Is There A Way to Decorate a Stainless Steel Water Bottle That Won’t Just Wash Off (Simple and Sophisticated Options highlighted)

Way to Decorate a Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Last Updated on July 12, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

You can decorate a stainless steel water bottle using simple home methods like glitters, paints, stickers, nail polish, or more complex and expensive processes like printing and powder coating. These options maintain the decorating materials’ integrity and won’t wash off.

Below we will give you a step-by-step guide on each method to help you get along with ease and complete your project. 

Read on!

Ways of decorating stainless steel water bottles (Simple options) 

decorating stainless steel water bottles

Using stickers

Stickers are a great way of making the bottle aesthetic, and they don’t wash off easily as you can always remove and replace them. Grab stickers of your choice from several places as you travel and accumulate them for your bottle. Your bottle’s color does not matter. You can go for vinyl decals as they are the most appropriate for a stainless steel water bottle since these stickers do not fade.

1. Applying stickers to your bottle

Step 1: Wipe the stainless steel water bottle with a dry cloth

Use Isopropyl alcohol detergent to wipe your bottle as water and soap may leave the residue behind, which won’t look good with stickers.  

Step 2: Wipe down the water bottle using a paper towel

Avoid using cloth during this step to ensure no fibers are left behind. 

Step 3: Remove the sticker’s backing and stick it on your bottle

Start from one end and work your way to the other end. Also, ensure no air bubble is trapped as you wrap the sticker around the bottle. 

How to protect stickers on water bottles

To protect stickers on water bottles and ensure their longevity, it is important to take certain precautions. Follow these guidelines to preserve the vibrant colors and design of your stickers:

  • Choose High-Quality Stickers: Opt for durable, waterproof stickers that are specifically designed for outdoor use. These stickers are more resistant to fading, peeling, and damage caused by exposure to water and sunlight.
  • Clean the Surface: Before applying the sticker, ensure that the surface of the water bottle is clean and dry. Remove any dust, dirt, or residue using a mild soap and water solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers that can damage the sticker or the bottle.
  • Proper Application: Carefully apply the sticker onto the water bottle, ensuring it is centered and aligned correctly. Smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles by using a credit card or your fingers. Be gentle to avoid tearing or stretching the sticker.
  • Protective Coating: Consider applying a clear, protective coating over the sticker for added durability. Products such as clear waterproof adhesive laminates or clear spray sealants can protect the sticker from fading, scratches, and moisture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the protective coating appropriately.
  • Handwashing Only: To prevent damage to the sticker, avoid putting the water bottle with the sticker in the dishwasher. Instead, wash it by hand using a mild soap and water solution. Gently scrub around the sticker area to avoid peeling or scratching it.
  • Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Extreme heat or cold can cause the sticker to deteriorate. Avoid exposing the water bottle to extreme temperature conditions such as leaving it in a hot car or placing it in the freezer. Opt for insulated or double-walled bottles to regulate the internal temperature.
  • Store Properly: When not in use, store the water bottle in a cool and dry area. Avoid stacking or piling other objects on top of it to prevent pressure or abrasion that may damage the sticker.

2. Painting

You can make a stainless steel water bottle as decorative as possible by using painting techniques that won’t peel off. Paint will also prevent rusting, which goes a long way in enhancing the durability of your bottle. Choose your favorite colors and make paintings of lovely shapes, fashion trends, or anything that interests you. As a reminder, use a plain stainless steel bottle to get the right view of the pictures. 

Use paint primers like white gesso with a small paintbrush and a foam applicator. Let the bottle dry for at least one hour if applying different coats. Embellish the bottle by applying rub-ons sold at art and craft shops to cover the desired areas. Finish by sealing with light glazer coats and allow it to dry overnight before using it. Only wash the bottle by hand and use soapy water and then allow it to dry before using it. Never use dishwater as it will wash off the embellishments. 

Consider using acrylic paint to give your water bottle a lovely appearance and improves its lifespan. It perfectly replicates your bottle’s appearance and adheres well to it. The paint also doesn’t wash off like other contemporary types. Its coat on a metal surface is effective enough to accomplish the job.

3. Using nail polish

The waterproof properties of nail polish make it one of the best ways to decorate your stainless steel water bottles. It also works well if you can not manage to keep your bottle out of the dishwasher when cleaning it. It comes in different colors, and you can choose the best combination according to what you want. You can apply the nail polish on the bottle at home, but if you want great and sophisticated designs, you can consult an expert at a small fee. 

