Over the last few months, I’ve been collecting some of the rub-on/rub-down/transfer stickers. I grew up using rub-on transfer letters known sold by Letraset and other companies so the revival of rub-on graphics is a bit nostaligc for me.
Each set includes instructions on the back in both Japanese and English which is helpful. Unlike regular stickers or washi, transfer/rub-on stickers are rubbed onto the paper and will not have any noticeable edges. They can be opaque or transparent which makes them fun for layering over collage or other elements in your journal or notebook.
In order to use these rub-on transfer stickers, you’ll need scissors (I am using the Allex S-165F Office Scissors with non-stick fluorine coating, $16) and something to rub the stickers down. I used a bone folder but a coin, the side of a plastic card (like a credit card) or the end of a ruler would work too. You can also buy a wood tool like the MU Print-On Transfer Wooden Applicator ($1.95).
How to Apply Transfer/Rub-on Stickers:
Both sets include the sheet of stickers and a backing sheet. The backing sheet protects the stickers from sticking to the inside of the packaging. I recommend keeping the packaging to store the sheets after using to keep them protected. When applying the stickers, remove the protective sheet from the back of the sticker.
For best results, cut out the sticker you want to apply so that you do not press on the other stickers and accidentally apply them.
With the backer sheet removed, place the sticker where you want it on the page. I found it helpful to put a pencil board or other stiff board under my page as it made it easier to rub down the stickers. In the image above, I am using my bone folder to rub down the sticker. Work around the image in a methodical way to be sure you’ve rubbed all the details down.
Peel up a corner gently to make sure all the elements have been applied. You can put the transfer back down this way and rub a bit more if all the art did not apply to the page.
Once done, remove the transfer film. In the case of the Muji transfer stickers, some of the art did not transfer. I think more pressure or a harder under-surface would have made the transfer apply more cleanly.
Even with the tiny bits that didn’t transfer, the art looks really bright and pretty on the page.
I walked through the same process with the MU stickers as well.
After I cut out the art, I removed the backing sheet and I placed it in the position where I wanted to apply it.
I rubbed it down using the same technique as the Midori transfer stickers.
Then I removed the transfer film. In the case of the MU stickers, the artwork applied completely with no residue.
Based on my overall results, I am more inclined to recommend the MU transfer stickers over the Midori as they seem to apply more easily and also the cost less for more stickers. Of course, for you, the designs will be a deciding factor. There are more playful, whimsical designs available from Midori transfer stickers as well as metallic gold transfer stickers which look SO COOL! The MU transfer stickers are available in more nature-themed and watercolor-style designs.
Are you going to try these out for yourself? Which styles do you like better?