Applying Rub-On Transfers to a Curved Surface

Applying Rub-On Transfers to a Curved Surface

Wait til you see how easy it is to apply IOD Decor Transfers to any curved surface. Open up your mind, lay down your inhibitions - and don’t overthink it. Once you see me in action - you’ll grab every plain florist's vase in your cupboard and upcycle them into a thing of beauty!

True confessions - I used an empty wine bottle.

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This video was edited from a live Coffee & Create, filmed at the Two Girls Treasure Studio in Florence, South Carolina. After watching, come back here and scroll down for all the supplies I used and step-by-step instructions.


IOD Floral Anthology Transfer

Rethunk Junk Paint in Cotton

Rethunk Junk Paint in Peacock Feather

Rethink Junk Flat Top (Sealer)

Stain Pad 


Empty wine bottle or florist’s vase

Spray bottle for water

** Optional: Twine or beads to bedazzle the top


Whatever glass surface you chose for your project, make sure it’s clean and clear of any remnants of its previous life before you start. Once it’s shiny new - cover it completely with a base coat of Rethunk Junk Paint in Cotton (or any other neutral, light color) and set it aside to dry thoroughly. Rethunk Junk Paint will dry quickly but give your project 24 hours to be on the safe side. 

Rub-on transfers will react to a wet surface and lift. Letting your project surface dry completely will make certain your finished project lasts a long time.


I fell in love with the IOD Floral Anthology transfer the moment I saw all the beautiful Renaissance colors. It comes in a 12” x 16” pad that has several pages of transfers. You can cut them apart, so take your time choosing the right piece for your project - then cut it out.

Make sure the backing stays on the transfer until you’ve selected the orientation of your design and where you’ll place the transfer. When you’re satisfied, slip off the backing and wrap the transfer paper around the surface. (Min 0:50)


Using the plastic applicator that comes with the IOD Transfer, begin to rub on the transfer. Make sure you don’t push down or rub too hard because these transfers are thin and a bit delicate. 

You shouldn’t need to do either of those things - just gently but firmly rub. Get as much of the transfer rubbed on before you begin to lift up the acetate sheet. If there are any bits of the transfer left on the acetate - lay it back down and rub in that spot.

Once the transfer is completely applied, you want to burnish it down to remove any air bubbles and make sure the edges are completely and smoothly attached to the surface. (4:08)

If there are bubbles or a raised edge, liquid can get under the transfer surface and lift it off. I find using my fingers while holding my bottle lets me feel any smaller bubbles and smooth the edges down on a curved surface. On a flat surface, you can use the acetate backing to burnish your transfer down.


With the transfer applied, I let my bottle sit for another few hours before bringing out the paint. When it’s ready to paint, I dab it on the bottle surface, laying the paint over the transfer and almost half the bottle. (5:39)

Don’t panic. Yes, you’re covering up your beautiful transfer momentarily but it’s only temporary.

The next step is to slightly dampen the Stain Pad, or a soft cloth, and begin to wipe back the paint. Rethunk Junk Paint will dry quickly, so use a spray bottle of water to dampen areas where you want to remove more paint. (6:44)

PRO TIP: This is where you need to find just the right balance between damp enough to wipe back the paint and too much water. Remember, too much water and it may get under the transfer causing lifting. Use your spray bottle sparingly where the transfer is located.

Turn the bottle around on the side without a transfer and spread the paint almost as a wash. You’ll get the paint color from the residue wiped back with the cloth from the front side. Spritz this side with water to rub the color wash completely across the surface.


Let the bottle dry completely - overnight is best. Then come back and apply the Rethink Junk Flat Top sealer but keep in mind the same advice as spritzing with water. I recommend applying two light coats to prevent too much dampness on the transfer.

Let this topcoat dry completely and then get ready to bedazzle with simple twine, heavy string, or beads around the neck of the bottle. You can also finish the top edge of whatever you chose for your project with castings using IOD Moulds and Air-dry clay.

I hope you feel comfortable with applying rub-on transfers onto a curved surface after watching my video and reading these instructions. As always - I’m super excited to see what you create, so please do me the favor of sending pictures of your finished project!

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