printable magicband decorating 101

Tips for Decorating your MagicBands with your home printer

UPDATED: new tips and tutorial video

Yes, you can make quality decorations at home for your Disney MagicBands just like those that you can buy online. All you need is some specialty paper and a home printer.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow loop. Today we are sharing ways you can decorate your MagicBands from Walt Disney World.

Now before I tell you what works, lets discuss my failures. You don’t need to repeat these so let me take the fall for you.

***Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Click here for more details.

let’s start with what doesn’t work

 

inkjet printable stickers

 

I love using inkjet printable stickers. I use them all the time and they are great for many many projects. Magic Bands are just not one of them.  The paper will just not hold up to park use or weather. (i.e. no pools)

Cricut inkjet printable stickers are actually even worse.  The paper is just too thick.  Great for making paper crafts but bad for a flexible band.

When you adhere the stickers to the MagicBand as the sticker actually breaks apart as it bends. No bueno.

inkjet temporary tattoo paper

 

I have seen some posts showing how people have made this work. And for small applications I agree. So if you are just adding a small image to a band this is not a bad idea but there are better options.

The problem is when you try to use an Inkjet Temporary Tattoo Paper to cover the entire band. If you remember your temporary tattoo directions you have to hold the tattoo in place for 60 seconds before it adheres.

There is no way to do this on a curved surface.  If the inkjet printable tattoo slips as you hold it the image will bunch up and wrinkle. I think it is near impossible to get a temporary tattoo to stay still as you apply it to plastic. No bueno.

Now let’s have some fun and move on to what does work.

does work – inkjet printable waterslide decals

 

If you ever put together models as a kid you will remember these.  Waterslide decals are the decals you soak in water for a few seconds and then slide off the paper and apply onto the item you want the image in.

Inkjet Printable Waterslide Decals are awesome as they are already water proof and permanent.  The backing is clear which means there is a lot of room for error when cutting them out. (that I always appreciate – especially when I am not using my Cricut or Silhouette)

FREEBIE: To create your image you can use the pattern I put together. (click here for full resolution template)

Decorating Your MagicBand - Templates

You can choose to either have it cover the entire band or just the ends. (for waterslide decals I am partial to the full because it will also show the texture of the band)

TIP: Make sure the length of the band template is 7.69 inches long.

TIP: Once you have printed the bands you will need to spray them with a Clear Acrylic Gloss Spray and let them dry. This sets the image and makes is waterproof.

LESSON LEARNED: make sure the spray is acrylic. The first time I did this I used the wrong spray (seen in the image below) and the images were very faint. The acrylic really does set them image for use.

Once the images are dry (approximately 20 minutes) you can use a personal cutter or scissors to cut them out. Remember that decals are very forgiving so cutting them out does not have to be perfect.

LESSON LEARNED: Before you apply them do think about the color of your band. If you used the Inkjet Printable Waterslide Decals with a clear background the color of the band will show through.

TIP: If using a colored band try using white backing inject waterslide decals.  The white backing will make your band more vibrant but you will need to be careful about cutting out the label.

Sometimes having the color show through is great (like the scar band I created on the gray background) but other times the colors just overwhelm the image (like the red on the Buzz Lightyear band).

TIP: If the color is too bright put a layer of white acrylic plastic model paint on the band prior to adhering the decal.

Decorating Your MagicBand - Apply a coat of white acrylic as a base for semi-transparent decals

The decal is really easy to apply and quite forgiving to work with.  It works just like of you were applying a decal to a model car.

Once wet the decal easily slides off the paper and onto the Magic Band.  You can move it around while it is still wet giving you plenty of time to get it in the right place.  You can even stretch it a bit if you need to.

TIP: The directions say to leave the decal in water for 15 seconds. I had a problem with this as the decal came off too quickly and rolled up like a cigar. I could work with it but it was a pain. I found running it under a faucet just until it began to move allowed me to easily remove it from the paper before curling.

