What Is Waterslide Decal?

A waterslide decal is a high-quality, ink-only decal finish without an edge. It helps your art look like it was painted onto the surface of your product. Made for a variety of finishes and substrates, the waterslide provides the perfect, zero-profile image that can only add to the beauty of your product.

Waterslide decals are thinner than many other decorative techniques and can be produced to be crystal clear and in fine detail. You may have heard waterslide decals referred to as wet transfers, water decals, or transfers.

At TSL Graphics, we work to constantly update and enhance our products to ensure you are getting the latest in decal technology. This includes our flagship waterslide decal.

Benefits to Waterslide Decals

With a zero-profile finish, waterslide decals look like they’re painted directly onto the final product. Since they are ink-only, that means there is no clear, base layer of film. This causes the art to seamlessly blend into the surface.

Additionally, adhesion can be adjusted to ensure the best results with your current base paint. Waterslide decals can be clear coated with powder or liquid clear to create a product with extreme durability. Made to be clear coated, these decals do not cause any bubbling, cracking, or peeling.

Not only are they long-lasting, but also efficient; waterslide decals mask for two-tone paint jobs and decals in only one step. This high-quality decal is sure to bring efficiency and cost savings to your production process.

At TSL Graphics, we are proud of our waterslide decal technology. Our decals are printed under a digital eye on every screen, allowing us to line up the screens exactly so colors do not gap or overlap. This technology ensures clean lines, intricate details, and smaller print.  We also use Spot Color to ensure your branded colors are exactly the right shade, and never affected by the product it’s applied to.

Thin, ink-only transfers can be expensive, especially the equipment! Fortunately, TSL Graphics’ No Clear Waterslide (NCWS) applies and cures hard with no need for painting. The final finish can be glossy, flat, or matte and offers scratch resistance built into the decal. This time-saving solution is sure to help save money while still providing the highest quality final product.


Sporting Goods

Waterslide decals are a perfect option for sporting goods due to their zero-profile yet durable characteristics. It’s critical for baseball bats to be lightweight, and helmets to have a smooth finish, so it’s important that the decal has a flat surface and is nearly weightless.

Due to their water-resistant abilities, waterslide decals are an ideal choice for fishing poles, surfboards, and other water activity accessories!

Foil decals are our most versatile and technologically advanced product. These decals allow us to print ink effects on hockey sticks such as grips, and flash and highlight effects on helmets and bikes.

Curved Products

Due to their ability for a customized application, waterslide decals make a great option for beer tap handles and promotional products.

When in need of a high-quality, perfect look, waterslide decals are the best option. Waterslides are designed to be incredibly thin, blending artwork seamlessly into the product. From pens to little trinkets, a waterslide decal is the ideal option for any curved product.


Due to their lightweight, yet durable nature, waterslides are the go to option for motorcycles, ATVs, and dirt bikes.

Heat resistant with the ability to withstand higher temperatures, waterslide decals can withstand high temperatures without whites yellowing or adhesive failing


Each waterslide decal includes the ink- only decal and the carrier to help apply the decal as easily as possible. Carriers can be designed specifically to fit the part to help with placement, move around openings, and so on.  The carrier dries with the decal and is removed afterward.

At TSL Graphics, we have two different waterslide technologies. One is designed for a clear top coat, while the other is cured for a permanent durable finish with no additional painting. The application for both is demonstrated in this video. We also outlined the steps for you here:

1. Remove the protective sheet from the transfer.

2. Soak the transfer in warm water for 30 to 40 seconds

3. Holding the release paper with one hand and the removable film with the other, slide the transfer off of the paper.

4. Using the removable film, apply the transfer onto a clean surface. If applying to wood, it does need to be sealed.

5. Use the rubber squeegee to press out the water and air bubbles. Starting from the middle and working your way out.

6. Clean any residue from the surface of the transfer and the object with a wet cloth.

7. Use a dry cloth to absorb excess moisture.

8. Dry in a 120°F oven for 20 minutes or at room temperature for 8 hours. The object must be completely dry.

9. When the object has cooled, remove the pink/blue film.

10. Cure the finished part at 300°F for 30 minutes or clear coat over.

The application of commercial decals differs from DIY decals and stickers. TSL Graphics only products are intended for commercial usage.

Waterslide decals are a great choice if you’re looking for a high-quality, versatile decoration method. At TSL Graphics, waterslides are what we do best – they’re our flagship product. This perfect, zero-profile finish can only add to the beauty of your product.

If you are looking for a great decal, but in a much larger quantity, be sure to ask about heat transfers! These thin, ink-only transfers are precise, fast, and offer automated application.

At TSL Graphics, we are proud of our digital printing experience. Leading up to implementation, we will work with you to provide the correct formulation and options to reduce cost and time, and improve the final product. How can we help with your next decoration project? Contact us!