How to Use Water Slide Paper on a Ceramic Mug

How to Use Water Slide Paper on a Ceramic Mug main article image
Posted on January 19, 2022 by Jennifer Carroll

It seems like there are endless ways to be creative. I’m excited about that! I need inspiration almost on a daily basis and, thankfully, there are endless sources. I like to look at Pinterest, YouTube, and décor websites for ideas.

Lately, I’ve been seeing so many DIY projects using waterslide paper. I have my heart set on a sublimation printer because I think I could create a lot of products if I had one. I like the high-end look that sublimation helps achieve. In the meantime, I’m always looking for new ways to do things. I have been wanting to add ceramic coffee mugs to my inventory and last week I was lucky enough to come across a whole case of white ceramic coffee mugs at my favorite thrift store. I paid just a couple of bucks and so I didn’t mind using them to experiment.

I ordered the paper I used from Amazon. The paper that had the best reviews was the Hiipoo brand so that’s the one I purchased. It comes in different colors. Since I wanted to try the product on white ceramic, I ordered clear paper. I’m going to try the white paper next. If you do not mind a white border around your image, the white paper is what you will need to apply to darker objects.

To prepare, I took the time to watch a few videos on the subject. I have attached one from a favorite creator here so that you will have the same advantage.

Materials Needed:

  • Waterslide paper of your choice
  • White Coffee Mug
  • Acrylic Sealer
  • Water
  • Oven (optional)

The Process:

The first thing you should do is prepare your mug by washing it with hot soapy water. Then, to make sure there is no oil or grease on the surface, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol.

My next step was to get on my computer and prepare the image to place on my mug. I measured the space I wanted to cover on the mug, and sized the image appropriately. In order to not waste paper, I copied and pasted the image to fill the sheet. You will need to then adjust the print quality to the highest setting and print the image on the glossy side of the paper.

After you’ve printed your image(s), the ink needs to be sealed. Almost any time you craft using an inkjet printer, the ink will need to be sealed. I used Mod Podge Acrylic sealer, but there are several brands out there to try.

Spray your image three times with the sealant, letting it dry completely between coats. I found that letting it dry overnight was the best option. The ink may bleed if the paper is used too soon.

When I was sure the sealant was dry, I cut the images apart leaving a 1/8 inch border. I then filled a shallow bowl with lukewarm water and placed the first image in the bowl. As per the instructions, I let it soak for about one minute. In the meantime, I sprinkled my mug with a little water so that the paper would slide like it is supposed to. To test to see if the paper was ready, I rubbed it between my thumb and forefinger. It slid, so I knew it was ready.

Since most people are right-handed, I’m placing my decal to the left of the handle. That way every time I take a sip of my coffee, I see the artwork.

To position my mug to receive the image, I laid it flat. To keep my mug from rolling, I used a towel that I rolled on both ends. I placed the mug in the center so it would stay put while I worked. I placed the paper down on one side, securing it with my thumb, then pulled the backing off with my other thumb and forefinger. You have a little time to adjust your image and make sure it is straight at this point, just keep the water handy. When my image was exactly like I wanted it to be, I used my finger to make sure it was flat and that all the water was pushed out from under it. Just be gentle so your paper doesn’t tear.

The instructions recommended that ceramic pieces dry in the oven. I set the temperature at 230 degrees and placed my mugs on a baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes. Let your ceramic items cool completely before you handle them.

I absolutely love how my ceramic coffee mugs turned out! It is a simple process and I can make as many as I have materials for with supplies I have in my crafting stash. I’m looking forward to offering these at our next event.

If you try this project and fall in love with the results, as I did, there are so many other surfaces you can work with. I just did a quick search and I found so many more ideas. Ceramic coasters, candles, glasses, and picture frames are a few that piqued my interest.

Waterslide paper is not dishwasher safe. I’ll include a little tag that says “Handwash Only” on the mugs that I sell or give as gifts.

Speaking of gifts – Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Grab a white ceramic mug (they sell several types at The Dollar Tree), order some waterslide paper, and get busy! I know you can find the perfect graphic to use right here on Creative Fabrica.

I hope you love your results as much as I did. I’ll keep looking for ideas to try and I’m sure you will too. Until next time – happy crafting!

Please follow me on Facebook and at The Barnyard Boutique to see my latest creations!

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