Image Transfer Methods for Everyone

August 14, 2009

Basic image transfers on polymer clay to make 'Tattoo Beads'.

Basic image transfers on polymer clay to make 'Tattoo Beads'.

Image transfer techniques are very popular for a variety of mediums and art.  I think it’s because you can create a lot of different atmospheres, image collages and mediums for great results.

There is a great website I found that outlines some basic methods using different mediums:

One method I like to play with I call Medium Paint.  To make Medium Paint you need some paint and some acrylic medium.  Mix the medium into the paint roughly 1 to 1 or up to 80/20 (the 80% being the acrylic medium).

Apply this mixture onto the image you want transferred.  Apply this mixture for a total of 10 layers or so and let it dry between coats.  Once you have it as thick as you need it and it’s totally dry, soak the paper that the image is on in water.  Roll the paper fiber off and you have a decal that can be cut with scissors, etc.  tinted by the percentage of paint you used in the mix.

Another image transfer method is to color a toner based image using Prismacolor pencils.  Paint a layer of liquid polymer onto the image (Fimo Gel, Sculpey Transfer Medium, Kato Liquid Polymer are common brands) and bake the entire thing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.   Once it’s cured, you can stretch the now cured liquid polymer to pull it away from the paper (paper doesn’t stretch).  This is a trick devised by my friend Julia Sober and it works really well to separate the polymer from the paper.  If this doesn’t work for you, you can soak it in water and remove the paper fiber off by gently rubbing it off.  YOu will ahve a colored image transfer decal when done.

Decals can be cut with scissors and collaged into things just using white glue as the adhesive to hold them in place.  I often take what I call ‘shards’ of decals and embed them into polymer clay or even onto fabric.  It’s a fun method to mess around with.

Embedded image transfers and polymer clay to make pins.

Embedded image transfers and polymer clay to make pins.


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