A new fascination.

So I’ve been wanting to try water slide decals for a while now. I want to get a little more furniture in my booth; if I’m to reach my goal of having nothing in there that doesn’t have a price tag on it, I’ve got to have somewhere to display things. The only thing is, my store is FULL of fabulous painted furniture at prices you would not believe. I honestly don’t know how my fellow vendors put so much time in making these beautiful pieces of furniture and can afford to price them so low. It’s hard to compete with that, especially when I’m having so much trouble finding furniture at thrift stores and yard sales around here. So I’ve been trying to think of ways I can make my display pieces a little different, and I’ve come across projects that have used water slide decals. This genius uses them to enhance dollhouse furniture and accessories (those little plates she made are to.die.for) and over at The Painted Hive, she decorated some plain white plates for display.  You can buy the decals already printed (like here, here, and here) but when you’re trying to resell something at a reasonable cost, ordering a decal at $ or $9 a pop doesn’t make a lot of fiscal sense. So I decided to order some decal paper and try and do it myself. In theory, this should have been really simple. There are some amazing graphics to be purchased for a dollar or two on etsy, and theoretically, I should be able to download one, e-mail it to my copy center, bring them the paper, and have a spiffy decal for a third of the price I would pay for a ready-made one. Except first I ordered Inkjet decal paper, forgetting that the copy center would only have professional-grade laser printers. Then, when I got the laser paper, it had scary instructions on it about making sure to only use it with a printer that had JUST been turned on in order to avoid melting the paper onto the printer’s fuser. Understandably, the copy guy was a little hesitant. But instead of following the rules out of fear and respect and waiting until first thing in the morning to print on the decal paper, he decides to do it right then and there, at 5:30 pm, after the printer had been running for about 10 hours. Makes sense, right? You’ll never guess what happened. No, really. YOU’LL NEVER GUESS. The paper melted. SHOCKING, right? Luckily, it didn’t damage the printer, but he was so freaked out he wouldn’t wait until morning to try it on a cool machine. I wanted to take him by the lapels on his little apron and shake him while yelling, “I MUST HAVE MY VINTAGE ROSE WATERSLIDE DECALS TODAY!!!!!” because I was trying so hard to finish the project in time for Thursday work night at the booth — but I remained calm. I finally found someone who was willing to try it at their workplace, first thing in the morning, and while it didn’t turn out perfectly, it was a heck of a lot better than the mess that happened at the copy center. The images came out a little degraded, but since I was going for the look that the decals had been on the furniture for a long, long time, that didn’t seem to be a problem.

I was worried about applying them, but it was just about as easy as everyone on the Internet says. You soak them in water for about a minute, until, when you use your thumb and forefinger, you can slide the decal away from the backing. That’s when you know it’s finished, and you just slide it onto your surface. I would say using a graphic that doesn’t have a lot of long, skinny pieces to it would be the best idea — I had a hydrangea blossom that was tied around the stem with a ribbon, and the ribbon was problematic, because I couldn’t get it to lie correctly. That was also the decal that I experimented with by sanding it — in retrospect, seems like a really stupid idea but you know how you can kind of sand when you decoupage? Of course, I forgot that when you do that, you’ve already put several coats of Mod Podge over it. Anyway, that decal did not work out so well.

This stool was probably the best of the projects. Here’s the before:

It’s one of the stools I got while I was in Little Rock a couple of weeks ago. I paid $2 for it. This thing has about six layers of paint on it, and I added a few more layers by painting it cream (my favorite Benjamin Moore Vanilla Ice Cream) and using a decal with an image I got from Josiemart on Etsy:

See what I mean about the image degrading? I didn’t mind it too much, but there are probably things I wouldn’t want that affect on (I really want to try the decals on some plates) so I’m wondering if I can find anyone online who has the secrets to it working perfectly.

The other project I did was one of the three that I got while in Round Top:

I put one of these vintage botanicals that I got from The Antique Image on Etsy (lovely images, high quality scans) on each of the ends of the table. In retrospect, I wish I had used something with softer colors (more light pink than that vibrant almost-red). It’s a little too much contrast between the light paint and the decal for my liking. And it turned out a little grandma-ish, for lack of a better word.

So took that table and two others that I bought in Round Top to the booth. Here’s one that I did in a soft blue (Snowdrop from Sherwin Williams, which I absolutely adore):

I didn’t take a photo of the other one because it’s kind of boring. But the fact of the matter is, these are primarily display pieces, and once in place, I was able to remove one of the plain-jane shelves in my booth, leaving only one un-priced furniture item there! Goal almost met! Woo hoo! Surely, with yard sale season getting into spring, I will meet my goal here in a month or two.



April 18, 2013 - 12:37 am

Kristine Ooh, the stool is so adorable. I love the worn appearance of the decal. If you think the little end table decal is too nanna-ish (for lack of a better word 🙂 and contrast-y (hmmm, I don’t think that’s a word either) maybe you could try toning it down with a subtle white wash? Either way, I think it looks cute.

April 22, 2013 - 7:51 pm

Lara Jo That’s a great idea — I may end up doing that. Right now it’s huddled in a corner of the booth serving as display, but as soon as I am ready to bring it more front and center I’m going to be looking for something to tone it down a bit. Thanks for the suggestion, for the inspiration, and for taking the time to comment! I love your blog!