Beware of Imitations: DIY Dry Transfers are No Substitute

gogo product mockup with dry transfers on packagingDry transfers, also called rubdown transfers, are made using film negatives and photosensitive chemicals that superimpose an image onto transfer substrate. Each custom dry transfer requires a negative to be made for each color in the image. Adhesive is applied at the same time so that it “sticks” smoothly in a way that fits the shape of the transfer surface, leaving behind no residue. We supply true dry transfers, and this is how they are made.

Adds that Professional Finishing Touch to 3D Models, Product Prototype & Packaging

Tria prototype by one of our customers has our dry transfer applied to finish the mock-upThere are imitation transfer-making systems out there that use ink-jet and laser printers to print on specialty paper (usually purchased from an Arts and Crafts store). Unfortunately, these imitation systems lack the color richness and opacity that can be achieved with photographic film. These are not true dry rubdowns and will only disappoint. ImageTransfers produces dry transfers, chromatecs and foils of the highest quality.

Image Transfers are custom dry rub-on transfer specialists. We make only one thing: custom rub down transfers for graphic designers, artists, and model-makers. A dry transfer (or rubdown) is an image printed on a translucent sheet. The image has a coating of adhesive on its back. The image is transferred from the translucent sheet onto another surface by applying light pressure in a rubbing motion. The dry transfer can be applied to any surface that is free of dust, grease or oil. Dry transfers are referred to as DRY because they are applied dry, without the use of water or solvents. A dry transfer is not a slip-off label or a water decal, instead, the transferred image appears as if it was printed directly onto the item. Our dry transfers are opaque because we back the colors with white, so our rubdowns can be applied to a surface of any color without changing the color of the rub-on transfer. We consider dry transfers a semi-permanent application. A top coat of clear lacquer can make them more permanent. Our production artists can match all Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors including Metallic. Standard transfers are semi-gloss but we also offer matte and uncoated finishes. We deliver within as little as 24 hours. -- Specialties: Custom Rub Down Dry Transfers, Art Gallery Signage & Museum Labels, Custom Transfers for Product Prototypes, Comps & Mock-ups, Dry Transfers for Scale Models. Decals for Glass and reversed transfer decals for inside glass cases.

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6 comments on “Beware of Imitations: DIY Dry Transfers are No Substitute
  1. Beth Hoss says:

    How large can a dry transfer be made? What is the cost and how do i get the artwork to you

    • Luann says:

      Beth, The largest size transfer we offer in a tabloid size (11″x17″). Clients usually gang up or repeat artwork to fill the artboard. Pricing is published right on our website. It is quite easy to get artwork to us. Just create an account at our website, drag and drop art, choose color and pay right on-line. Our turnaround is 24 to 48 hours. Hope we can work on this project with you.

  2. Joan Hoch says:

    I am an artist working on a watercolor painting based on a photograph. On the photo, there is is phonebox with vertical white lettering inside of a black box that is 2/8” X 5/8”. Can you make can you make press on letters (dry transfer or chromatec) that I can use for the painting?

    • Luann says:

      Joan, Yes this sounds doable. We would need vector artwork from you. Our smallest size is letter so clients usually gang-up/repeat art to fill the size area. Then you will have extras if you need them. We can run this in white. Pricing is published on our website. You can email art to or register on our website, drag and drop art and pay on-line. Normal turnaround is 24 to 48 hours. If you need help with artwork we can do that for an additional charge. We hope to work on this project with you.

  3. Tom Walker says:

    Have you ever used this process to produce number inserts for pinball machine playfields?

    • Luann says:

      Tom, Our transfers are lacquer ink with lacquer adhesive. Since adhesive is only on the image area, after applied it will look like your artwork/text is printed right on the substrate you apply them to. I don’t believe we have had a client use them for your type of project but we don’t see any issues with that application. We would suggest, for a more permanent solution, to spray the applied transfers with a clear lacquer spray. We can send you transfer samples but we ask potential clients to pay the FedEx pass along shipping charge. Please call the studio at (212) 928-7987 or email us at if you have more questions. We hope we can work on this project with you.

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