Sunday, March 27, 2011

I made my own water decals!

Hi everyone! I'm really excited to show you something today. I made my own water decals! I'm awfully excited that it turned out right, and I can't wait to try out the different water slide decal papers that I got. 

Anyway as a base for my water decals, I used a light yellow polish from Joe Fresh. I can't seem to find the name on the bottle, so I just called it Light Yellow. 

I'm not a big fan of this yellow, it's a little greyed-out and dusty, which I dislike. I want a pure light/pastel yellow polish, any recommendations? 

On to the water decals, I made them by buying waterslide decal paper on ebay, and using acrylic spray. The seller on ebay was incredibly nice, I had to buy 10 sheets, but he/she allowed me to buy a mix of different kinds- inkjet hard clear, inkjet pliable clear, inkjet hard white, laserjet hard white, and most excitingly, glow in the dark! 

Here's a shot of the glow in the dark one: 

I put my hand on the paper and put it under light, so when I turn off the lights and remove my hand, the imprint can be seen! It's amazingly glowy, put directly under my table lights and then turning off the lights creates this incredibly bright glow! It's almost a light source by itself. 

Anyway I basically put in a bunch of images into a powerpoint slide, then printed it out on the waterslide decal paper. I had to be careful that the images I printed were small enough for my nail, and looking at them now, I think I can make them bigger next time. I printed a bunch of countries' rugby logos, many Disney images, and some dance silhouettes, which I will show you soon. 

For now, I have Winnie the Pooh! I think you should be able to recognize the characters, but if you can't, from thumb to pinkie I have Owl, Pooh, Gopher, Rabbit and Tigger!

And on this other hand, from thumb to pinky, I have Heffalump, Eyeore, Kanga, Roo, and Piglet!

These home made water decals are very different from the ones you get in stores. Firstly, waterslide decal paper is basically a giant water decal. After printing out a sheet of images, I had to cut out the images individually and use an exacto knife to carefully cut as close to the images as possible so as not to leave a wide empty border. I believe the store bought ones usually have some special machine which prints the water decals with a very slight outline only. As you can see on mine, the edges aren't that smooth and the outline of the images is quite a large one.

Secondly, the water decal sheet had to be sprayed quite a couple of times with acrylic spray, which is rather poisonous according to the label, but has a smell I rather like, so that's horribly bad for my health. It isn't that cheap either, I got mine for $15.90 at Art Friend, and I used about 7 coats for this water decal. The can felt substantially lighter, and I really hope it can be used for at least 3 more sheets of water decals. Furthermore, when I left my paper outside the house to dry, 3 ants crawled onto the paper and pretty much got stuck. One of them got stuck on top of a picture of Prince Charming, and despite me trying to skillfully use my exacto knife to cut out the ant's body, bits still remain, so I guess I can't use that particular decal.

Thirdly, images used must be sharp and very pigmented. Some of my images look okay on the paper, but not on the nail as they're really faint. I am also limited by my printer, because even though I have very high resolution images, my printer cannot print them that nicely because the images are really very small, and it's just a home printer and not a particularly special one at that. I guess a printer with a higher dpi would present better images, but I'm pretty happy with what I have at the moment.

On the other hand, it's great making my own water decals! I love being able to put images which I like, shaping them to my own nails so they're not too wide or big, and I just love the flexibility of customizing my own water decals. Okay I'm repeating myself, but I'm just so happy because this didn't screw up!

Anyway, I'll probably be using these water decals for the next few manicures, so that's something to look forward to! My stomach's so happy now, I had awesome dim sum for dinner, and I'm off to do some project work. I hope you have a good week ahead, I know mine will be merely mediocre!


  1. Looks difficult..
    But I love the result!!

  2. AWESOME! Cheryl!!! ahhh :D yay for u! and i love the whole winnie the pooh series!!! <3 cant wait to see more from u :)

  3. Wow, this is so creative! I'm really impressed you figured out how to do this...and I love the Winnie the Poo them. So cute!

  4. Wow, that's quite a project--thanks for all the details on how you did it!

  5. Thank you ladies! It's really not that difficult, give it a shot if you really want to make your own water decals too. I'll be more than happy to share tips!

  6. That is simple awesome!! :D Kudos to you for figuring this one out!

  7. I think its wonderful practice to design nail decals because it provides many choices to design and get printed the decals. When it comes to expertise to design it then nobody should fear because it does not require to have professional experience. Its about how much exposure you have.