TIP: Once the MagicBand is dry apply 1-3 coats of Clear Acrylic Gloss Spray as protection. (I used matter spray for my bands because I wanted that look but glossy is what most people would prefer)

Your Magic Bands are not ready to go.  Not only will they hold up all day in the parks but they are also waterproof so feel free to wear them swimming.

Decorating Your MagicBand - waterslide decals decorated magicbands

 

does work – inkjet printable vinyl

 

This is type of decal you see for sale most of the time.   And to be honest how I did it is exactly like they do it. (so you are now a professional that can sell on Etsy )

Just like before you create your decals using the template above. (For vinyl I like the two piece bands. The Inkjet Printable Waterproof Vinyl just does not go over the center portion well – guess that is why they sell them this way.)

The image is matte from the printer, so add a layer of Clear Acrylic Gloss Spray to give it that glossy look.

You do need to be careful here about cutting them out. The background of the Inkjet Printable Waterproof Vinyl is white and will show errors. I used my Cricut but scissors are also fine.

Decorating Your MagicBand - cutting out the vinyl decals

TIP: Prior to applying the Inkjet Printable Waterproof Vinyl you will need to clean the MagicBands with rubbing alcohol.

The Inkjet Printable Waterproof Vinyl works as a sticker so it is easy to apply and really forgiving. You can lift and replace a couple of times.

 

Once you have the Inkjet Printable Waterproof Vinyl attached you can apply 1-3 coats of Clear Acrylic Gloss Spray as protection. These bands are also waterproof and can be worn at all times.

Decorating Your MagicBand - vinyl decals

the pros and cons of each application

 

Pros: forgiving to apply, good for full MagicBand Application, has an artistic look to them

Cons: takes time to apply, may have to use a base coat to remove color from the MagicBand

Pros: forgiving to apply, easy to create, strong colors

Cons: not much flex when moving it (bunches up when you take the band off)

In the end I like the Inkjet Printable Waterslide Decals better. They take more time but they look beautiful. Like works of art.

But if I want to quickly change my MagicBand vinyl will be my go-to. Now go out and have fun!

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UPDATE – after trying them out in the parks…

 

Well we are back from our first Disney trip using the decorated MagicBands. We did end up using the one with the waterslide decals. We got many many compliments from cast members (especially on the Scar one).

I did learn a couple of things about how they hold up. First of all the decals were definitely weather proof. We all wore them to the pools and water parks multiple times with no problems. There was also no issue with the use of the Magicband. So covering the Mickey head was not a problem at all.

On the adult bands we did start to see cracking around the holes from taking them on and off. I got concerned because it happened day one but it never progressed after that. In fact my husband is planning on using the same band on his next trip.

The kids on the other hand beat their bands to death. The decal did crack anyplace they would bang it. (pretty much the whole thing) But the decal never fell off just started looking a bit rough.

For the kids I would say these are one trip use. Adults will get more wear out of them.

 

UPDATE – tutorial for making your own band in Cricut Design Space

 

I got a great question from a reader, Jackie, who wanted to know how to use the template in Cricut Design Space to customize her band with any of the elements in the Cricut library.

After a bit of research I found out you can use the ‘slice’ option to get the graphics to fit the band but it has a couple of tricks to it.

To help you out I created a quick video. Enjoy.

Mary Signature




For more ideas on how to customize your MagicBand, check out the other great posts from Blogorail Yellow!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | Decorating MagicBands Loop:

 

Tips for Decorating your MagicBands with your home printer


By | 2017-10-12T12:43:36+00:00 May 30th, 2016|

About the Author:

Full time working mom making the most out of time with my family through travel, crafts & photography. Owner/designer of Capturing Magical Memories® and co-owner of the Magical Blogorail travel co-operative. In my free time it is all spas, wineries and concierge.

44 Comments

  1. Heidi June 16, 2015 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Wow! Thanks for doing all the homework. One of these days, I need to get brave and give this a try. Your bands look awesome!

