Decor-Craft (part of the "Letracraft" range) were produced between 1974 & 1978. There were over 150 in all. Unlike Action Transfers, whose target market was children, Decor-Craft were aimed at art & craft shops. This was a market where waterslide transfers had been doing sterling work for well over a hundred years, & Decor-Craft were an alternative rather than a revolutionary improvement.
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 good 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 four pages. Just use the link at the end of each page to get to the next. There are some interesting observations along the way, & a list 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. Very late on, they were also used for a Kellogg's cereal promotion.
"1978/1979 Kellogg Company"
"Woodpecker & Bullfinch, Blue tit & Robin, Kingfisher & Pheasant, Wren & Goldfinch."
We will have decent, legible images of this promotion very shortly (thanks to Joe); meanwhile, this will have to do. As you can see, 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!
The "LP62" serial number is purely conjectural at the moment. The packet is dated 1979, & LP62 would be from the year before; furthermore, it doesn't look as if there is a serial number on the sheet shown here, so we only have someone's word for it (someone, that is, who even admits to not having seen it for himself).
I think there may have been a similar offer for Holly Hobbie Decor-Craft, but again, no concrete evidence so far — just a photo of some Holly Hobbie Decor-Craft with a very similar backing sheet to these.
This is the first Decor-Craft we've seen so far to be marked "Printed in Italy". Sodecor, Letraset's Italian factory, was purchased in 1976, so either this is a reprint from 1976 on, or Letraset were regularly giving Sodecor test runs in advance of purchase. The former is the hypothesis preferred by Occam's Razor.
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives (with thanks to Joe)
© Tom Vinelott 2016