Sep 25 2012

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (& Free Printable!)

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (Free Printable!)

Hello, lovelies! Sorry for the lack of new posts last week – I’ve been working like a headless chicken (I know, not an ideal way to work). But hey, I’m back, and back with the printable nail decal data and tutorial I promised you a while back!

So… ready for the fun?

You’ll need:

  • clear waterslide decal paper (I got mine here)
  • printable decal design (click to download)
  • inkjet printer
  • bowl of water
  • topcoat
  • tweezers


1) If you are using A4 decal paper like me, cut them into post card sizes.

2) Click here to download the decal design, then print it our in post card size.

3) Apply nail polish to your nails.

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (Free Printable!)t1

4) If you are using decal papers that need to have clear varnish sprayed on before putting it into water, apply a thin coat of topcoat. Set aside until topcoat dries. Don’t use Seche Vite for this step otherwise the decal will peel off!

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (Free Printable!) t2

5) Cut the decal into the size and shape you want.

6) Dip the decal in water for 30 – 40 seconds.

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (Free Printable!) t4

7) Your decal is ready if the clear sheet slides off easily from the backing sheet. If not, put it back in water for a bit longer.

8) Using tweezers, place the decal on your nail. You can slide and readjust the decal while it’s wet, so no need to rush – carefully push the air out with your fingers.

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (Free Printable!)t6

9) When the decal is completely dry, seal the decal with topcoat. Trim the excess decal if necessary. Again, don’t use Seche Vite for this step! You can use Seche Vite on top of other brand’s top coat, but not directly below or above decals (otherwise decals peel off easily).

10) You can place other decals on top as well. And see? You can’t see the outlines of decals if you take the air out properly :)

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (Free Printable!) 2

Applying the decals is much easier than it sounds, and I really hope I tempted you enough to try it :) Oh, and one more tips from me – if you are to use coloured decals (like the ones on my thumb), use pale/soft colour polishes as the base (you see, the decal is clear so that the strong base colour could ‘kill’ the decal’s colour).

Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (Free Printable!) 3

I love these simple diamond and triangle decals – so easy to add some bling!

I’m planning to make some more decal design – any suggestions? I’m thinking Halloween theme, but not sure what sort of tone I should go for yet (ie, realistic or cartoon-ish). Anyways, hope you enjoyed the tutorial and the printable!


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25 Commnents to “Nail Art Tutorial: Waterslide Decal (& Free Printable!)”

  1. Do these decal pages come with the clear protective sheet like you would see when you buy store bought decals? If I wanted to make decals and give them to friends, I want to know if I would need to buy that separately.

  2. Have you ever use your own design? If yes,what kind of format picture did you use? JPG or PNG?


  3. Hi Indhu! As I explain at instruction step 1&2, please print out the data in post card size. This way you don’t need to resize the data. If your decal paper is A4 size, simply cut it to fit post card size (please check your printer’s setting for exact post card size). Hope this helps!

  4. Why dont you try with kawaii images like hello kitty rilakkuma,my melody,little twin stars etc…

  5. Hey hi
    Thank for sharing ur ideas
    I have few questions
    I have decal paper,primer and even the designs but I dunno how to resize nd resemble it.
    Do I need to use special software or it is better to use with Microsoft word?
    Looking forward for your reply.
    Thank you
    Indhu Thiyagu.

  6. Hi I would love to try the decals, but my country has limited nailart stuff, like the decal paper. I will try getting it on Amazon. An thanks for sharing. I love the styles

  7. Hi there

    I’m hoping to get your opinion on something. I’d like to try making my own full nail wraps, like the jamberry ones, with white printable vinyl and digital scrap booking paper and template on Photoshop. Do u think this would work? Just curious :). Thanks!

  8. Thanks for this! :D But decal papers are clear and white. Which do you prefer? clear or white? and any inkjet printer would do? Thanks! :)

  9. I just love your tutorial, I’ve made my own but I find that the decal peels at the sides. Have you tried it directly to your nails or only on press on nails? And do you wait for the base coat to dry or keep it sticky so it has something to adhere to? Sorry for all the questions!

  10. What if I want this design and happen to not carry decal sheets!!!??? Please help thanks!!!!!(:

  11. Love your designs. I am looking for a template that I can populate with my own designs that would totally cover my nail, rather than small pieces. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  12. Hello Mel! Please use clear waterslide decal paper instead of normal printing paper :)

  13. Hello! I really like this! Can you print this out with any printing paper?

  14. Hello Shana! No, I’m afraid I haven’t tried spray sealer before :)

  15. Have you tried spray sealer (krylon) instead of the top coat and if so, does it work well?

  16. Hello Olivia! It doesn’t have to be A4 (I cut mine into postcard sizes anyway) but it HAS TO be decal paper. Hope you find decal papers easy enough :)

  17. do you have to use A4 decal paper, or will any printer paper work?
    i have been dying to try these out – these designs are really neat !

  18. Hello Paige! You can use any topcoat except Seche Vite. As I explained in the tutorial, you can use Seche Vite on top of other brand’s top coat, but not directly below or above decals (otherwise decals peel off easily).

  19. which topcoat do you use for this?

  20. I’m glad that you like the design, Ana! Also, thanks so much for leaving so many kind comments, too!!! You’re awesome :D

  21. These are wonderful an I’m so thankful for them.

    Okay, I promise I’ll stop commenting now.

  22. Thanks Erika, and yap, I love these tiny triangles on my thumb, too :)

  23. Thanks Tanuki, my head is firmly attached to my head now :D And hope you give decal a go – I can imagine you rocking it!!

  24. Your thumb nail design is my favourite!

  25. This is indeed so tempting! I will definitely give it a try when I have enough time to let myself make a big mess on a table – yes it tends to happen every time I try something new…lol Thanks so much for this tutorial and the printable Emi:) Hope you have got your head back ok and are having a good week!;)

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