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Wholly Cow – A Basic Grey Rub-on Transfer Review

Reported by Julia Stainton

Rub-on Transfers…I love using them! So clean, crisp, quick and easy to use, I love their distinctive look. Add that to the ornate but hip look of Basic Grey and I am sold. I admit it. I’m a Basic Grey rub-on addict and I own at least 3/4 of their rub-on transfers. Considering Basic Grey has about eighty-one rub-on transfer packages listed on their site, I think yes…it does count as a serious addiction.

Now what is it that I just love about Basic Grey’s Wholy Cow Rub-on Transfers? First of all, the style. A fabulous mix of clean, ornate, and vintage, these rub-ons are totally hip and transcend a myrid of styles. While many rub-on manufacturers limit themselves to sentiments, Basic Grey has a fabulous mix of images and words and there seems to be a rub-on for every occasion imaginable. Sentiments, images, seasonal rub-ons, alphabets, borders, flourishes…you name it, Basic Grey makes it. I love it that many of the sentiments are also combined with an image making a beautiful statement. The rub-on transfers also come with a range of sizes in each package making it easy to find a design to suit your needs.

Another thing I love about Basic Grey Wholy Cow rub-on transfers is their flexibility. These rub-ons are designed to work well for cardmaking and altered papercrafts as well as the scrapbooking market. Many papercraft companies design their transfers primarily for scrapbooking which can be difficult to use in smaller projects. It may be the size or the phrasing but some rub-on transfers can be very difficult to use in other projects. As I am primarily a designer of cards and small altered projects, I love this flexibility. The scale is perfect for my needs as well as the phrasing.


Basic Grey Wholy Cow Rub-ons are also extremely flexible in the surfaces you can use them on. Unlike stamps that tend to limit themselves to flat surfaces, rub-on transfers are easy to apply to curved surfaces. Don’t just stop at applying them to paper either. Think frames, painted surfaces, chipboard, metal, acetate, even glass. I’ve had great success applying the Basic Grey rub-on transfers to all these surfaces. Glass especially can be a difficult surface to apply rub-on transfers to…believe me I know this. While some rub-on transfers make you grit your teeth while applying to glass…Basic Grey rub-ons transfer very easily.

When creating scrapbook layouts or card designs with multi-layers, using rub-on tranfers can give you a very clean, graphic look. In digital scrapbooking, I love the look of text and flourishes spanning across layers of the design. Using rub-on transfers, it is easy to create this look and span different layers of paper without getting a gap in the image. As long as there is not a huge difference in the thickness of the layers, the rub-ons will hold together for a smooth look.

Basic Grey rub-on transfers are also extremely flexible in use for light and dark backgrounds. Most Wholy Cow Rub-on Transfers are available in both black and white transfers for each style. I love the look of the white transfers on black or dark designs. It gives a very different special look that is very unique and professional. Instead of being limited to using light surfaces, those dark ones really pop with the addition of white rub-ons. Just released with Basic Grey’s last line, Figgy Pudding, a new color of rub-on has been added to the white and black options. I love the new brown rub-ons…a great vintage look alternative.


If you’ve never tried rub-on transfers before, Basic Grey’s line is extremely easy to use. Simply remove from package, cut around your shape, remove paper backing, hold firmly in place and apply to your surface. These rub-on transfers come with a popsicle stick in the package that you can use for burnishing your transfer onto your surface. Truly, this is all you will need. I have tried lots of other rub-on transfer manufacturers with different degrees of success. Some are very difficult to apply without a metal stylus-type tool. The Basic Grey transfers apply easily and because of this, it is very rare for the transfer to slip while applying to your design. If you do make an error while applying your rub-ons…they are easily removed with an adhesive eraser.

To store your rub-on transfers, I would suggest carefully sliding the remaining transfers back into their package and storing them carefully. My method of choice is to hang them up with a clip-type storage unit to prevent them from getting creased in a drawer. Keep the backing on your rub-ons until ready to use as they will stick to the wrapping if you don’t.

Basic Grey Rub-on Transfers are a great alternative to other tranditional ways of adding embellishment and sentiments. These rub-ons are acid and lingin free and are perfectly safe for adding to your heirloom or long-term projects. The price is fabulous, retailing at approximately $3.50 US a package. Perfect for projects where you don’t what to repeat the same image over and over… this buys a lot of projects from one single sheet. Basic Grey Wholy Cow Rub-on transfers are a staple in my craft room and I’m looking forward to seeing what will be released next. If you are interested in giving rub-ons a try, why not try out Basic Grey. I know you’ll love them…wholy cow, I do!

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2 Responses to Wholly Cow – A Basic Grey Rub-on Transfer Review

  1. Avatar
    Regina Davis November 14, 2007 at 11:31 am #

    Fantastic article, Julia! I completely agree with all of it. I, too, am an addict and am always buying more.

  2. Avatar
    bec November 14, 2007 at 10:46 pm #

    rub-ons make everything more easy while still looking cool.