Three Image Transfer Techniques {tutorial} | The Interior Frugalista: Three Image Transfer Techniques {tutorial}
Three Image Transfer Techniques {tutorial} | The Interior Frugalista

October 25, 2013

Three Image Transfer Techniques {tutorial}

Oh my, a few months ago I decided to try the art of image transfers. I was nervous at first and have since tried a few different transfer methods. This has become my new love! I get lost in the process and loose awareness of everything around me (except for the music I have blasting from my MP3 player). Oftentimes I'm so engrossed that I loose track of time, forget to eat, and am startled back to reality when Mr. Frugalista opens the shop door after his return from work.

Today I thought I would share a few of my projects and what transfer methods I used. We'll start with my most recent...


Tray with coffee graphic for our kitchen coffee station

Carbon paper (Graphite Paper) image transfer method

This has become one of my favorite transfer methods! I've been using good old fashion carbon paper that I've had around the house since the 90's. Apparently the "now" product is Graphite Paper - which I haven't tried yet.

Using Microsoft Word, I insert and manipulate the graphic to the size I want. Then I print it with my laser printer on bond paper. I slip a sheet of carbon paper behind the graphic and tape it onto the surface I'm working with. Using a pen I trace over the entire graphic pressing hard to ensure a good transfer. With fine art brushes and watered down acrylic craft or chalk paint, I hand paint over the transfer. I have never had a problem with the carbon smudging when I apply the paint. Here is a close up of the coffee tray using this method.

Coffee tray using carbon paper image transfer method

I used the same transfer method when making this gift for the Grand Opening of the Apple Box Design Studio.

Sign using carbon paper image transfer technique
I embellished this one with a wooden picket fence and a mini bunting flag banner that I made with scrapbook paper and a red Sharpie.

Modge Podge or Gel Medium Image Transfer Method

With this transfer method you need a mirror image before printing, especially when there is text. I cut around the areas of the graphic that I want transferred. Using a foam brush I apply an even coat of Modge Podge over the good side of the image. Then I place the image side onto the surface I'm working with and gently rub it to ensure good contact and to remove any wrinkles and/or air bubbles. Let it dry (I prefer overnight).
Modge Podgeor Gel Medium image transfer technique

With a spray bottle I wet the image (not saturate) and with the ball of my finger I gently rub to remove a layer of paper. I let it dry and repeat the process until I'm satisfied with the clarity of the image. In the picture below you can see how the image looks after removing a couple of layers of paper.

Removing layers of paper using Modge Podge image transfer technique

Once completely dry I apply a couple coats of Modge Podge to protect the image. On this one I decided I didn't like the image on a white background.  I repainted the plaque with Graphite chalk paint, carefully painting around the image. I painted the scalloped edge with Old White chalk paint (pretty much reversing what I'd done originally). I was much happier with the contrast!

Once dry I applied clear soft wax along with dark wax to give it an aged appearance and then carefully distressed the scalloped edge and graphic using fine sandpaper. You can see in the picture below how much better it looks with the graphite background. This was a birthday gift for a friend who is an actress in her local theater group in the Netherlands.

Plaque after using the Modge Podge image transfer technique

Here is another birthday gift that I made for a friend using the same transfer method. She is lucky enough to be getting her own Craft Room soon and so I made a sign for her new space. She is a talented Crafter who does a lot of sewing, so I thought this graphic was perfect. The colors on the image were muted so I dry brushed paint over top and I used stencils for the letters. After protecting the sign with wax I distressed it with fine sandpaper to give it a bit of a vintage vibe.

Sign using Modge Podge image transfer technique

Paint Resist Typography Transfer Method 

This is a fun method for making vintage looking signs. I found an old piece of wood outside in our wood pile. I cleaned it up with some sandpaper and painted it white.  I then applied vinyl letters onto the sign (you can see step-by-step instructions of that in my post The Sign I Just Had to Have).  I painted over the entire sign in red and while the paint was still wet I removed the vinyl letters carefully with a craft knife.  Once the paint was dry I sanded the entire sign to give it a worn look.  I then applied clear and dark wax to give it an aged appearance.

Sign using vinyl letter paint resist transfer technique

The same process was used on my Welcome Sign. I didn't distress or antique this one.

Welcome Sign using vinyl letter paint resist transfer technique

A DIY Welcome Sign Post using an old banister

So there you have it...a quick lesson in three image transfer techniques! There are several others that I haven't tried yet..."yet" being the operative word! I hope my post today has inspired you to try at least one of these image transfer methods. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
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