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How to use Film-Free Decal Paper

How to use Film-Free Decal Paper



Film-Free Waterslide Decal Paper, also available in Metallic, is our popular "ink only" transfer for Laser Printers. It allows you to transfer your designs onto any smooth surface, with no remaining film, unlike traditional decal paper. Peel away the film, and you are left with just the ink, with a durable and dishwasher-safe film-free finish. Whether you're a business owner looking to brand your kitchenware, or an enthusiast looking to add the perfect finishing touch to your project, film-free decal paper is a popular solution with no expensive equipment required.

Suitable for endless surfaces such as Wood, Metal, Glass, Ceramic, Plastic, Leather. In this guide we will try to cover as many surfaces as possible.

It is possible to dry naturally but an oven is required for a dishwasher-safe finish.


This product is part of our Waterslide range, meaning you can adjust the position of the decal by sliding it around on the surface before pressing it down. This is a game changer for miniatures and other projects that require precision, allowing you to get the perfect alignment for your transfers. No more sticky hassle.




Materials Needed:

  • Laser Printer
  • W1+ / W2 Glue.
  • Paint Brush.
  • Scissors, Craft Knife or Cutting Machine.
  • Squeegee, Tissue or Popsicle.
  • Lukewarm Water.
  • Blow Dryer, Microwave, Oven or suitable weather.


NOTE: Oven required for dishwasher-safe finish.


    Step 1: Mirror


    Film-Free Decal Paper is applied face down, so you may want to mirror your images before printing, especially if your images contain text.

    Photoshop:    Image > Image Rotation > Flip Canvas
    Illustrator:    Object > Transform > Reflect
    GIMP:    Image > Transform > Flip Horitzontally
    Krita:    Image > Mirror Image Horizontally


      Alternatively, you can mirror the file in your printer settings.


      Step 2: Print



      Make sure your Laser Printer Settings have been set accordingly:


      PAPER TYPE: Label Paper (175g or more) / Thick Paper / Decal Paper.

      DPI: 600 or above. We recommend higher DPI for miniatures / dioramas.

      Maximum Photo Resolution.


      We advise you to use the manual feed in your printer (not the paper tray).

      Print on the glossy side of the decal paper.


      Step 3: Cut:


      Cut out the image leaving 3-5mm margin.
      You can use Scissors, a Craft Knife, or Cutting Machine.


      You won't see the edge of your cutouts, Film-Free Decal Paper is removed at the end of the process, leaving behind cured ink.


      Step 4: Apply W1+ / W2 Glue

      Please make sure the surface you are applying to is clean and free of any oils or dirt which could affect the transfer.



      Shake the glue, and apply an even coating of glue where the image will be placed.
      More glue is better. Ensure there is no missed areas where the image is being applied.


      This glue is specially formulated for Film-Free Decal Paper. It's available in two options:


      • W1+ for smooth, hard surfaces. Such as Glass, Ceramics.
      • W2 for porous and rough surfaces. Such as Wood, Leather.


      W1+ formula allows you to also use the glue as a protective coating to maximise the durability of the transferred image.


      Step 5: Submerge the decal


      Submerge in lukewarm water until the image has separated from the backing paper.
      You'll know it's ready if the two layers glide between your fingers. Don't leave in the water for too long as this can ruin the decal.



      The backing is meant to slide, but do not take off the backing yet.


      Step 6: Place the decal face down


      Place the decal face down against the surface (where the glue was applied), and gently slide off the backing paper.




      You can now slide around the decal on the surface gently until you are satisfied with the position, then press down to start securing the image.


      Step 7: Squeegee out excess moisture

      Once the decal is in the desired position, gently remove any excess moisture by using a squeegee. A tissue is useful for wiping away excess water.



      You can gradually press down harder to squeeze out any excess moisture, while the adhesion starts to secure the image.

      The decal will start to look dry if done correctly.


      We strongly recommend using our squeegee or similar, as it has a large contact area, ideal for Waterslide Decals.


      Step 8: Curing


      Our glues can be heated or naturally dried. We always recommend oven curing for ultimate durability.
      Please choose the best drying method for your surface material.


      The film is removed in the next step.



      Heat Curing Options:

      Oven cure is necessary for dishwasher-safe durability and adhesion.

      These guidelines are based on 1-2 ceramic mugs. Your curing times may vary depending on quantity, size and heat conductivity of the material.


      Hair Dryer: 2~3 mins, start with low heat.

      Microwave: 3~4 mins, 1 object at a time.

      Oven: 5 mins in preheated oven at around 150°C (300°F), or 10 mins at around 100°C~120°C (212°F~248°F).


      Natural Dry:

      Materials that can't withstand heat cure require natural drying.


      Dry naturally in warm weather. 25°C (77°F) or higher for a minimum of 4 hours.

      Optional: Dry longer to achieve better results.


      Step 9: Peel away the Film


      Once completely dry, carefully peel off the final film with fingertips or a craft knife.

      Be careful not to make scratches as the transferred image is still weak.



      Clean off any remaining glue with tissues or a cloth, dabbed in alcohol.

      Ink does not dissolve in alcohol but scrubbing too hard can damage the image.


      Step 10: Second Cure (Optional)

      This step is completely optional but we recommend it to maximise durability.



      Heating in the oven at 180°C~250°C (356°F~482°F) for 10~20 mins will strengthen the decal even further. Otherwise the ink may remain weak as it hardens over time.




      If you oven cured your Film-Free Decal, then it will be dishwasher-safe. However to further improve the durability, we recommend adding a protective coating. Especially for restaurants where dishes are constantly changing temperature and being washed multiple times a day.



      How can I maximise longevity and durability?

      We recommend choosing an appropriate finish for your project, such as W1 Top Coat, Epoxy Resin, Clear Acrylic Sealant, Mod Podge, Clear Polyurethane Spray, Ceramic Glaze. This will protect your decal and allows you to make the finish glossier or more mattified.


      How can I print white?

      Domestic Printers are designed to print onto white paper, as such, white ink isn't included. You may need to use a White Toner Laser Printer, usually available at your nearest printing service.


      How can I improve the visibility on dark surfaces?

      600 DPI (Dots Per Inch) is plentyful even for transfering onto black ceramic. However if you want even richer colors and detail, a higher DPI printer will pack more pigment into an area with fewer gaps between the toner (dots). This is often unnecessary unless working on very tiny transfers (miniatures and dioramas), however is noticible side by side.


      I made a mistake, how can I remove the transfer?

      To remove the Film-Free decal, you will require acetone.
      For this reaason, keep acetone away from the decal.
      As you're aware we used alcohol to remove excess glue after the first cure. The finished trransfer is completely safe around alcohol.


      Film-Free Waterslide Decal Paper Structure

      If you have any questions, difficulties or need some advice, feel free to contact us. We'll be more than happy to help.