  2. Melissa June 16, 2015 at 9:01 am - Reply

    These are so cool and a great way to add characters that are lesser known or not as popular. I may have to give this a try! 🙂

  3. Julie B. June 16, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

    Awesome tutorial Mary! You did all the troubleshooting for us 🙂 My son was looking over my shoulder just now and says, “I want the Buzz Lightyear one!”

  4. Anne June 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    I am so excited to try this! Thank you for sharing it and helping to answer my questions about it!

  5. Rosanne @ What's the Point? June 17, 2015 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Such great tips. I am getting my first magic band (shocking, I know right?) for my trip this fall and I’m looking forward to trying this out!

  6. Lisa @Home is Where the Mouse is June 20, 2015 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Those are amazing! I think I’ll try the vinyl method first. Seems like something I can do. Thanks for the detailed instructions!

  7. Tempest June 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Im a newbie at trying all this. How did you get it to print to the template? Did you use photoshop or something to manipulate the shape? How do you get the different pics to print all at once?

    • mary June 24, 2015 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Tempest – I do use photoshop but many other programs will do the same thing. Any digital scrapbooking software or even Gimp (it’s free and a lot like photoshop). If you don’t have the program I did include in my subscriber freebies a printable of all the ones I designed. It will work just by printing. Hope that helps!

      • Fancy Dalgo September 2, 2015 at 9:49 am - Reply

        Hi Ms Mary….I subscribed to your site in July but I never received the Freebie Printables with the designs already on them…they are great designs & I was hoping to use some of them for our trip coming very soon…just let me know if I did something wrong not to have received them —— also, I was wondering if you apply any kind of adhesive spray of ANY type of base coat to aid the waterslide decals in adhering to the band? I agree with you on the matte finish spray for the top coat (I’m not a fan of the glossy look either) but is that also all you use to “seal” the ban when complete? —- Thanks in advance!!

  8. Jennifer Kaufman June 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness, those look SO good! Thanks for providing such detailed directions. I didn’t know about the Inkjet Vinyl, it could be useful for so many things.

  9. Amanda August 26, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Are these types of printing paper/decals able to be purchased at basic office supply or craft stores? Or is the only way to buy them online through these specific distributors?

    • Mary Connor August 30, 2015 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Hi Amanda. I have found they can be hit and miss at the craft stores. Some may have it but the exact same store in another town does not. Best bet is Amazon. They also have the best prices so far!

  10. Siobhan September 25, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Hi i subscribed but also have not received the files for the magicbands. can you please assist.

    Thank you

    • Mary September 26, 2015 at 8:37 am - Reply

      Hi Siobhan. You should have received an e-mail with a link and password to all my freebies. Check you spam folder for it. If you still do not see it e-mail me at maryd73@capturingmagicalmemories.com and I will get you set up.

  11. Jamie November 22, 2015 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for the tutorial! I have purchased the waterproof vinyl through your link (I hope you get credit for that). Anyway, I was just curious to know if there is a different size template for the kids bands or if they were both the same. Thanks!

  12. CHERYL November 24, 2015 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    How did you design the picture and get it to print in the shape of the magic band? You are very kind to give a template, but what do I do with it?

  13. Galonii November 28, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Disney world now has at store in space mnt that you get any band almost any color, with any custom print, and they have white and purple!

  14. sara March 6, 2016 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    How do i use Gimp and the templates to make my own decals?

  15. Tracy March 10, 2016 at 12:53 am - Reply

    Do you think Rub-Onz Transfer Film by Grafix would work? http://www.grafixarts.com/products/rub-onz-transfer-film/

    • Cam May 22, 2016 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      Did you try this? I’m also wondering!

  16. kristie w March 15, 2016 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Hi Mary, I am a newsletter subscriber but don’t see this file. Do you have it available anywhere else? I want to try to cut with my cricut. Trip is in 10 days!!

