We started making ceramic decals almost by chance. We were asked if we could do a very large order for the military and decided to give it a try. I had done paper jigs before and thought this would be easy. First we had to find a dealer who sold the ink pigments, then we had to find out how to mix the pigments, what paper to use to print them, and how to coat and dry and then fire them onto ceramics. At the same time we found a kiln for sale. It took us about 6 months to learn how to do this because there are no books or instruction manuals on how to print ceramic decals so we had to learn by experimenting and making mistakes. After that, this part of the business just took off. We ended up selling to people all over the country for businesses, schools, colleges, and individuals.   Dry decal pigments are mixed with a thick grinding vehicle to make a thick ink. The ink is silkscreened onto a special release paper, dried, coated with a liquid plastic-like material and dried again. The coating cannot be too thick or the ink will melt and distort the design. Once the coating has dried, the decal is soaked in water, and the image slides off the paper and onto a ceramic object. If any air bubbles are left under the decal, the ink in that spot won't fire onto the ceramic, but will burn away during firing, leaving a gap in the design. Mixing colors, the fired image is not always the same as the color on the decal before firing.   We would do as few as one decal for people. Our clients were mainly small ceramics shops. A large company who sold ceramic molds found out about us from an ad we put in a ceramic convention magazine, and they advertised our business for free in their newsletter. Two other large decal companies who only print orders of hundreds of decals in 16 colors found out that we would print small orders, so they passed our name on to people who were too small for them to sell to.
This was our very first decal printed in 1987.
We airbrushed the color onto the printed decal.
We did small runs for large companies.
Coffee cups were personalized with the logo on the front and name on the back. You can see above the cups and how the decal will change to a darker color. You had to know how to mix the pigments to get the decals to fire just right. We made cups for a lot of schools. New teachers would ask how do you get a cup. So every year we had a new batch of cups to make. We also did bed and breakfast places. The military got a lot of cups also. This is just a test print of most of the decals on this page. We had to test print each decals and sometimes fire them. Should have taken more pictures of our good work but when you get busy and have to ship things out you just don't think about it.


The decal to the left is a glass decal. Glass is fired on at a very low temperature. You have to check them often or the kiln will melt the glass. We should know, we have done it .

The decal on the left is what a customer sent us. As you can see the word Reunion is spelled wrong.We had printed 200 of them and we alwayscheck each decal to make sure the paint did not run and the cover coat was on right. So we caught it before it went out and I fixed it in the computer then reprinted them the next day. Good thing it was not a rush order or saw it after we sent the order. Boy, isnt being in business is so much fun, right? When you print decals most are printed in a sheet of 2 to 4 at a time.
I made the drawing on the left and we made the decal on the right. All of the color is put in after the black and white print. It is then fired onto a tile. This way no two tiles are the same.

The cup above is called a wrap. The decal is long to wrap around the entire cup. This one was made for the speedway by the Washington and Idaho border.

Below is our first shop before we made the cabinets and decal drying racks.

Airbrushed and hand painted decals s

I tested lots of ways to add decals to cups with a design. So at left we airbrushed the cup first then applyed the decals over the top. It fired just fine.

At right is our kids cup. The kids make a drawing in class or scouts with a black marker. Then we make each decal and each cup one of a kind. This is back when sublimation was new and the design would come off in the dishwasher. Ours is fired on at over 2500 degrees so they are dishwasher safe.


We made this logo for us. Used it with shirts, cups, and decals samples.


As you can see by the year on the cup above we made this decal for many years. Artwork by a student.


We printed each name in the white space with a dark gray and white letters.

We could use the logo Made in Montana after registering with the state. 80% of the product had to be made in Montana to use the logo.


Small tiles. We made them for the fridge.

Tri-fold flyers
Kids cup