How to Seal Water Slide Decals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Water slide decals are a popular way to add custom designs and graphics to different surfaces, including ceramic, glass, metal, and plastic. However, without proper sealing, these decals can be easily scratched, smudged, or faded, especially when exposed to water, heat, or chemicals. In this how-to article, we’ll show you how to seal water slide decals using simple materials and techniques. By following these steps, you can protect your decals from damage and extend their lifespan.

How to Seal Water Slide Decals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Before you start sealing your water slide decals, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary materials at hand. Here’s a list of items that you’ll need for this project:

  • Water slide decals
  • Clear acrylic spray or brush-on sealant
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Tweezers
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Soft-bristled brush or sponge
  • Paper towel or cloth

Make sure that your work area is clean and dry, and that you have enough space to spread out your decals and other materials.

Step 2: Apply the Decals

The first step is to apply your water slide decals to the surface that you want to decorate. Follow these steps:

  • Cut out your decals from the sheet using scissors or a craft knife, leaving a small margin around each design.
  • Dip the decal in a bowl of warm water for about 20-30 seconds, until it starts to loosen from the backing paper.
  • Use tweezers to slide the decal onto the surface, positioning it carefully.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles, starting from the center and moving towards the edges.
  • Use a paper towel or cloth to remove any excess water or adhesive around the decal.
  • Let the decal dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Seal the Decals

Once your decals are dry, it’s time to seal them to protect them from damage. Here’s how to do it:

  • Shake the can of clear acrylic spray sealant well, and spray a thin and even layer over the decals, holding the can about 6-8 inches away from the surface. Alternatively, you can use a brush-on sealant, applying a thin and even layer with a soft brush or sponge, making sure to cover the entire decal.
  • Let the sealant dry completely, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the type of sealant and the weather conditions, this may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
  • Repeat the sealing process with one or two more layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next one. This will ensure that the decals are well-protected and have a glossy finish.
  • Let the final layer dry for at least 24 hours before using or handling the surface.

Step 4: Clean and Maintain the Surface

Now that your water slide decals are sealed, you can enjoy them for a long time with proper care and maintenance. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid using abrasive or harsh cleaners on the surface, as these can scratch or damage the decals or the sealant.
  • Use a soft cloth or sponge and mild soap or detergent to clean the surface, and rinse it thoroughly with water.
  • Avoid exposing the surface to extreme temperatures or moisture, as this can cause the decals to peel or fade over time.
  • Store the surface in a dry and cool place when not in use, and avoid stacking or piling items on top of it.


Can I use any type of sealant for water slide decals?

It’s recommended to use a clear acrylic spray or brush on sealant that is designed for use on porous surfaces such as ceramic, glass, metal, or plastic. Avoid using oil-based or wax-based sealants, as they may not adhere well to the decals and can cause discoloration or flaking.


How many layers of sealant should I apply?

It’s recommended to apply at least two or three thin layers of sealant, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next one. This will ensure that the decals are well-protected and have a glossy finish. However, avoid applying too many layers, as this can make the surface look cloudy or streaky.

Can I remove the decals after sealing them?

Sealing water slide decals makes them more permanent and durable, but it doesn’t make them completely irreversible. If you want to remove the decals, you can try soaking the surface in warm water and using a scraper or blade to peel off the decals. However, this may also remove some of the sealant and may leave some residue or damage on the surface.


Sealing water slide decals is a simple and effective way to protect them from damage and prolong their lifespan. By following the steps outlined in this how-to article, you can seal your decals with ease and confidence. Remember to use the right materials and techniques, apply the sealant in thin and even layers, and allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next one. With proper care and maintenance, your water slide decals can look vibrant and beautiful for a long time. Happy crafting!

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