How to Do Different Types of Photo and Image Transferring
Posted by ArtFireContent on 03/23/2011 at 15:33:15
Using photo or image transfers in your art or craft projects can give your work a professional or textured look. Image transferring wasn't something I would have pursued on my own; much like screen printing, it seems sort of elusive and complicated. Luckily, I have taken a couple of art classes that really broke down each type of photo/image transfer and how to do it. Below we will look at various types of transfer methods, and what process works best for you and your medium.
A gel medium like Mod Podge, acrylic gel or Omni gel all use similar steps. Brush the gel over the image you want to transfer in an even coat (make sure the paper it is on is not too thick). Let it dry and brush on at least one more layer. Let that layer dry (over-night if you want to be sure), and then soak or wet the paper and rub it off with your fingers. You will end up with the image on your clear gel medium. You can then add your image to a 2D or 3D surface. Below is an example from the blog Eco-Friendly, Vintage Inspired. You can also use gel medium to transfer an image onto fabric, as seen here, but it is not ideal since washing repeatedly would probably break down the image.
There are lots of different transfer papers; the most popular are probably iron-on transfers that you can buy in most craft stores. These are ideal for T-shirts and items that will see more wear. The basic directions for these can be found here (you basically iron it on!). Be aware that there are different kinds available for ink jet and laser copiers, and there are also no-heat options. Carbon transfer paper is used primarily for transferring an image in 2D art, and basically functions like tracing paper, where you trace over the image and a copy results on the new surface. This paper can be found at craft stores, or you can make your own with transparent paper and a graphite stick (see the YouTube video tutorial below).
Photo Transfer for Polymer Clay
There are also different methods for transferring images onto polymer clay. One of the easiest is using the previously mentioned t-shirt transfer paper for ink jet printers. I've never tried this, but Life 123 has a clear article with step-by-step instructions here. You may also want to watch this video, which covers polymer clay photo transfer mistakes to avoid, and offers additional tips.
This process is very simple, but you have to be sure that you use photocopies, not ink-jet printed images from your home printer (they won't transfer). Simply place the image face-down and saturate it with acetone. You can use a brush or large cotton ball, whatever works. Next get a spoon and rub it over the image, pressing down. This transfers the image, so be sure you go over it thoroughly and apply pressure. Lift the original off, and you're done! This same technique works with lighter fluid as well; make sure you are in a well-ventilated area though.
Do you use a transfer not mentioned here, or have some tips? Share in the comments below!