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All You Need to Know About Applying Redesign Rub on Transfers.

All You Need to Know About Applying Redesign Rub on Transfers.

I have to admit to having a mild obsession with rub on furniture transfers. 

Why? Well, they add colour, and depth to painted pieces, jazz up plain timber surfaces, provide a stunning focal point and you can use them for so many different things. Seriously, you are limited only by your imagination! I have seen pictures of transfers on fridges, washing machines, and even found a “blinged up” Kitchen Aid Mixer (too much maybe?) 🙄

The last, but certainly not least reason is - it’s FUN!

Sweet Sage Bedside with Redesgn Transfer Bird on the HIll Designs

Prima make a huge range of Redesign rub on transfers, and we have a great range of different designs, and continue to add to the collection on a regular basis, so make sure you are an email subscriber to find out about new releases. Redesign Decor Transfers can be cut up into sections to suit the size of your project or left in the original size panels for larger projects. The handy, grid guides on the backing paper make it easy to align them on your surface, and ensure a good fit if placing two sections together.

The generous sizes of the  transfer design means you could potentially use it in multiple projects, which makes them great value as well as versatile.

If you're placing your transfer onto a painted surface, you need to ensure the paint has dried thoroughly. Wait for at least 48 hours to a week, depending on the type of paint you’re using and the manufacturers recommendations. it’s important to be patient and follow this rule. I learnt the hard way - first time I used a transfer on a larger scaled project and being impatient, ended up with paint lifting in a few places from the friction caused with rubbing as the paint hadn't had time to cure. 

For our Vintage Bird Furniture Paint, we recommend waiting 3 to 5 days in normal conditions, or a little longer in cold, or humid weather. 

If using our Vintage Bird Milk Paint, we recommend waiting 3 days, and depending on the surface you have painted with the milk paint, to avoid further chipping, we recommend applying a sealer over the paint prior to using the transfer. Birds Special Bond (BSB) is perfect for this as it dries to a matte finish, not changing the look or texture of your milk paint. One coat is enough. Allow the bond to dry for 12 hours once applied.

Rub On Transfer tools and How to by Bird on the Hill Designs

Ensure your chosen piece is clean and dry. The surface doesn’t have to be completely smooth, however if too rough, it will be difficult for the transfer to adhere evenly. You don’t need to sand the area before starting if painted with furniture paint, milk paint, chalk paint or other common acrylic and oil based paints. 

Leave the backing paper in place until you are ready to apply the transfer. Play around with the positioning to ensure you’re happy with it. 

Once you have done this, ensure that you have a stable surface to work on. If applying transfers to a vertical surface, ensure the ground is even and the piece won’t rock or move during the process. 

Gently peel the backing paper from the plastic and place it in the position you have chosen. Once the transfer comes into contact with the surface, you can’t move it again without risking some of the image adhering to the spot it was in, so be sure you have the right spot!

How to apply rub on furniture transfers by Bird on the Hill Designs

For larger transfers, once I have measured to find the centre and then worked out where I want the design to be, I use small pieces of masking tape placed on the furniture surface to make it easy to line up the transfer. This is especially helpful if you want the transfer to sit perfectly straight.

Once in place, smooth it out gently with your hands, and then using the wooden transfer tool that comes in each tube, start firmly, but gently rubbing using an even pressure over the entire surface. It’s easier to know where you have and haven’t been if you start from an upper corner and work your way down and out from one side to the other. 

Hold the transfer tool so the flat end is in contact with the surface at approx 45 degrees.


How to apply Rub on Furniture transfers by Bird on the Hill Designs

Once you have followed this process over the whole of the transfer surface, you can slowly pull the plastic back, checking to ensure all pieces have adhered. 

If you have any sections that are still attached to the plastic, gently lay it back on the surface and rub over the area as above.

Rather than lifting the transfer sheet off in one action, fold it back over it’s self, like you would with contact when covering a book. This will make it easier to place back in the exact spot if you have any areas that need some more friction to adhere. 

Once peeled off, you can dispose of the plastic sheet. 

You will need to seal over the top of your transfer to make maintenance easier, and ensure it’s not damaged. There are two products I use for this depending on the finish I want.

If I want a matte finish and want to sand over the transfer surface to lightly distress, I use a coat of BSB. This will dry clear and also allows for you to then apply hemp oil over the finished product for improved moisture and chip resistance and make it easy to clean. 

If a subtle sheen is the look you're after, then our Silk Clear Coat in the Eggshell Finish is perfect for the job and will provide a moisture proof, durable finish.

If using Hemp Finishing Oil, I apply one coat of BSB evenly over the surface covered by the transfer, allow a few hours drying time and then repeat. To sand, I use 600 grit sandpaper to ensure I don’t damage the transfer by tearing the edges. 

That’s it! You have finished your masterpiece, now enjoy and show it off! 

Fuchsia-Sunset-Redesign-Decor-Transfer-on Maldivian-coloured-vintage-blanket-chest-painted-at-Bird-on-the-Hill-Studio

If you have any questions, you can email us using the form on the Contact page from the main menu.

If you are looking for some inspiration, check out our Instagram and Pinterest. I have a Pinterest board just for painted and decorated furniture. Don’t forget to send me a picture or two of your finished work. I love seeing what you all create!

 Find our range of Redesign Transfers here

Prima Redesign Transfers available at Bird on the Hill Designs

Happy painting (and transferring),


Chief Paint Addict at Bird on the Hill.