Four Transfer Methods to Try
Are you frustrated with your options for creating products and do you feel limited by a lack of expensive machinery? You don’t need to feel any of those things. People have been creating for decades without sublimation and without vinyl cutters. I love these conveniences and I own them, but sometimes it’s nice to get back to the basics. If you’re an avid crafter and you want to learn how to transfer images economically with some high-end results – keep reading.
You’ll need an inkjet printer to try these methods. A few more supplies that I would recommend that you keep in your stash anyway are waterslide paper, heat transfer vinyl paper, tissue paper, and regular printer paper. This project also calls for an acrylic sealer. I like mod podge, but there are others you can buy. To demonstrate these methods, I used scrap wood and drop cloth that I had on hand.
I love this method because it is quick, easy, and affordable. I buy the Hippoo brand paper from Amazon. In order to not waste any, I plan my projects and fill my entire sheet with images before I print. You can get a pretty good idea of how to use it by following the instruction sheet that comes in the package, but here are some helpful tips. Use very warm water. Spray the paper with the sealer right after it comes out of the printer and be sure you give it three even coats.
For my water slide demo here, I used graphics that I found right here on Creative Fabrica. Aren’t they beautiful? I plan to use these little tags on summer floral arrangements in our upcoming shows. Just a sweet little detail that people appreciate.
This is a method that I use a lot in the crafts that I make for resale. I print my images on regular gift tissue that I trim down to 8 ½ by 11. I tape it to a regular sheet of printer paper and use my inkjet printer. It is definitely necessary to seal this with an acrylic sealer. Two coats are plenty, just let the paper dry between coats. When your paper is dry cut around the image and use a very light coat of mod podge to adhere the paper to the surface. Press it down with your fingers and you shouldn’t get any wrinkles. Use a sanding sponge to remove any excess paper by sanding away from the edges then, apply a top coat of mod podge.
Tip: The lighter your background color is, the more vibrant your image will be.
Heat Transfer Vinyl Paper
I love this product because it has allowed me to make so many textile products that I thought I could only achieve with sublimation. I make pillows and flour sack towels featuring my original artwork using this product and I love the way they turn out.
I buy the paper on Amazon. It comes with instructions on how to use it, but again here are some tips. Don’t forget to reverse your image. Just look for the “Flip Horizontal” command and you’ll have a mirror image of your picture. When you cut your image from the paper, trim as close to the picture as possible. Iron on a hard surface and put a pillowcase under your fabric. I use a wood block on my kitchen counter to do this task. This is one of my favorite Creative Fabrica graphics
I think this product could also be used on wood. I’ve never tried it though. To conserve paper, I print several images on each sheet. This paper is also available for dark surfaces and comes in glossy or matte.
The last transfer method takes the most time, but you don’t need any special paper. I like to use this method for text and black ink only. I use an inkjet printer because that’s what I have. Results are better if you use a laser copy, and you can transfer photographs with this method if you have them printed on a laser printer. This method can be more unpredictable because you’re only transferring the ink and sometimes parts of it can rub off. This is the perfect method if you’re into a more rustic transfer.
For this project, I chose a graphic that I sized to fit on a small slat of wood. I reversed the image so that I had a mirror image then I printed it. I have watched several tutorials on this method over the years and I’ve never seen anybody apply a sealer to the ink. I thought it might help retain the color of the ink, so I applied a coat of the mod podge acrylic sealer.
The Plaid company makes a special mod podge for this method, but I just used regular matte mod podge. I cut around my image leaving a small border and marked the center on the back. This image will be applied face down. I applied a medium coat of mod podge and made sure it was as even as possible. The transfer will be more complete if there are no raised areas of thick mod podge.
After I had an even coat of mod podge, I laid the paper face down on the prepared board. I had painted the board with white chalk paint, but I’ve seen this method used on natural wood as well. Then I rubbed the entire surface with my fingertips to make sure there were no air bubbles or wrinkles. If you happen to have bubbles that won’t press out – try a heat gun. Just hit it for a few seconds and it should flatten right out.
Here’s the hard part. Now walk away and let it dry overnight. Patience isn’t something I’m good at, so this was hard for me. I did manage to wait until the next morning though.
After I gave my project time to dry completely, I took water and a wet cloth and wiped the top of the paper just enough to see that it was wet. Then I rubbed in a circular motion until the paper balled up and the ink was visible. This process takes some time. I found that after I had rubbed the paper from the entire image there was still a filmy layer visible over the ink. I wet my fingertips and rubbed lightly until it was gone. To seal my project, I just applied a coat of acrylic sealer. This is a great method for transfer if you want to keep things simple. I‘ve attached a video of one of my favorite creators.
She has mastered this technique and she’s the one that made me want to try it.
Whatever method you choose, just remember practice makes perfect! Until next time – happy crafting!
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