How to make Shabby Chic Furniture with print –
transfer of print onto furniture or wood, part 2

There it is – a second part of tutorial on making Shabby Chic Furniture by transferring a print onto it.
After you have prepared, printed and cut out your design, you need to prepare a surface you will transfer on.


3. Preparing your decal – cutting out

Preparing the decal you can follow two paths: easy or difficult. Like with every thing in life, easy path is less time-consuming, but results with not-so-great final effect. Difficult path takes some time to finish, but effect you achieve is worth of trying.

What I mean is – you can make the transfer without any cutting out, but then you leave a vast of unprinted plastic on the surface of your table. And that is visible at a certain angle. The more effort you put in cutting your print out, the more authentic your print will be.

I always try to cut out the image dividing it to as many elements as it is possible, trying to get rid of all transparency I can. Doing that, leave little (approx. 1mm width) margin around printed parts of paper.


water-decal-transfer-print-onto-wood-furniture_touch-the-wood_11 water-decal-transfer-print-onto-wood-furniture_touch-the-wood_12 water-decal-transfer-print-onto-wood-furniture_touch-the-wood_13 water-decal-transfer-print-onto-wood-furniture_touch-the-wood_14

…would you like to know what happened next? We have moved the content of this article to our other website,, dedicated entirely to the subject of print transfer. You can also buy BLANK water decal paper sheets there, if you want to try yourself creating your own print transfer. Just go through the rest of the second part of tutorial on How to transfer print onto furniture.
Thank you.


  1. Gale Godwin

    I enjoyed your tutorials on the transfers. You did an awesome job explaining each step. I tried this a few months ago, but was unhappy with the raised edges that were still visible even after 3 layers of polyurethane. Your furniture does not seem to have those, or they are not visible on the photos. Did I possibly use too much spray coating before cutting the image out? Any suggestions would be great, and I might just try it again! Also, what is your screen printing method.

    Thanks so much for your help and your awesome tutorial!
    Happy New Year too.


    1. admin Post author

      Hi Gale
      Sorry I’m late getting back to you – crazy around here at Christmas time!

      The raised edges of a decal are common problem with this technique. But it is 100% natural thing, you stick an extra layer of plastic to the surface after all. To prevent it, I try three things:
      1. To give as little as possible of the first coat protecting the print (exactly as you mentioned)
      2. Later, when everything is dried up, I use a fine sandpaper (320 grit or finer) to smoothen the edges – I do it before final layers of varnish.
      3. And before it all – while cutting the decal out I try to remove as much as possible of unprinted matter. For instance – when you have 10 bold words and you are patient enough to play with them around, cut them out separately, removing blank spaces between. This will make more convincing effect.

      But even then – I have never reached this sort of perfection to make the medium (i.e. decal) transparent in 100%. Always, when you look at a certain angle, you can see a reflection of plastic against the rest of the surface.
      I have noticed though, that the more shabby and distressed surface is, the less visible are decal artifacts. For instance, on this piece Shabby Chic Nest of Tables no. 10 the table top is distressed in the way making the decal almost invisible.

      The most satisfying way of transferring a print is printing itself, i.e. screen printing. It is more difficult and time consuming then other methods, but results are stunning.
      This technique is basically a stencil made on a very fine fabric. One day I will make a tutorial covering this topic, but until then you can have a look at this tutorial on transferring a print to posters and shirts

      I hope I made myself clear
      Best wishes and good luck

  2. Dennis Stewart

    I would really like to attempt this process. I’m wondering what program you used for the layout and fonts. I must confess to not being tech savvy when it comes to computers. Any input wouldn’t be appreciated.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.