Soak decal, soak!

As your decal is soaking, prep the area of the tumbler that you want to transfer it to by wetting it generously with water. You can use a paper towel, a clean sponge or your hands to do this. You can also spray a little bit of Windex on the tumbler to make sure that the surface is wet.

Ensuring that the surface of the tumbler is completely saturated before you apply your design, allows the decal to release from the backing paper easily and move around freely while you position it place. 

Take the decal out of the water and position it on the tumbler. This step is patience test #2. Steady hands are also required.

Slowly and carefully position the decal on the tumbler. Once it's where you want it to be, slowly remove the paper backing with one hand and hold the decal in one corner with your other hand. The paper should easily slide off the decal and the decal should stay in place. You can add more water to move it around or adjust it as required.

Then gently dab it with a damp paper towel to ensure it has fully adhered to the tumbler and any bubbles, folds and excess water is removed.

Admire Your Work. You Did It!

Isn't it lovely? Now you need to let your tumbler dry.

 Waterslide Tumbler

In about 24-48 hours, you can complete the tumbler by putting it on a cup turner and coating it with epoxy or glitter.

If you're not going down the epoxy route, you can set the waterslide decal by putting your tumbler into an oven to cure.

Once my decal was dry, I chose to take my customization on a different and less travelled route by using a different method.

What is this crafty method you ask? The best, semi-secret way to make stunning, one-of a kind tumblers!

Want to know more? Stay tuned for Volume 2. You'll never look at this kitchen necessity the same way again. You will want to use it to make all the things! Trust me.

**Please Note: Some tumbler artists seal their water slide paper before they cut it, but I don't recommend doing that if you plan to cut your decal with your cutting machine. The glue may compromise your blade and affect the overall operation of your machine.

If you are using scissors instead of a cutting machine, then go ahead and seal first and cut second. You do you.

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