Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Image Transfers

We played with Image Transfers earlier in 2013 but our session last Tuesday took our exploits to a frenetic level. There are so many interesting techniques available to fibre and mixed media artists today and I think that we tried them all.

To the uninitiated, try one technique at a time – you’re less likely to feel faint by the end of your session Generally speaking Image Transfers can be categorized under a few headings:
  • those that require images printed from an ink jet printer
  • those that require images printed from a toner based laser printer or copier (coloured or black and white)
  • images that need to be reversed prior to transferring the image to a substrate (especially if words are involved)
  • images that require a medium of some sort to complete the transfer, for example a gel medium, acrylic paint, packing tape or solvent
The burning question for some of these techniques is “Why wouldn’t you just transfer the image directly to the fabric using the inkjet printer?” Our findings would conclude that, “It’s an effect that you are going for, i.e. vintage, distressed, ethereal etc.”

Top Left - Citrasolv onto crinoline
Top Right - TAP
 onto crinoline
Bottom Left - packing tape
Bottom Right - TAP
 onto distressed dryer sheet

For example, you could print that photo of Great Aunt Doll directly onto cotton muslin using your ink jet printer, sizing it the way you want and not have to reverse the photo before printing. Fabric is OK, but what if you could manipulate the photo digitally, reverse the photo and print the image on to Transfer Artist Paper™ (TAP), distress the TAP and then transfer the image to metal, wood or glass? The possibilities may leave you gob smacked!

CitraSolv™ Toner Based
Transfer to Linen

Image Transfer Techniques that we tried: Citrasolv (solvent based transfer with toner copies), packing tape or contact paper using magazine photos, ink jet printed transparencies, either direct to your surface fresh and wet from the printer OR onto the rough side of a transparency and let to dry. This transfer is then completed with spray hand sanitizer. We also tried, or had demonstrated, gel medium transfers to Textiva, fabric and travertine tiles.

TAP™ onto painted Lutradur
TAP – transfer artist paper is somewhat in a league of its own. Images can be put onto TAP with an ink jet printer, rubber stamps, Crayola wax crayons, Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels, pencil etc. 

Images are transferred using an iron and can be transferred to many substrates: fabric, paper, glass, wood, metal, mica, distressed dryer sheets, crinoline…just remember that you must reverse images or text.

Imagine the possibilities with a kid’s art class! 

Gel Medium transfer to Textiva

One final word on any of these processes – make certain that you use your own images or ones that are guaranteed to be copy right or royalty free, especially if you are planning to sell your masterpieces!

TAP - Image drawn with Crayola Wax
Crayons  and transferred to white cotton.
TAP - Image drawn with Portfolio Water Soluble
Oil Pastels and transferred to canvas.


  1. Your group comes up with such interesting projects. Have you every thought about scripting a TV series on PBS or writing a book? Terrific ideas (I just don't have enough time to try everything). Congratulations on all the good work.

  2. Hi Jill, thanks for your kind words about our exploits at the Tuesday FOG group. We do have a lot of fun and are open to learning about and trying just about any technique or product out there and very much enjoy sharing those outcomes with others through the blog. Please continue to drop by. Cheers, Meredith and Jan