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What is Dry Transfer Printing? (Explained In Simple Terms!)

Dry transfer printing is a versatile technique that has been embraced by various industries for its precision and efficiency in transferring images.

This method offers a unique solution for creating crisp, professional designs without the use of liquid inks.

Here is everything you need to know about what dry rub off decal paper is and where you can buy some today:

What is Dry Transfer Printing?

Dry transfer printing, also known as rub-on transfer or letraset, is a process that allows users to transfer pre-printed images from a specialised backing sheet onto another surface through pressure.

The technique involves a sheet of images or text backed by a low-tack adhesive layer protected by a release liner.

To apply, one simply positions the image over the desired surface, rubs the back of the carrier sheet with a ruler or similar tool, and peels away the backing.

The result is a clean and detailed print that appears as though it was printed directly onto the substrate.

This printing method is particularly popular in graphic design, model-making, and various crafts because it allows for the application of detailed graphics without the need for printing equipment or drying time.

The images can be applied to a wide range of surfaces including paper, wood, glass, and plastic, making it a flexible choice for both professional and hobbyist applications.

You can browse our range of Dry Rub Off Decal Papers by clicking here. We have A4 and A3 sizes, clear and white colours, and various size packs available.

How Durable Are Dry Transfer Decals?

Dry transfer decals are pretty durable but their longevity can vary depending on several factors such as the surface they are applied to, the environment they are exposed to, and how they are handled.

Surface Compatibility: Dry transfers adhere best to smooth, non-porous surfaces. Rough or textured surfaces may reduce the adhesion and longevity of the decals.

Environmental Factors: Exposure to elements like sunlight, moisture, and high temperatures can degrade the adhesives and colours of dry transfer decals over time.

UV light can cause the colours to fade, while moisture can weaken the adhesive, causing the decals to peel off.

Handling and Care: Frequent handling or abrasive contact can wear down dry transfer decals more quickly.

However, if they are applied in areas that aren’t frequently touched or disturbed, they can last much longer.

For applications where durability is a critical factor, protective over coatings or laminates can be used to extend the life of dry transfer decals.

These coverings help protect the decals from environmental exposure and physical wear, significantly enhancing their durability.

What Can I Use Dry Rub Off Transfers On?

Dry rub-off transfers, also known as dry transfer decals, can be used on a variety of surfaces, making them highly versatile for both professional and hobbyist applications.

Here are some common surfaces where dry transfers can be effectively applied:

Paper and Cardstock: Ideal for adding text and images to business cards, invitations, or certificates. They are popular in scrapbooking and other paper crafts.

Plastic: Useful for labelling prototypes, manufacturing components, or customising plastic models and toys. Dry transfers adhere well to clean, smooth plastic surfaces.

Glass and Metal: Often used for decorative purposes or for adding labels on glassware and metal equipment. The surface should be clean and free from oils or dirt for the best adherence.

Wood: Can be used for artistic projects, custom woodworking, or decorative furniture. The smoother the wood surface, the better the adhesion and appearance of the transfer.

Leather and Fabrics: While not as common, dry transfers can be applied to leather goods like wallets, belts, and book covers. They are less suitable for stretchy or very soft fabrics.

Ceramics and Porcelain: Used for adding decorations or identifiers to ceramic dishes, tiles, or figurines. For best results, the application surface should be smooth, clean, and dry.

Depending on the specific use and expected wear, you might consider sealing the transfers with a clear coat or varnish to protect them from environmental factors and prolong their durability.


Dry transfer printing stands out for its simplicity and effectiveness, particularly in applications where traditional printing methods might be cumbersome or impractical.

Whether for industrial labelling, prototype development, or artistic projects, dry transfer offers a clean, efficient way to apply images and text directly to almost any surface.

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