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This is something I get asked ALL the time whenever I have some of my handmade books on display, and so I wanted to re-post the tutorial here!
I've experimented with lots of differ transfer methods including acrylic paint, gesso, household emulsion, and shop bought specific transfer mediums. I've also transferred onto a variety of surfaces. However the method I have discovered that creates the clearest and nicest quality of image has been using gel medium.
Transfer images with gel medium
Transferring an image using gel medium makes a fun alternative to printing your image directly onto the fabric which I shared a tutorial of here.The transferred image can be used in a number of different ways as shown above.
*It's also worth mentioning that this technique can be used to apply an image to wood,or a canvas ...or whatever else you find worthy of experimenting on. A handy thing to know me thinks!*
Cut around the image, what ever shape you cut out is what will be transferred onto the fabric.
Place the image covered with the gel medium face down onto the fabric, making sure this is the position you want the image to end up. Using a brayer/rolling pin apply an even pressure rolling over the whole image to make sure it sticks completely to the fabric. Check all the edges are stuck down..if not dab on a little extra gel medium and apply pressure again.
I have used my hands in the past to apply the pressure but often found bits were missed and didn't stick so well , also air bubbles occurred on bigger transfers. You may have better luck.
Step 5: Allow to dry completely. This will vary according to size of transfer, gel medium used and what heating devices you use (if impatient like me!)
Once dry we are ready for the fun part.
Take a brush or sponge and wet the paper a little so that the water soaks into the paper. We don't want it swimming now!ll the difference.
Starting from the middle and working towards the edges, rub the damp paper with your finger,back and forwards. This will start to create little rolls of paper underneath your finger. Keep rubbing and the paper will be removed allowing the image underneath to slowly reveal itself....
(I have found that if I start from an edge and work in towards the centre then parts of my transfer from the edge rub off with the paper, working from the centre out helps avoid this.
Like a sweet little squirrel decoration......................
What you need:
Printer and paper (depending on what effect you want to create, I have found the better quality of printer and paper you use, the clearer the image transferred. I use epson archival matte paper on my "fancy" epson printer with archival inks)
Fabric (this is what you are applying your transfer to. The lighter the colour of fabric, the better for showing up your transfer image)
Water and brush/sponge
*In case you are wondering what Gel medium is..... it's simply a clear acrylic based substance which can be used for a variety of things including altering the texture of acrylic paints, sealing and varnishing, gluing/decoupage. It comes available in a number of different finishes...such a matte. gloss, opaque. You can find it in any art shop.....and a popular version of gel medium know as Mod Podge is readily available in any craft shop along with the decoupage items.*
Print out the image that you want to transfer...make sure you have printed it out as the REVERSE image ESPECIALLY if you are transferring writing! This technique will work for both colour and black and white printed images.
Cover over the image with the gel medium/mod podge creating an even layer, making sure you cover right to the edges of the paper.
Keep rubbing , adding more water where the paper resists removal or feels a little dry.
And there you have it....an image transferred onto fabric. It needs to dry off obviously, and you can seal it with a thin coat of gel medium for added protection, but that's about it........all set for being stitched into something lovely.....