Factors Affecting the Quality of Decal Printing

mug with great quality of decal in gold

Table of Contents

Introduction of quality of decal

Any printed product, including stickers, labels, packaging, and pottery or glassware, must include decals. Custom decals have been a popular way to advertise your goods and services, it gives a product its identity can help promote brand recognition, and attract the interest of potential clients.

Nonetheless, there are numerous instances where the company has marketed its brand using bespoke designs. However, they have failed to produce a lasting impact on people’s thoughts due to using low-quality materials or inadequate workmanship. We’ll talk about the elements that determine the quality of decal and tips on how to secure the quality of decals.

How do you determine the quality of a decal and what factors affect the performance of a decal during the production and firing process?

What’s Decal?

Decal is a printed design that can be transferred to a surface using water, heat, or pressure. It is printed on special transfer paper or film and then applied to the product’s surface. The decal can be applied to a variety of surfaces to add color, branding, or educational content.

Decal can carry any information you want to deliver to the customers, your designs, your logo, or your special anniversary. The designs’ colors are brilliant, shiny, and bright, which is why it is widely welcomed by the market.

bone china mugs with decal
Fine bone china mugs with decal

How does a decal work?

Ceramic pigments created by printing ink on specific paper are used to create decal paper. The paper has a water-soluble film coating on the surface, making it an especially effective water absorbent. After being printed, dried, and prepared, the decal is soaked in water. The paper absorbs the water and the adhesive on the surface dissolves, causing the decal’s surface to detach from the paper. The separated decal contains a small amount of water and some leftover glue, making it possible for the decal to paste on the porcelain.

After scrubbing, drying, and high-temperature firing, the separated decal will permanently stay on the surface of the porcelain, giving the customized design looks.

decal worker applying decal on bone china tableware
A Worker is applying decal on a bowl

What determines the quality of the decal?

The quality of a decal can be determined by two main factors, the color and the fulfillment of the design. To achieve high-quality results, the color and the design should be clear, crisp, and vivid. The edges of the decal should be well-defined, and the colors should be consistent and true to the original design.

Factors that Affect the Quality of Decal When printing

The decal production process involves several stages, including printing, cutting, and transfer. The type of printing method, the quality of the paper or film used, and the expertise of the printer can all impact the final result. The following factors can affect the quality of the decal during these stages:

Color Classification

Different colors have different properties that can affect the performance of the decal. For example, red and orange colors tend to fade faster than other colors, while white and black colors are more stable. Whether the work can quickly classify the different colors is a key factor that determines the capability of a decal printing factory.


The quality of the pigment used in the decal can affect the color and the durability of the final result. High-quality pigment tends to be more stable and resistant to fading or discoloration.

Production Process

The production process can also affect the quality of the decal. Factors such as the type of printing method, the quality of the paper or film used, and the printer’s expertise can all impact the final result.

The machine used to print the decals.

When the printing machine involves much labor work, there is a higher chance that the final effect might not be as stable as a fully automated machine made.

Factors Affecting Decal Effect in the Decal Firing Process

The firing process is the final stage of the decal production process. During this stage, the decal is transferred onto the surface of the product using heat. The following factors can affect the quality of the decal during this stage.

Firing temperature

Color is the soul of a design. The temperature at which the decal is fired can not only affect its adhesion and durability but also affect the performance of the color. It plays an important role in determining the quality of decal. If the temperature is too low, the decal may not adhere properly. If the temperature is too high, the decal may melt or crack. There are different temperature ranges for different kinds of decals. Besides that, whether the color can have a vivid performance greatly depend on the firing temperature.

For different pigments, their requirement for firing is not the same, For example, the gold is fired at a temperature of around 600-680 cent-degree, even a 5-degree difference could make a huge difference on the final look. if the temperature is higher than that, the gold might easily rip off. The gold color would not be bright if the temperature is too low.

mug with great quality of decal in gold
Mug with great quality of decal

Firing kiln

The ceramic products with decals go through a few different temperature ranges to make the decal permanently stay, including temperature increase, stay, cooling down, etc. The type of kiln used to fire the decal can also affect its performance.

A kiln that is not properly calibrated or ventilated can cause the decal to warp or blister. Different kinds of kilns are suitable for different types of orders. For example, a tunnel kiln can ensure every piece of product goes through the same procedures with the same length of time of different temperatures, therefore ensuring the same quality of the end products, it is suitable for large batch production. While chamber kiln is more flexible, they hold a limited quantity of items and is more suitable for smaller quantity.

kiln used to fire the decal
tunnel kiln used for decal firing

How to ensure the quality of decal.

Work with a trustworthy manufacturer

Despite the above factors, there is another important factor you should not overlook, Which is the way the work applies the decals.

Applying a decal might seem easy, but only experienced workers can fulfill the job perfectly, to ensure the decals’ position, and the non-deformation of the designs, higher skills are required for the designs that cover the full surface. Making the decals that perfectly match the shape needs many times of testing and adjusting before bulk production, to ensure the designs stay in the same position, to keep the lines straight, to make sure there is no flaw with the design, to make the joint perfect, all these require the careful and advance skill of the decal applying workers.

A test run is necessary

To ensure the quality of decal, a test run should be conducted before mass manufacturing. By doing this, you’ll be able to spot any problems with the design, color, or adherence before making a big batch.

Working with a dependable provider who has experience making high-quality decals is crucial in the meantime. They may offer advice on how to do the task effectively and assist you in selecting the best materials and production techniques to produce the best outcomes.

It’s not enough just see their designs, it is necessary to sample with your design. And ask them how they ensure the quality of the designs, if they can’t give a satisfying answer, how can you reply to them to do their job well?

Compare the colors carefully

Provide the original samples or the design with Pantone code for the supplier to handle the sampling and bulk production. So the two parts have a standard set up to follow. No matter what the reasons caused the color differences, make it clear to the manufacturer it’s not acceptable and ask them to improve. Constant communication is a key factor


The quality of decal can impact the overall performance and appearance of a product. By understanding the factors that affect the quality of decal printing, you can ensure that you produce high-quality decals that are durable, vivid, and long-lasting.

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