How to Make a Decal on an HP Printer

Transform your designs into decals that you can apply as temporary tattoos.

With a decent printer and the right paper, you can make your own decals, stickers and temporary tattoos. With an HP printer, you can transform your designs into works of art you can apply to almost any surface. You can print just about any design you'd like, as long as it fits onto the decal paper. Keep in mind that highly detailed designs may not seem as clear in a printout, and will only be as good as your printer.

Make sure your decal paper matches your HP printer type. Laser products won't work on an ink-jet printer and vice versa. Using the wrong paper can damage your HP printer.

Select decal paper that matches your project. If you're making tattoos, choose tattoo paper. If you want to decorate a skateboard, for example, make sure the decal will stick to the board and is sturdy enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear. The manufacturer notes on the decal product should help you decide if it's the best choice.

Choose clear decals when you'll be working with a white or light background. Choose white decals if the background is dark. This will ensure that you get the highest quality picture.

Print your design on a regular piece of white paper and make sure you're happy with the size, colors and layout. This will keep you from wasting decal paper, which is expensive. Remember, however, that a color design will look sharper on glossy paper than on regular printer paper.

Cut out a piece of decal paper just slightly larger than your design. You'll want at least 1/4 inch around your design. Tape the decal paper over your sample design using masking tape or another mildly sticky tape. Make sure you can see your entire design through the decal and that none of it is covered by tape.

To print the decal on your HP printer, go to "File" and "Print." Click on the "Properties" button. This will bring up the properties dialog box for your HP printer.

Click on the "Paper" tab. Find the box that specifies the paper type and change it to match the paper you are using; it may say "Automatic." If the paper isn't listed specifically, choose "other specialty paper" or "transparency."

Click on the "Quality" tab. It may be the same as the "Paper" tab. Select "Best."

Click "OK."

Follow the directions that came with the decal paper to transfer it onto the desired surface.


Always follow the directions that come with the decal paper and your printer. These directions are designed to supplement those.


Always remember to respect copyright laws when printing photos and graphics.