Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DIY Image Transfer

Hello all you crafty people out there! If you are reading this, then you are likely in a similar boat to me. I saw a cool pin on Pinterest advertising the ability to transfer my photos onto canvases and that they would look artsy and distressed. I thought to myself, "Cool! New project with a vintage feel AND the ability to save a few bucks on getting canvases printed for me." So ensued the adventure... I started with the transparency and gel medium method. It was a bust; the image came out streaked and unrecognisable. Next, I looked into a method posted on Instructables which was very time consuming so I decided to try out my own. In the end, this was the best way.

First, you need to gather your materials. You need:

  • acrylic gel medium (I used Liquitex gloss heavy gel)
  • paint brush
  • canvas
  • an image printed on printer paper
  • spoon

Next, apply a thin coat of gel medium onto your canvas. Make sure it is evenly spread by applying in an up and down motion, going back over with side to side and diagonal motions and then returning to the up and down motion. The next step should occur immediately following so the gel medium does not have time to dry.

Now, you will need your image to transfer. I chose three to transfer: a picture of my school in England, the Grand Canal in Venice, and a London bus. I printed them ahead of time on my standard printer from home on printer paper. Lay the paper ink-side down on the gel medium coated canvas. Now, take your spoon and rub (burnish) the paper. Be meticulous. Any area left un-burnished will not transfer. I spent a good 5 minutes burnishing. If you are not sure if it is ready, peel up a corner of the image to check. 

If the image is ready, peel the paper slowly back from the canvas. The result should be a slightly grainy looking image... perfectly vintage. Add embellishments such as sharpie text, fake flowers, lace, etc. after giving the image 24 hours to dry. Hang in groupings or alone for a handmade, one-of-a-kind decoration. 

The far left image was burnished for 3 minutes as opposed to 5. 
You can see the difference it makes in the overall effect.

I hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions or comments or pictures of your finished projects, please comment below. Thanks all and have a perfectly crafty day!

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