Image transfers are simply a process of getting ink absorbed into an acrylic film. Because of all the variables involved (such as image type, surface and medium) transfers are not always clean. As one artist described it, “Transferred images are not stickers.” Instead, being open to the process gives one freedom to explore and manipulate the beauty of the transferred image.
Images to use
Most printed or toner-based images can transfer. Newspaper, magazine and computer laser (not ink jet) prints work well. Some things like newspaper, laser print and old catalogs on uncoated paper will transfer directly without the need of a photocopy, but some images such as photographs and coated magazine pages will need to be photocopied.
To apply an image directly to a surface:
- Apply Impasto Gel directly to the surface using a brush or palette knife. You do not want the gel to be too thin or too thick, about 1/16-1/8” is good. The more gel you use, the more opaque the transfer will be. I find that brushing horizontally and then vertically helps to eliminate brushstrokes. I also use my fingers to smooth the gel out.
- Closely cut out the image you want to transfer. Remember to flip (make a mirror image) of any text you want to read correctly.
- Apply the image face down into the wet gel and smooth it out so you don’t have wrinkles. If you want a very clean look, be sure to feather the edges of the gel at the edges of the paper.
- Let dry overnight (about 8-24 hours). The gel will be clear when dry. Using hairdryers with Impasto Gel does not produce good results. Only time does.
- Wet the paper backing. I often apply a wet (not dripping) washcloth and let it sit on the paper for a bit. Remove the cloth, and then very carefully, begin to rub the paper away with your fingers in a circular motion. Apply more water as needed to remove the paper backing. As the water dries, you’ll see a white haze where some of the paper is left behind. Let the transfer dry, and repeat the process until you don’t feel any more paper.
To create a separate transferred element to be collaged:
- Apply Impasto Gel directly on top of the printed image using a brush or palette knife as described above. Using this method, you won’t need to reverse any text.
- Let dry overnight (about 8-24 hours). The gel will be clear when dry.
- Wet the paper backing and remove as described above.