  17. Jayne Karpen June 4, 2016 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Hi, I just subscribed to your mailing list and am looking for info on making my own magic band covers using my cricut. Where can I find your template. It looks great!

  18. abettens August 11, 2016 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Hi, I did not receive the designs printables for the magic bands that have already have designs on them. Also not sure how to use photoshop to get design made that does not look stretched. Is there or can you make a video of how you do that.

  19. mccreel August 28, 2016 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I signed up and received email with password but the page is not taking it. I tried multiple times, it just keeps saying it’s password protected and won’t let me in.

  20. Paulette September 5, 2016 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Your template is great but your process, while gets the results, is way more complicated than it needs to be. After uploading the template and adding it to the design canvas, change the color, add the images and size them and then select all and flatten. Flatten makes all the layers one print then cut image. BAM! That’s it. You’re ready to cut! For more info on using Design Space, come join Cricut Lovers Guide to Design Space group on FB. :)

    • Mary September 5, 2016 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Paulette,
      You do have a point if the images the person wants to use fit on the MagicBand. (I will need to update this post with that disclaimers) The tutorial above is when you wanted to have the images larger and you need to slice through the parts hanging over. There are definitely some nuances to that (i.e. slicing another print and cut when it is rotated goes wonky) that the video addresses. Oh – and I have been a member of that group for a long time. Have learned a lot there! 🙂

  21. leadawn02 November 28, 2016 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Trying to see your Disney band templates you have made to possibly use some, I’ve subscribed and can’t get through.

  22. Christine December 31, 2016 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Will you provide an updated file now that the Magic bands have been updated with a new shape? I can’t figure out how to create the template.

  23. Anna January 13, 2017 at 11:57 am - Reply

    I can’t find the templates of the ones you have created either even though I am a subscriber. Could you email me? annabethMB@yahoo.com

  24. Jennifer January 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Do you have a template for the Magic bands 2?

    • Shannon February 17, 2017 at 9:47 am - Reply

      That would be awesome!!

  25. Amy January 28, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    I was also wondering if you had a template for the Magic Band 2.0?

  26. Trish February 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Used this template for my kids last yr and worked like a charm. We have the 2.0 and wonderi NV the same? New template for 2.0 please!

  27. Shawn yearley February 12, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Hi I got the email subscribing but when I put the password in it doesn’t do anything would like to see the templates
    Thanks

  28. Lacie March 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Do you print this out with a inkjet printer first and then tell your cricut to print the band itself? Or do you print the band itself and then print olaf out and place him on the band?

  29. Lindsay Raele March 22, 2017 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Hi! Do you have an updated template for the new
    Magic bands? I can’t wait to try this but I’m very new (my cricut is on its way in the mail) and I’m just trying to do a ton of research before starting any projects!

  30. Robin May 2, 2017 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    I would like the template for the updated new band design if you have it

    • Mary Connor June 3, 2017 at 6:06 am - Reply

      Probably more towards the end of the year. We are building a house and ALL my craft stuff is in storage until October. (yes, that is correct – I am cut off until then) At that time this will be my number one task!

  31. Annalyce May 26, 2017 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Will you be uploading the template for the magic band 2.0?

    • Mary Connor June 3, 2017 at 6:05 am - Reply

      Probably more towards the end of the year. We are building a house and ALL my craft stuff is in storage until October. (yes, that is correct – I am cut off until then) At that time this will be my number one task!

  32. Sarah October 26, 2017 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Will you be uploading a template for the magic band 2.0?

  33. Miranda January 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Hi. I have watched this video at least 10 times. I still cannot figure out how to slice a print to cut image. Why does mine turn all black? Please help.

    • Katy February 2, 2018 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      It is suppose to. You need to remove the layers of your cut. Use your mouse and drag off to side till it is clear where your cut is.

  34. Jeab February 18, 2018 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Hi there! Did you by chance make the template for the 2.0 bands? *fingers crossed*

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