It's been up over there in PDF form now for a while, but I thought I probably ought to pop it up on my blog also, for any non UKScrappers members who might be interested....
So here you go :
In this tute we are going to tackle various methods for applying semi transparent imagery to your journal pages – commonly referred to as image transfers
If you do not have direct access to a laser printer, perhaps you have a partner or friend who works in an office and could run you off some photocopies? Alternatively many post offices, newsagents, libraries and stationers have photocopiers available for public use for a small fee.
If you can’t get hold of toner based images, some magazine images and patterned scrapbook papers work well with some of the techniques, I even made some Eeyore stickers once for my little one using the packing tape method and some Disney wrapping paper, so go ahead and experiment!
Other materials we will be using are:
• Gel medium, any brand, preferably soft bodied and gloss or semi gloss in finish
• Clear packing tape or sticky backed plastic
• Ordinary nail varnish remover
This involves transferring the image straight onto your page, and it isn’t always 100% reliable – it’s quite likely there may be bits of your image that don’t transfer properly. I’ll show you a way in a little while to get a much more sturdy gel medium transfer, but this way is a lot quicker, and that distressed look is all the rage anyway :)
The first step is to coat your underlying surface, at least around the spot where the image transfer will be going, with a thin coat of gel medium to waterproof it - you’ll find out why that’s important in a moment….
Leave the gel medium to dry (a thin coat will only take a couple of minutes)
Apply a fairly generous coat of gel medium to the surface of your image – imagine you are lightly buttering a slice of bread – and then while the gel medium is still wet, stick the image face down on top of your page or prepared surface:
Now leave the whole thing to dry for at least a couple of hours. Try not to give into temptation and speed matters up with a heat gun, as it can make the gel medium brittle and not adhere quite as thoroughly…
Be careful not to be too rough with it as you could tear or lift up the image.
While the image is still wet, you might find that it looks finished and fully revealed, until it dries, and then there is still some paper pulp visible like in the photo below:
If this happens, just dampen it again and rub some more.
Eventually, you will have tired fingers, but your transferred image will look fabulous:
And here is the art journal page I turned it into:
Lots of green, white and orange – maybe subliminally the answer to my “where next?” question is Ireland!
Method 2 – membrane gel medium transfer
You’ll have noticed that I wasn’t brave enough to apply my image transfer in the last example directly onto my journal page within the book. Instead I essentially made my own patterned paper to support the theme of my page.
I like how it turned out, but sometimes you want to integrate your transferred image more fully with the page.
Here is a risk free way to do that – this alternative way of using gel medium in your image transfers is more time consuming, but you generally get a pretty much perfect transfer, and as all the magic happens off page, it’s a lot safer – no risk of messing up that perfect background you have spent hours on….
First take your image – here I am using a colour photocopy, image transfers don’t have to be all in black and white – and apply a thin coat of gel medium all in one direction – the strokes here are all going left to right.
Let this dry completely, and apply another thin coat at right angles to the first – ie up and down.
Continue to apply alternating coats, horizontal strokes and vertical strokes, letting the medium fully dry between coats, until you have around 8 layers of medium on the image. Leave the whole lot to dry thoroughly.
Once it’s nice and soaked through, it’s time to put your rubbing finger to work again (if it has recovered from the workout you gave it following method 1 :) )
This time around, trust me, you can be a lot rougher when you are scrubbing off the paper backing than when it was direct onto paper - the membrane that you have created with all those coats of gel medium can really stand up to some abuse. It’s flexible and a bit stretchy too.
And here is the final page in my art journal:
(It’s funny, I can say “art journal”, but “artist”? nope. That one really sticks in my throat….I wonder why?)
Method 3 – packing tape transfer
If after the last two techniques, you are fed up of peeling gel medium off your fingers, then this next one is for you (although personally I quite like picking it off my fingertips, making it look like my skin is coming off, and grossing out small children with it…..is that just me? Alrighty then :) )
For this method, your toner image doesn’t need to be reversed, even if has writing on it, but it does need to be quite small or narrow, as you will be using ordinary packing tape (ie that wide sellotape that people use to wrap up parcels for posting)
I chose this anatomical diagram and resized it to the width of my tape:
The tape in the photo is the absolute BEST for this technique – it is from Staples and it is called “clear view” – it has absolutely no yellow cast to it, like some other clear tapes do. But any clear packing tape will do the job.
Stick a length of the tape over your image, and burnish it down firmly with a bone folder or the back of a spoon (you’ll have to excuse my fingernails in this picture, they are almost as paint encrusted as my table!)
You’ll find though that it’s a lot easier to get the paper pulp off the packing tape than it was from the gel medium, so your finger shouldn’t get too tired with this one.
And that’s pretty much it – here’s the resulting “sticker” (the tape usually retains its stickiness even after soaking in water) hung up on my laptop screen so that you can see how see-through it goes:
NB If you have a larger image, that won’t fit onto the packing tape, you can use clear sticky backed plastic as an alternative. I have found that some brands work better than others though, whereas pretty much any make of packing tape does the job. Feel free to experiment.
And here is the page I made with the transferred image. It was supposed to be all worthy and about us all being brothers and sisters under the skin and all that….. but as I was preparing the transfer all I could think about was Robbie Williams’ Rock DJ video :) So I got a bit sidetracked :)
Close up in better light:
Method 4 – nail varnish remover transfer
I’ve saved by far the easiest (and cheapest, assuming you already have a bottle of nail varnish remover knocking around the house somewhere) image transfer technique for last.
And you’ll be glad to hear, that with this one your paper rubbing finger finally gets a break!
Transfers from this method are less crisp than via the other techniques already covered, but that can work to your advantage when you want something more dreamy / ethereal looking , or you don’t want the image to be too prominent.
But I didn’t want it to dominate my background.
One thing to be aware of with this technique is that you need to be mindful of what you are transferring onto. For example, this is NOT a good method to use over acrylic paints, as acrylics are formulated very similarly to nail varnish, so the nail varnish remover does a very good job of dissolving them! But it works great onto patterned papers, watercolour paints (dried) and fabric. If you are unsure whether it will work onto a particular type of background, do a little test and see, the results are pretty much instant.
Lay your photocopy over the top of your page, and, concentrating on a small section of the image at a time, wet the back of the paper with a small amount of nail varnish remover using a sponge or cotton wool ball (ie. don’t pour a load on):
The underlying image will become visible – quickly burnish it firmly with a bone folder or the back of a spoon. I say quickly, because as you will find, the liquid will evaporate in less than a minute returning the paper to its original white state. When you can’t see the image any more, then the transfer is finished.
The transfer is permanent once it has dried, so you can use wet media such as paints or sprays over the top without fear of smudging it.
And here is my finished journal page using the transferred background:
You can see the transfer just well enough for it to support the overall theme, and also give a nod to the “it’s not about the numbers” sentiment – but it doesn’t overpower the background as it may have done if it was darker.
This brings this image transfer tutorial to an end – I do hope that you will give it a go
I know a lot of people are put off from using image transfers in their journals because they think they look too fiddly, or because they have tried them in the past without much joy. There are lots of conflicting instructions out there in blogland and beyond, some of which seem to work, others not so much. But the four techniques I’ve shared with you here are ones that I consistently get good results from, so hopefully they will work for you too!