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Substrates and Transparency and Print Types – OH MY!

If you’ve ever wanted to create tumbler or pen wrap with a dark background and bright image – you know how hard it is to get a transparent decal to show up on a dark background. So how do you get your waterslide or decal to show up on a dark background?? Or maybe you have a seam that you need to cover, or a scratched up surface that you want to hide? In that case, a white opaque waterslide or sticker might be the perfect solution. No matter what you want to create, we can help!

So, you’ve come to our website because you want that design you saw. It might have been Upscales, could have been a pen wrap, maybe it was a tumbler wrap. Then you saw all these options and you got excited (and maybe a bit confused!) Which one do you need and why do we have all of them? Because we think you should be able to make whatever you want, however you want! It’s a good thing you’re right here, for this post, because this is where we explain it all.

Substrates – Waterslides and Stickers in Opaque and Transparent

First up, let’s talk about substrates. Currently, Monochrome Rebel makes products on waterslide and sticker substrates.


Waterslides are opaque white or transparent and come as a shiny surface on a paper backing. You soak that product in lukewarm water for a minute or so and the printed part “slides” away from the paper backing so that you can apply it to scales, pens, tumblers, mugs, coasters, etc. Keep the waterslide and your surface wet and you can move them around easily to get them in just the right position. Waterslides have a slightly tacky underside and will cling to the surface you apply them to. When dry, they have a slight stick but can be peeled up or rewetted. This is not an infinite process, however. Continued rewetting and peeling can damage the waterslide and render it unusable if not handled with care. (See them applied here and see our How Do I page for more info)



Stickers are, well, they’re stickers! Paper, vinyl or polyester with an adhesive backing, we make sticker products in opaque white and transparent. We also offer certain products on holographic and glossy white sticker stock (Upscales
people, we’re looking at you!) Peel the product from the backing paper and apply it to scales, pens, tumblers, mugs, coasters, etc. Smooth down carefully to prevent bubbles. These are not activated with water but all of our stickers, other than our matte white products, are water resistant.

Now let’s talk about the different types of print. We use laser printers and offer standard print, white print and dual print.

Standard Color Prints

Standard print is the kind of thing you see every day and the picture below is a great illustration. All the colors possible to print – with the exception of white. Standard print is suitable for white and transparent substrates. Many of our holographic prints are standard color as well. Standard print on transparent looks great over lighter backgrounds, fades a bit over medium tones and is all but invisible on dark colors.

Paisley print on various substrates

White Prints

White print, which we sometimes refer to as white-only print for the sake of clarity, is precisely as it sounds – white toner printing. White print is only available on transparent or holographic substrates. Our white print is opaque and shows up beautifully on medium and light tone backgrounds but can often get lost on light backgrounds. The next picture illustrates this point really well.

Sketchy stars – available as standard black print or as white print

Dual Prints

Dual print is where the magic happens. This is where you can put ANY design on ANY background! Dual print is a Monochrome Rebel term, not an industry-standard term. It is our term to describe our method of creating full color prints, on transparent substrates, that will show up beautifully over any background. When you want to use dark colors of scales, glitters, and inks and you want something detailed and colorful to show up on top of it, you want dual prints. The next picture shows our Morty print and the bottom row is dual print on various backgrounds. (There are times when dual print on holographic is available and our listings will tell you why when it’s an option.)

Morty Mania! – available as color prints on white OR transparent substrates.

We hope that this has been helpful for anyone wanting to understand our
product details. Please feel free to comment or message us on the site if you have any further questions or need clarification. We appreciate your time and your business. Happy Making!

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