Do It Yourself Water Transfer Printing Kits

Things You'll Need

  • Water transfer printing sheets
  • Acrylic spray
  • Paint tray

Incorrectly using do-it-yourself water transfer sheets will leave you with a soggy mess on your hands that involves the inability to get your image to adhere to a surface. Worse, once you print the image, the image will dissolve in the water if you don't prepare the sheets properly. Done correctly, you can print your own water-transfer printing sheets, and use them to customize a variety of ceramics, plastics or metals. Ensure your crafts have a customized touch with your own water transfer sheets.

Spray the water transfer sheet with two to three coats of acrylic spray if you print with a laser paper, allowing the sheet to dry for 30 to 60 minutes. Acrylic spray keeps the image from smearing when it gets wet. Inkjet transfer sheets have a pre-coating on them, so you do not need the acrylic spray.

Load the water transfer printing sheet in your printer's manual bypass tray. Follow the icons on your bypass tray to determine if you should place it print side facing up or print side facing down.

Print your image or message or pattern onto the water transfer printing sheet. Let the ink dry for five minutes if you print off of an inkjet printer.

Fill the paint tray with water. Paint trays offer you a squar-ish bowl that almost perfectly accommodates a sheet of paper, but any large bowl of water will work.

Dip the water transfer printing sheet into the paint tray, ensuring it remains completely submersed while simultaneously using your other hand to keep it from curling into itself. For instance, the water-transfer printing sheet will curl almost immediately upon contact with the water, so you should hold it open to keep it from curling inward. If it curls into a roll, you will have to uncurl it, which will create a mess because the wet transfer sheet will stick to itself like soggy tape.

Allow the water transfer printing sheet to soak while completely submerged for four to six minutes.

Position your substrate in front of you. The substrate simply consists of the object that you will apply the water transfer image to.

Lift the water transfer printing sheet out of the water, ensuring you don't push or mush the top water transfer off the underlying backing paper.

Peel approximately 1/2 inch of the water transfer image off the paper backing, laying it immediately and evenly onto the substrate surface.

Peel the water transfer printing sheet off the backing while simultaneously pressing it onto the substrate until you have transferred the entire sheet onto the substrate.

Squeegee the air bubbles using soft pressure from your fingertips. Push the air bubbles to the nearest edge and smooth the surface.


  • If you tear the water transfer, you can often slide the torn sections against one another. When the image dries, you will not see the tear.

    If you have an odd-shaped image or item, use a pair of scissors to cut the image to shape.


About the Author

Theresa Thompson started writing professionally in 2007. Her work has appeared in "Children and Behavior," a resource guide for parents of children with autism. She has written numerous grants and continues to work on her own educational guides. Theresa received her Doctor of Philosophy in psychology in 2007 from the University of Kansas.