Image Transfer Technique With Transfer Medium

Today I'm sharing a tutorial on an image transfer technique using transfer medium or gel that can turn your favorite photographs into inexpensive wall art or easily apply graphics onto painted furniture.

Recently I shared a tutorial on an Image Transfer Technique Using Graphite Paper but if hand painting over transferred graphics is not your thing, then you'll love this easy image transfer technique.

Image Transfer Medium Technique

Image Transfer Technique With Transfer Medium


There are so many possibilities for using this transfer method. I used it on whitewashed terracotta plant pots to give them a French Country patina. You could transfer graphics onto fence boards or pieces of old salvaged wood to make signs without having to pick up a paintbrush.

Materials List

Digital Graphic
Color Laser Printer
Bond Computer Paper
Image Transfer Medium
Foam Brush
Brayer (or old credit card)
Spray Bottle
Matte Mod Podge or Gator Hide Polyacrylic

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.




Instructions

  1. Download or design your own digital graphics. My favorite source for graphics is The Graphics Fairy where you can find hundreds of free graphics. 
  2. Or download a favorite photo you'd like to turn into wall art.
  3. Print a mirror image of the graphics or photo onto bond paper. Even subtle text like tattoos or clothing with writing will appear backward otherwise. 
  4. When using an inkjet printer, you must let the ink dry for several hours to avoid the ink smearing. No need to wait when using a laser printer.  
  5. If applying a small graphic, cut the excess paper around the graphic. Ignore this step if printing a full-size photo.
  6. Using a foam brush, apply an even coat of image transfer medium on the good side of the image. It's important that you generously cover the entire surface of the image.
  7. Place image side down on to the surface, being careful NOT to move the image or it will smudge. 
  8. With a brayer or old credit card, gently rub over the graphic to remove any air bubbles and ensure a tight bond with the surface. 
  9. Allow the paper to completely dry (approximately three hours) before moving on to the next step.
  10. Fill a spray bottle with water and working in sections, spray the image (do not saturate) and gently rub off the first layer ONLY of paper with the ball of your finger or a damp cloth.
  11. Allow the paper to dry and repeat this process to remove the next layer of paper. 
  12. Repeat again until all the layers have been removed and the graphic is visible. Note the image will look somewhat cloudy after all the layers are removed but don't be alarmed. The next step will remove that murkiness.
  13. To remove the cloudy residue and protect the graphic, apply two coats of either matte Mod Podge for wall art or a clear matte polyacrylic for furniture. My preference is Gator Hide by Dixie Belle Paint Company (link to the product below). Let dry between coats.
  14. For a time-worn look, apply dark wax over the entire surface, including the graphic, with a lint-free rag and remove the excess.
  15. You could also carefully distress the edge of the graphic using fine grit sandpaper. 

Mirror Image Printer Settings

Size Paper: Letter
Paper Orientation:  Portrait
Paper Orientation for images with text: Reverse Transfer/Rotate 180 Degrees
Paper Type: Bond
Quality: Best
Color Mode: Color


Another option is to use image editing software like PicMonkey to flip the image and save before printing.


Here are some helpful tips when using an image transfer medium...

  • Tip 1: Always print a mirror image of the graphics/photo.
  • Tip 2: For smaller images cut away excess paper around the graphic. It's time-consuming removing layers of paper so the less you have to remove, the quicker it will be.
  • Tip 3: Ensure the transfer medium completely covers the image in uniform thickness - no need to apply a thick layer of medium. 
  • Tip 4: Be cautious of not moving the image once it's made contact with the surface to avoid smearing. 
  • Tip 5: Apply light pressure on your finger or damp cloth when removing layers of paper or you risk removing the image. 

    Image Transfer Medium Technique On Furniture

    This is an example of how to transfer a colored graphic onto a piece of furniture using this image transfer technique.

    Vintage Graphic Using Image Transfer Medium

    Exposing Vintage Graphic Using Image Transfer Medium

    Distressed Image Transfer Medium Graphic

    Press the links under each photo to visit the posts.

    Vintage Graphic Table Using Image Transfer Medium

    Image Transfer Medium Technique Wall Art

    Here is an example of how to turn favorite photographs into easy and inexpensive wall art.

    Photo Image Transfer Technique

    Here are some other furniture and home decor projects where I used the image transfer medium technique.


    I hope you found this tutorial helpful and that it inspired you to turn your favorite photos into easy and inexpensive artwork or add that wow factor onto painted furniture. Please share the image transfer technique using a transfer medium tutorial with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest for easy reference.

    Image Transfer Technique Using Transfer Medium
    Do you have any projects you'd like to use this image transfer technique on? Do you have any questions about image transfer medium? I'd love to hear about them either in the comment section below or drop me an email by pressing the "Contact Me" button at the top of the blog.

    You will find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

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