Review: Rub-On Decals

While my experience with Bake-On Decal Paper was outstanding, my experiments with Rub-On Decal Paper by Papilio did not turn out as well. The basic premise of this paper is that you print your decals on this special clear paper, spray it with adhesive, turn it over, and rub the decal onto the surface. The ink transfers to the surface along with a thin clear film, and after a day or two it becomes fairly strong.

The problems with using this paper for minimates were clear right from the start. I designed a copy of the Marvel wave 6 Iron Man chest and face decals, and used them on a Twilight Frodo wiped clean. After applying the face decal, rubbing it on, and peeling off the paper backing, I noticed that the decal had hundreds of tiny wrinkles on it. I tried to smooth them out with both my finger and a damp brush, but many of the wrinkles folded over and became a permanent fold. If I tried too hard to smooth them out the decal would tear. I tried this five more times, trying different things each time, such as stretching out the decal as I applied it. I also tried rubbing the decal using coins and credit cards. The end result was the same every time.

The chest decal went on a little more smoothly. There were not as many wrinkles, and I was able to smooth out almost all of them. The clear film that the decal leaves has a glossy sheen to it, making it easy to see the edges of it on a semi-gloss minimate. Also, after a few days of sitting out, I found that these decals were not nearly as strong as the bake-on decals.

I contacted Papilio, the company that makes this paper, to make sure I was not doing something wrong. They told me that I was doing everything correctly, but this paper was not designed for small curved surfaces, such as minimate heads. They recommended the bake-on decals, and I told them about the great experience I had with that paper.

So I still have nine sheets of rub-on decal paper remaining. Even though it works for chest decals, I prefer the stronger bake-on decals instead. I might try printing some backgrounds on this paper and apply it to larger pieces of plastic, and use them as back-drops for my minimate collection.

Its unfortunate that this paper didn’t work out, but it was definitely worth a shot. I have some other products that I will be experimenting with on minimates. As always, I will post the results here. 🙂

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5 Responses

  1. Captain Minimate says:

    What a shame, these decals don’t work as well.
    Can we get some pictures of the failed Iron Man and the rub-on decal?

  2. Luke314pi says:

    Unfortunately I destroyed the decals while testing their strength, and I forgot to take pics beforehand. 🙁

  3. groundhog7s says:

    Thanks for sharing your trials-hopefully I can avoid some of your errors.
    I have been wondering what program you use to design your decals or if there’s somewhere to find designs ready to print (other than the ones you created). Like, where did you have the design for the Iron Man? Was it just something you did on your own?

  4. Luke314pi says:

    All of my decals were created in Adobe Illustrator. There is a free 30-day trial of this software available at the Adobe website. However, you might want to hold off on downloading it now, as I am about 30 days away from releasing a free tutorial on how to design decals using this software.

    I don’t know of any other site that has minimate decals ready to print other than this one. I will be posting a third decal pack in the next two weeks, with a fourth decal pack following soon afterwards. I won’t be able to release the Iron Man designs, as I simply copied the official one. I can only release original designs here.

    I hope that helps!

  5. groundhog7s says:

    It does help. I can’t wait to see what you have to offer.