Decor-Craft (part of the "Letracraft" range) were produced between 1974 & 1978; there were 156 designs in all. Unlike Action Transfers, whose target market was children, Decor-Craft were aimed at distribution through art & craft shops for use as home decoration or decoupage. This was a market where waterslide transfers had been doing sterling work for well over a hundred years, & Decor-Craft were merely an alternative rather than a revolutionary improvement.
Since Decor-Craft were litho printed, they weren't produced at Letraset's Ashford factory but at BKT in Tunbridge Wells. BKT printed the whole range, but once Sodecor had been acquired by Letraset, many of the more popular sheets were reprinted there in Italy.
Original artists for this range include Peter Archer, Tony Cragg, Terry Longhurst, & 'RG' (Robert Gillmor). Material by Ugo Pericoli, Kate Greenaway, George Rainbird, Sarah Kay, Thelwell, Holly Hobbie, & no doubt others as yet unidentified, was also licensed.
As with, say, greetings cards, some will be of excellent quality, while others will make you want to cry. So be prepared to take the rough with the smooth!
So as not to overload you with images, this article has been divided into separate pages; just use the links at the end of each page to get around. There are some interesting observations along the way, & a catalogue of all the known titles in the range appears at the end.
Decor-Craft came in two sizes; the larger (7" by 10") was twice the size of the smaller (5" by 7"). Since the packet designs were the same for both sizes, the only way to tell which is which (when reproduced not-to-scale) is by the number of flowers in the header — two for large, one for small!
The sizes were determined by the convenience of printing four or eight panels on an uncut sheet of crown (15" by 20").
As you can see from the Ugo Pericoli & Holly Hobbie examples above, you can also find more than one transfer in a panel (i.e., on a single sheet, after cutting & packaging).
Each Decor-Craft panel was assigned a "Design Reference Number"; these invariably take the form "27.01.x" — for example, "27.01.134". In other words, they all start with "27.01." — & it is the number following which distinguishes one Decor-Craft from another.
There were at least two different generations of packet; so far, I've seen hundreds of packets, but only the two designs. Here are the inside & outside of each; I've further enlarged the inside of the latter one so that the text is legible:
Apart from being sold in craft shops, Decor-Craft were also used in other products such as the Thelwell Pony Plaques, the Sarah Kay & Holly Hobbie Art Miniatures, & so on. In late 1978 they were also used for a Kellogg's cereal promotion.
"Woodpecker & Bullfinch, Blue tit & Robin, Kingfisher & Pheasant, Wren & Goldfinch."
You would have to eat twenty packets of Rice Krispies in order to obtain all four sheets — which given the short time these promotions usually ran, might keep you busy!
Hey — we got hold of an uncut sheet! It was slightly damaged, but luckily not enough to prevent us showing you the complete (& undamaged) set of four pairs of wild birds:
The packet is dated 1979, & LP62 would be from the year before, so this would have been early in the year. There may have been a similar offer for Holly Hobbie Decor-Craft, but no concrete evidence so far — just a photo of some Holly Hobbie Decor-Craft with a very similar backing sheet to these:
I'm not sure why they're so keen to insist on Flash detergent; perhaps there was some kind of promotional offer…
(N.B.: if you're reading through the "Free Gift Transfers with Breakfast Cereals" article, then you may prefer to skip from here to the next Breakfast Cereals page: Kellogg's LP102 Canada)
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives (with thanks to Joe)
© Tom Vinelott 2023