Sunday, 19 August 2012

Image Transfers & A trip Out to View Fleece to Fibre

In between art I am doing some practice of techniques I want to use in future projects. This week it's Image Transfer. Something I have always struggled with, much to my disgust.

Here's the practice sheet, with a nice mount over it. Every thing looks better with a mount.

Now here are all my notes.

You will need base paper, I used watercolour paper, Bockingford with a slight roughness. 190lbs
Heavy Structure Gel -  HSG Winsor & Newton Galleria brand - cheap one :-)
Inkjet prints on glossy photograph paper, printed on Glossy Paper setting and if your printer allows use the Photo setting for the amount of ink put on the paper. I used a cheap brand of Glossy Photograph paper by Picture Expert.
Old paint brush
Bone folder or something to press the print into the HSG.
Some other paper to stick onto the base paper. I used vintage sheet music, the waste from cutting out all those paper dolls and a bit of tissue paper from a McCalls Dress pattern.

Transfer 1 - was done when the sheet music had just been stuck on the base paper, so it was still wet. I'm calling this method Wet-in-Wet. Put another thickish layer of HSG, about the size of your image, using the brush onto the wet music paper. Then put the picture, picture side to the wet HSG and press with the bone folder. The HSG will squeeze out the sides, just scrape it up and pop it back in the pot. NOTE. I chose to cut the main figure out from the photo first as I did not want the rest to be in my image. Left to dry 24hours overnight. Now use a wet finger and start to rub the back of the image. Not too much water, careful as you don't want to get the rest of the picture wet. Keep going, I was surprised how quickly and cleanly the backing came away.

 Transfer 3 above - This one was a mistake in the printing, I got the wrong side of the paper on top when I printed :-). So rather than waste this I thought I would try it and see what happened. Music paper has dried overnight, then stuck on a piece of the dress pattern tissue paper. Put on some HSG about the size of your image and place image side onto HSG. Use bone folder to press firmly and leave to dry. same process with the water and rubbing to get backing off. Well it did transfer, it's very transparent, but if you rubbed too hard to get the backing off the picture came off too. So not a great result. Also I suffered with impatience and did not let this one dry so long.

 Transfer 2 above - I let the music paper dry overnight, then use the HSG as Transfer 1 above and allow to dry. Then water again as above. This one was pretty good just lost a bit of the face. I think it again needed longer to dry and either a bit more HSG or press harder with bone folder.

 Inkjet Photo Transfer straight onto the watercolour paper. Spread on the HSG and put your image on picture side down. Use the bone folder to press down firmly. This time I used the complete photo. Dried over night and then removed backing with water and rubbing with fingers. This is the best transfer.

A really close, close up so you can see only a little loss of the image.

OK here's what I got from this. Wet-in-Wet image was the best on the music paper. Image 3 was onto dress pattern tissue paper, so this could have changed the result.

Image 2 was onto dried music sheet. It was 2nd best transfer.

Image on the watercolour paper was the very best, but I can't always use that as the base because I'm going to use this method on collage which will always be on different paper.

Hope the above makes sense if not message me and I will try to help. Have a go at image transfer it's a very handy thing to add a different layer to your work.

Image above is a photo ready to use as a transfer. Why not grab this and use it in your art. It's out of copyright so you can use it as much as you like. I think the head would make a great fairy face.

Thursday I went out with my friends Jennifer and Peter. Jennifer had a cushion in the exhibition Fleece to Fibre, put on by Mid-Essex Spinning and Weaving Guild. This was at the very splendid Layer Marney Tower.

Jennifer's cushion is woven from fleece she has spun and dyed green herself. She even bred the sheep the fleece came from, a real cottage industry. It is in picture 1 below.

Super exhibition, very high standard of work and great food too.


  1. Hi Joan! i have been wanting to add transfers to my collage work but wasn't sure how to go about it. Thank you for all the info!! Great post! :D

  2. Hi :) I'd really like to know if this would work without a gel medium? Right now I'm trying to do an image transfer onto watercolour paper, but it doesn't fully transfer. It's really frustrating because I'm having to redo my background over and over again :(

    1. Some where I have seen transfer film. You print onto the film and it has a peel off with sticky back. I have also seen transfers done with water from I think Polaroids - those old instant cameras. You can also print straight onto some of the lighter weight water colour paper. Arabic gum that you use in water colour is sticky if used neat too. It will leave a slight shine on the paper. I've never managed to get a transfer without some small bit missing so none of these methods is totally perfect :-) Art is all about experimenting so use the "failed painting" and try ideas on the back and the original. Have fun Joan


Your comments are all read and appreciated. Hope you will forgive me if I miss commenting on your comment, I will be busy doing art :-) x Joan