Friday, February 25, 2011

Trying Out Decals

A couple years ago Keith Phillips, of MudStuffing Pottery ( told those of us on the Etsy Mud Team about making your own pottery decals with printers and waterslide paper.

Now that my studio is up and running again, I wanted to give the decals a try.
I found a behemoth of a printer online that uses ink that has a high iron content - necessary for the process. And I also ordered some waterslide paper too. And then I specifically glazed a few pots just for trying out some decals.

To make your decals:
First, find the images you want to use, and print them onto the paper:
Next cut out the image you want to use, and put it in warm water to soak for about a minute. This loosens the image, and makes it pliable.

Next, apply the image to the pottery, image side down, paper side toward you. This puts the printing (and the iron oxide) next to the glaze where it will hopefully adhere permanently to the pot, once it is fired.

Once the image is on the pot, smooth it completely. The image will immediately cool and stiffen when it touches the pot, making it difficult to manipulate. I used a new throwing sponge to gently ease out the air bubbles and smooth the transfer. Be careful not to tear the decal!

-Ok, you probably *will* tear, fold, or otherwise ruin the first one or two that you do, so just be sure to have a spare image.-

Once the image is the way you want it, it is ready to be fired onto your pot.

This will be the third firing for this pot - first as bisque, again in glaze, and this third time to make the decal permanent.
I am firing these tomorrow. Hopefully I have done them right! Either way I will photograph the results Monday when the kiln is cooled.
Many thanks to the folks at for these great images! What fun they are!!

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