Decal paper, also known as waterslide paper or sticker paper, is a type of water resistant paper that allows the transfer of printed designs, images, and text onto various surfaces. You can make temporary tattoos, stickers, labels branding and even nail art. It is commonly used for crafting, DIY projects, model making, and other decorative applications.
"Decal" comes from the French word "decalcomanie", from a time when paper was being stuck down to surfaces with the help of glue, way before the invention of the world wide web, or desktop printers. Decal Paper has come a far way since then, and is recognized for it's convenience as being printer friendly for any office or home printer and suitable for nearly any art project.
The origins of decal paper can be traced back to the 18th century, when it was first used for ceramic decoration. However, it was not until the 20th century that decal paper became widely used for other applications such as model making and automotive customization. With the development of inkjet and laser printers, decal paper has become more accessible to the general public, allowing for more personalized designs.
Decal Paper comes in various types and finishes, we'll review the differences to assist you in making an informed purchase decision.
- Clear: Essentially a printable transparent sticker, with almost invisible edges depending on the chosen thickness. Great for light colored surfaces.
- White: Resembles traditional sticker paper with white edges, and great for surfaces that are too dark if you don't have a white toner printer.
- Film-Free: Transfers the printed ink, leaving behind no film. Dishwasher-safer and far more durable. Provides a professional quality decal.
Inkjet and Laser types are separately made for corresponding printer types, to improve the quality of the products and to make it easier for customers to achieve great results. Inkjet is water soluble, but Laser color particles are transferred using static and aren't water soluble, this leads to different manufacturing methods. As a result, Laser type doesn't require a sealing spray to coat the ink.
"Waterslide" (or "water slide"), also known as "wasserschiebefolie" in German, refers to the application method where you wet the decal, apply it to a surface, and remove the backing by sliding it out from underneath. This method is loved by many as it allows for readjusting the decal so that the position is perfect before it starts to set. This is extremely useful for round objects. It removes the hassle that is associated with traditional tape-like sticker paper getting stuck in the wrong place during application.
"Rub-Off" (or "rub-on") refers to the traditional decal paper type that doesn't require water, where pressing down on the decal transfers the ink. It's exclusively made for Inkjet printers only because Laser printed images are prone to cracking. It's great for porous and uneven surfaces, such as leather.
"Film-Free" is a newly innovated and successful decal paper type that allows for professional quality printed decal transfers, without the leftover film that decal paper is typically known for. Made for Laser printers only, as Inkjet is too water soluble. It's also far more durable and dishwasher-safe, these features are important for businesses decorating their kitchenware or drinkware. It comes in 3 types, allowing for adhesion to any surface.
- Type A: For smooth, non-porous surfaces.
- Type B: For porous and uneven surfaces.
- Type M: Strong adhesion to all surfaces.
"Tattoo Paper" this product can vary between brands, and vary in quality. Some Tattoo Papers transfer ink to the skin by itself, which may look good, until it starts to smudge and dissolve in water even from the slightest bit of sweat. Our product has been developed to solve these problems. The image is housed inside two incredibly thin layers, a film and an adhesive membrane. This creates a far more durable yet still flexible tattoo that's both water resistant and can last 3-4 full days, up to 2 weeks under the right conditions. With the help of baby powder, you can mattify the tattoo as much as you wish.
The application of decal paper typically involves printing a design onto the paper, cutting it out, and then transferring it onto the desired surface using the method unique to the decal paper you're using. Waterslide requires water and allows for a much easier transfer. Once dry, is fully water resistant.
Decals already applied to surfaces are completely fine. However, unused decal paper does have an expiry date for the backing, and corresponds to how strong the adhesion will be. If past the expiry date or left exposed to air for too long, the removable backing degrades and the adhesion is weakened leading to a far less water resistant decal, potentially falling off in humidity. Therefore you should always check the expiry date before you apply your decal paper to any surface.
Typically Inkjet has a shelf life of 1 year. Laser has a shelf life of 5 years.
Decal paper is widely used in crafting, DIY projects, and model making. It is also used for automotive customization, nail art, temporary tattoos, and personalized gifts. Decal paper can be used to create custom designs for a variety of applications, from branding and marketing to home decor and personal accessories.
It's popular for creating meaningful gifts that are truly unique. You can either add a finishing touch to your creation, or affordably piece together a nice mug with a photo of a happy memory. Great for Weddings, baby showers, Anniversaries, Valentine's Day, a gift for a friend or loved one.
In conclusion, decal paper is a versatile and accessible material that has a wide range of applications. Its popularity continues to grow as more people discover its potential for customization and creativity. It's already used by many DIY enthusiasts and business, likely already used in your nearest café.