Do you remember Letraset? Those sheets of letters that came on a sheet of plastic that when rubbed over with a soft pencil could be transferred onto a sheet of paper? I’m sure you can still get them from places like Staples of other office supply shops.
Well, the Rub Down Transfers I’m thinking of were very similar to these, and indeed the first instances of them were made by the company that made Letraset. Instead of little letters on the plastic sheet you had full colour pictures which could be rubbed off onto paper or cardboard to make an interesting scene.
Also known as Action Transfers or by the brand name Kalkitos, you normally bought them as a pack containing a sheet of the transfers and a thin cardboard background image onto which you could rub the transfers to make an instant piece of artwork.
Sometimes you also got a special plastic wand that you could use instead of a pencil to rub the transfer down, but I always preferred using a pencil since you could more easily tell when you had rubbed over the entire image, so you didn’t lift the plastic too soon and leave half the image behind.
There were a huge number of sets to choose from, some licensed from films and TV programmes (I remember having a set for E.T.) whilst others were of more generic themes such as wild or farm animals, cars, superheroes and much more.
I certainly enjoyed playing with these as a child, and they have recently been relaunched in Singapore. Head over to the Kalkitos website if you want to learn more though, as they apparently will ship worldwide.