Image Transfer Tutorial

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With such an array of wonderful graphics and art images available online, incorporating transferred images into furniture makeovers and other DIY projects is all the rage!  Although Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel can be used as a decoupage medium, the intended transfer method which we show here will give you the appearance of an image that is an integrated part of your painted surface.

We discovered this beautiful French Label on Pinterest and added it to our “Great Ephemera for Image Transfer” board for future use.  This primitive little cupboard seemed the perfect opportunity to utilize the image.  We started by giving the entire cupboard a good cleaning.  We then removed the cabinet door and painted it in Old Ochre.

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The graphic was printed with a laser printer in reverse to fit within the size of the cabinet door.  It is important that the image be printed on a laser printer.  The transfer will not work with an inkjet printed image.  Most large offices or printing businesses have laser printers and you should be able to email your image file to them for printing.  This image was printed at a UPS store for less than a dollar and they even reversed the image for us.

If there is white space surrounding your image that you don’t want transferred, you will want to trim that off before beginning the transfer process.

Once our paint had dried and we had our reversed, laser printed image trimmed and ready, we used a paintbrush to apply an even layer of Transfer Gel over the entire image.

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Apply the paper face down onto your prepared surface and carefully smooth out any wrinkles.

At this time we set the cupboard door aside to dry overnight and focused our attention to the rest of the cabinet.

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We decided to add crackle and texture to the cabinet by stippling Crackle Tex directly onto the wood surface.  Once this had dried, we painted on one coat of Old Ochre and watched as the crackles began to appear.  At this time we used the “pull-off” technique in areas to add some rustic texture and a distressed look to the overall finish.

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After giving the Transfer Gel time to dry completely, (we let it sit overnight) we were ready to start removing the paper fibers and reveal the transferred image.  This process takes some patience.  Start by dampening the paper either with a sponge or rag or by lightly misting the surface with a spray bottle of water.  Gently use your fingers to roll the paper fibers away.  Resist the urge to scrape or pull at the paper or you will likely remove parts of your image.

Once you have removed all of the paper fibers and are satisfied with your transfer, you can complete your finish with Clear Topcoat Sealer, or age the finish with a tinted Scumble Glaze.

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We chose to mix a glaze of 5 parts Scumble to one part Graphite and applied it over the transferred image as well as the rest of the cupboard.  We started by brushing the mixture on and then immediately wiped it back with a damp sea sponge.  Because Scumble has an extended open time, we were able to continue to wipe back any areas that appeared to dark even twenty minutes later. The dark glaze settled into the cracks and enhanced the texture of the paint finish that had been created with the Crackle Tex “Pull-Off” technique.  It also gave our image transfer additional depth and patina.

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After applying two thin coats of Clear Topcoat Sealer (waiting 24 hours between coats) over the entire cupboard, we installed a new knob, re-hung the door and our cupbpard was complete!

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Isn’t it amazing how much interest a great graphic can add to an otherwise plain and non-descript surface?  We love how this antique French label gave new life to our simple little cupboard.  The textured crackle and dark Scumble glaze further enhanced the overall look and feel of the piece.

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We hope you’ll give Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel a try!  When you do, please be sure to hashtag #artisanenhancements !  We can’t wait to see what you create!

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Want to save this post to reference at a later date?  Be sure to pin the below photo to your DIY Pinterest board or simply share this post on Facebook where you can easily find it in your profile archives!

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20 thoughts on “Image Transfer Tutorial

  1. I love your work.

    Thank you for sharing it with us!

    I have a daughter who would be very interested in doing this and I am directing her to your site. Is there anything else I could tell her to get her started?

    Best regards,

    Tom

    • Hello Glenda-
      Yes! Our Transfer Gel can be used on terracotta! You want to make sure the terracotta is clean of any debris prior applying the image and transfer medium. We typically suggest sealing the porous terracotta first with our exterior grade Clear Topcoat Sealer a full 48 hours before applying the image and transfer gel. After the image has been transferred and the paper backing removed. We recommend sealing the terracotta pot and image with the Clear Topcoat Sealer.

  2. Hi, I painted a piece with Anne Sloan duck egg blue and want to transfer a image onto it. The image will be tiled over 8 pages so has to be taped. So I have a few questions:

    1. Will the tape come off when I rub the paper off?
    2. Can I use Anne Sloan wax over the piece instead of there Artisan sealer?
    3. With such a large transfer what’s the best method to keep the paper from crinkling up and the best way to smooth it out?
    4. Would it be better just to put the transfer gel on the whole piece and then put my graphic down?

    Sorry for all the questions, this is my first time painting with chalk paint or otherwise and my first time transferring a graphic.

    • Hello Mary-
      Yes! You can wax over a transferred image that has been transferred using Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel. If using tinted waxes (such as dark or black wax) we typically suggest sealing with either our Clear Topcoat Sealer or a clear wax prior to using tinted waxes. Follow manufacturer’S instructions for applying and curing sealers or waxes. Hopefully this helps answer your questions!

  3. Are you putting the transfer gel on the front of the paper or the backside? I’m confused. I re-read it but still didn’t get it.
    Thank you, in advance, for your help.
    Very Sincerely,
    Shelly

    • Hi Shelly-
      The transfer gel should be applied to the image. You can brush it onto the surface that you’re transferring to and then lay the paper face down onto the gel, or brush it on to the front of the paper and then lay it down. No need to apply any gel to the backside of the paper. Hope this helps!

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