4. Making use of a decal

You can use a decal of something that interests you to decorate your water bottle. This could be your name, logo, favorite animal, or even a phrase that caught your attention in a certain television program. Customize to make it unique and attractive in these simple steps:


  • Your chosen bottle decal
  • Squeegee
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Weeding pick
  • Transfer tape


  • Clean the outside of your stainless steel water bottle with rubbing alcohol. This ensures all particles are eliminated, leaving your bottle sparkling clean.
  • Using a weeding pick, cut out the decal from the vinyl. Cut it carefully without distorting any part of the symbol to make it visible after you are done with your project. Lay the transfer tape on the vinyl as well.
  • Use a squeegee to rub the tape. Make sure it transfers properly without leaving an air bubble inside. 
  • Peel off the vinyl’s back and line up the tape, observing that it is straight, before placing it on the water bottle. 
  • Once more, confirm the placement on the bottle and use a squeegee to rub the stuck image on the bottle to adhere properly. 
  • Slowly remove the transfer tape to leave your decal, and your image will be left intact. 

Let the decal stay for 2 to 3 days to allow enough time to stick properly. At this point, take care of the bottle by preventing exposure to moisture. 

5. Go classic, and decorate your water bottle with markers

Investing in some markers to add flair to your water bottle presents it with an intricate pattern. Usually, these markers are permanent and waterproof, so there is no need to worry about them coming off. These pens create clean and nice designs and are better because paint can get messy. You need to browse online to get a pattern of your choice if you are short of decorating ideas for a stainless steel water bottle. An alternative is watching some videos to learn the skill and do it yourself, but leaving it to the pros will be a great idea. 

6. Giving your water bottle a glittery update

Hand-poured glitters are known to wash off, but there’s an exception. Not all glitters are the same. Glitters involving glue and sealants are the best when deciding to decorate your bottle. Glitters never go out of style and therefore become good when improving the beauty of your bottle. However, avoid using sealants like Modge Podge because they easily wash off. Instead, opt for acrylic for proper adhesion of glitters on your water bottle.

Which is the best decorating water sealant for stainless steel water bottles?

decorating water sealant for stainless steel water bottles

Most decorating materials will wash off with time. Besides, they cannot withstand harsh conditions like sunlight, rain, and a moist environment. It becomes a challenge because you are restricted from using dishwashers to clean them. 

Cricut Premium Permanent Vinyl is the best and can last for almost three years without washing off. Its properties and decorative nature make it suitable for stainless steel water bottles. It is the same type of vinyl used to add decals to mailboxes and cars. 

Other ways of decorating your water bottle (Complex and requires expert) 

decorating your water bottle


This method is expensive but pays in the long run. Begin by choosing a particular image to engrave on the bottle. A speedy laser engraver produces the best design and artistic work for words, phrases, and pictures with varying paint colors. There are no problems with cleaning after engraving since all images and text are engraved in silver. 

The advantage of engraving is that the decorated surfaces last long and do not wash off, making it a better option. Whether you prefer normal or dark colors, molds, and stamps, it is possible to give your bottle a new, admirable look.

Powder coating

This will be the best option if you have a stainless steel water bottle specifically for sports. You can decorate your bottle with your team’s logo, favorite player, etc. In addition to decorating the bottle, it makes it powerful, durable, and less slippery. Moreover, the spraying effect applied in the powder coating is superior to painting in terms of corrosion resistance, mechanical strength, resistance, and adhesion. Without a doubt, your bottle will not be prone to washing off. 


Printing is another great way of beautifying your water bottle and differentiating it from the rest based on color, shape, and design pattern. Printing also distinguishes the bottle users in age. For instance, decorating a bottle of a schooling kid with an image of a cartoon and motivational quotes for youths and adults depicts great contrast. You can choose from the available printing methods like color printing, custom printing, logo printing, or screen printing, among other options. 

In addition, printing offers more beautiful and durable markings on stainless steel surfaces, including multiple color artworks with gradations that easily fit any chosen form of artwork. Printed images rarely wash off and may stay for years with proper maintenance. 

Laser beams are used during the printing process to compress the colors and make them adhere tightly to the bottle. This presents an advantage over traditional methods that do not allow you to expose the bottles to moist surfaces for long. Prints also withstand high temperatures, and they are good for stainless steel surfaces.

Final Thoughts!

A stainless steel water bottle easily washes off when decorated, but choosing the right decorating materials makes it last longer. And although the best ways of ensuring the longevity of your bottle may be costly, consider using them as they pay in the long run. Methods such as printing, engraving, coating, or utilizing permanent markers ensure your stainless steel water bottle serves you for a long while preserving its beauty.