Friday, April 18, 2008

All rub ons are NOT created equal

One day my mom comes over with this little package of rub ons from Walmart for Pinky. It has some bright, sweet little images of old tattoo flash and one of them strikes me as being a potential pendant.
So after Pinkerton and I spend some time rubbing these all over her stuff, I sneak a couple for myself and apply them to some already created polymer bases that were set aside for embossing.
I loved how they turned out, the first few did not sell as quickly as my other pendants though and I started searching for more companies that sold rub ons (otherwise known as transfers) and found a whole slew of them.
Setting aside some of my profits from other sales (just like I did with the stamps) I saved enough to buy a huge amount of rub ons from Fancy Pants, Making Memories, Hambly, Basic Grey and American Crafts.
It took a long time to find the right ones for the right price, but eventually I did and had them here to play with within a month.

My review on these is as follows;
Basic Grey....
I adore Basic Grey. This designer (I've forgotten her name) singly handedly changed the scrap booking industry from cookie cutter mainstream to hip, urban, edgy art design.
Although I do not have much time for scrap booking these days, I still use Basic Grey as inspiration for a lot of my personal color choices and indications on what images may be good sellers.
For instance the tree image above on mint ( getting ready to list some on pearl) has been a great seller for me and appeals to a wide market.
The rub ons themselves I give an 8 out of 10.
Love the size , the black silhouettes, and the nature inspired images BUT... although they rub off well enough they have a tendency to curl at the edge of the image making it difficult to achieve a totally smooth surface I like to have on all my pendants.
There are also a ton of itty bitty flowers, hearts and whirly gigs that are packed onto a sheet and get in the way, they are hard to get a grip while rubbing so I end up throwing them away. This is an affront to my frugal nature. But over all, I like them and they have done well.

Up next is Fancy Pants.

Gorgeous imagery. Beautiful, lush and colorful botanicals with some vintage influence.

I invested a lot in these because I love to work in themes and they had several with wonderful titles like Paris Market and Aged Florals.
They were a great size for pendants and could be cut apart easily for more then one image, making it a bit easier to re-list an item without having to retype a whole new listing.

However on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being bad and 10 being fantastic, I give them a 5. :(

Once they were cut apart they slid around and picked up dust and lint easily, plus they just didn't want to rub off on a polymer base. I thought that maybe this was because of the smooth nature of the polymer but found when I tried it on paper I had difficulty getting it to stay on the paper surface also.
I didn't even make my money back on these, with only 6 pendants turning out well enough to sell.

Hambly Studios

This company has actually been around for a long time, they are so hot right now because of the flat, modern graphics they do with hand silk screening.
What they've come up with is adorable!
Modern design, small and large sizes on the same sheet (more on that later) , comes in a variety of colors and most importantly people really like them. I mean really. I finish a batch and list them, within a week they are usually sold.
When I first ordered them I freaked out because they came on 8 by 11 sheets, the images I liked the most were just too dang large for pendants. I thought I lost about $200.00!
But after sitting down with them and separating the images, I was able to make enough off each sheet to bring in a profit. And by that time I realized they were for sure sellers so I could continued to invest in them. I even got a little creative with the header that comes on each one and made several pendants with the scroll work.
All in all I give them a 9, my only complaint is they take a lot of pressure to transfer the design and I broke several pieces as I learned how to get a feel for this.
I have since made a few pieces of mixed media art with them and found it difficult to rub them off on paper also. If they created their silk-screened image on the same material as Basic Grey does the would be a perfect 10.

Making Memories.

Sweet and simple, but not very good for polymer pendants. I like using these as title flourishes in my art journals and I hope to save them for when I am able to scrap book for Pinky as she is very sweet also. :)
You can see the outline of the image on the base and they don't stick to polymer as well as Hambly or Basic Grey. The above is the only pendant I really liked using their rub ons.
They also do not give you an option to really see what you are buying, preferring to keep it a secret with only a few images printed on the back as a preview but those are not to size and therefore difficult to design with.
I am afraid I give Making Memories a 2.

For the latest and newest rub on edition to my line of pendants is American Crafts Mini Marks.
I loved the colors of the first set I purchased ( I am learning to not buy huge amounts of things I haven't used before, so I am not stuck with a lot of stuff that just sits there, lol.)

Lime green, pale blue, brown, with pink and red accents. FABULOUS!

I was able to mix these up with Basic Grey's new Boxer rub ons and created an earthy, organic line of beautiful, unique, one of a kind pieces I hope to have listed over the weekend.
They had a varitey of sizes which transfered easily, varnished well and will hopefully give me a good return for my investment. I give them a 10.

So, there you have it! My review of the first 5 companies I have worked with to develop a new type of pendant women can express themselves with and enjoy for years.
Let me know what you think. I welcome comments on my information, writing style and inspiration from photos!


  1. They are oh, so beautiful! I'm loving them all, but I'm especially drawn to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd one. Love, love, love them!!

  2. Thank you!
    I mulled over each company and what I created from each of them for a long time before posting this!

  3. LOVE them! I like the bird the best, and the tree too. So sweet!

  4. Love that white bird on mocca pendant! So cool!
    You have done great job trying out something new and reviewing it for others!!!!
    I`m going to your shop to read all fantastic titles you have given them :)

  5. I LOVE your jewelry. You have a softness about you and very relaxing style. Love it.
    Sister to Candace(C Gail Designs). I own(or my daughter owns) one of your pendants. I will be purchasing more.

  6. Gorgeous! I love the multicolored flowing flowery look you achieved and the simple mod look of the tree too. You really do find the coolest stamps and images. Hope they sell like mad!


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