February 17, 2008

Gel Transfer Tutorial

(For Cate and anyone else who may be interested : .)

First of all, I used this link for instructions. They're quite good. If my directions are not clear, just click on the link and scroll around until you find their xfer tutorial : .)

You'll need:

1) Golden Gel Medium, my container is Soft Gel (Gloss). Any polymer acrylic medium should work.
2) A picture (color or B&W) freshly ink jet printed on regular text weight paper, or a photocopy. (Text will transfer backwards, so you probably don't want to use a picture with text that you want to read. I think text would look good as just a background tho'.)
3) The surface you are transferring to. I used cardstock, onto which I printed text and painted over the area where I wanted to transfer.
3) Paintbrush or fingers.
4) Something to burnish with, I used a bone folder and my fingers.
5) Small container of water.

Get your supplies ready.

Goop some gel medium onto the picture you want to transfer. I like to feel what I'm working with.

Make sure you have a good layer of the medium on your picture, too thin, it'll dry and not transfer; too wet and it will take forever for the transfer to dry for backing paper removal.

Burnish until it appears that the entire image has adhered to the base paper. I ended up using my fingers, its that tactile thing again. Some of the medium will probably ooze out from under the picture. Wipe it off, or leave it there...your choice. Let the piece dry to touch. If you are tempted to peel the backing layer off too early, you might be disappointed with the outcome, but sometimes that's the beauty of the transfer, the imperfectness of it all.

Start lifting a corner to see if the picture transferred. If it appears that your image has transferred, you can continue to peel off the backing paper. If some of the backing paper remains get like a half a drop of water on your finger and gently rub where the backing paper is still sticking and gently remove the extra paper. Sometimes it looks cool if you leave some on, again, your choice. Artistic license and all that! (I didn't take a photo of this step, it is in the tutorial.)

The finished product. The top picture of the three is the original, I just glued it onto the cardstock, the bottom two pictures are the gel transfers. Click on the picture to see the detail and the imperfectness of it all. (I made this at the request of the cute boy at the gym his favorite band is Sublime, however, he doesn't seem to keen to get it from me. I guess I learned a lesson here! Some people just don't appreciate the effort!) I like it, so I'm not opposed to keeping it for me.

There are other transfer methods, using clear packing tape, Dove blenders, acetone transfers, and there are the fab-o polaroid transfers. I've only tried the tape transfer. I'm kinda not interested in using toxic products, so I definitely haven't tried the acetone transfer method.


MandyKay said...

OH MY GAWD! I am in LOVE with this lo!
Dude. Seriously. My address is... lol
Rockin technique I will be trying this in the future!

madretz said...

lawsie mercy! i can't tell u how excited i am that you did a step by step tutorial!!! now if only my printer was working, i would so totally try to do this right this very moment! Love this, love sublime. Totally awesome. thank you!

zann said...

Well that is just cool. I'm going to play with that stuff on of these days. Thanks for the link and they how-to

emily said...

Ooh this is really cool. I may try this too.

a wandering heart said...


Nan said...

OH, OH, OH, I am so excited to see this. I'm heading to Dick Blick right now to order the golden gel medium so I can 'spearament!

Thank you so much, Phin!