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Thread: Acrylic Medium Transfer Tutorial
September 3rd, 2006 #1
Acrylic Medium Transfer Tutorial
ok - i posted this in my sketchbook, but since this is where a lot of people look for information on techniques, i thought it would be useful to post here...
doing an acrylic medium transfer is actually quite easy and quick. its just that the first time i did it it was for a bag with a really really rough surface which made everything a lot harder..
you can do this with photocopies of photographs, line art, paintings, whatever. and on almost any carrier, wood, fabrics, canvas, etc.
after you're done, you can go over the whole thing again and transfer another image if you want, or paint over it with acrylic, whatever.
i did this customized bag a little while ago, from a line drawing i did:
what you need for the acrylic medium transfer:
- a black and white (!) photocopy of whatever it is you want to transfer. mirrored of course, cause you're gonna print it... it seems to work best if the photo copy is not too old. for this tut i decided to use a blown up sketch i did on the train...
a contrasty source image will probably work better than some really weak greys. with line art i set the copy machine a bit darker, cause you loose a tiny bit of line weight in the transfer process. with a darker copy you can compensate for that.
-a carrier where you want to print on. i took a wooden panel and gessoed it twice (letting it dry in between). i didnt sand it cause i thought i might like an imperfect transfer.
-acrylic gel medium. i used golden acrylic regular gel gloss, but others might work fine too.
-a baren (i think thats the english name) to press on your print when you put it on your carrier.
-some old newspapers
-a sponge, bit of water, and some sheets of paper.
make sure your board or fabric, or whatever it is you want to transfer onto, is clean. ie. remove all dust, hairs etc beofre you start.
place the photocopy, copy side up and start putting acrylic medium on there. i use my fingers or a sponge to do this, depending on the surface.
do it quick and roughly even, no need to be anal about it. you can experiment with thick or thinner layers - which will affect drying time and when its best to pull away the paper. try out before you want to do an important piece. it works different for fabric or for board etc.
all done, and because i took time to wipe my hands and take a pic, i immediately started to flip the page, and position it on the board...
like so - it acts a bit like a sticker so be sure you tried out before where you want it on your board, and make sure you put it on like you would a giant sticker. meaning start from one side and make sure you get no bubbles.
then you take another piece of paper and put it between the copy and your baren or whatever it is you use to press and rub that print down. do it quick, and make sure you press down allover the print, without moving it of course. i mostly hold the art with one hand, and use one arm and my body weight to rub that stuff on there.
because i again take photos, i immediately begin peeling away the paper surface. what will happen, if everything goes right, is the upper layer will let go, while the bottom layer - with the photocopied art on it - stays on your carrier.
if you peel away too quick, you end up damaging your blacks, if you peel away too late, you end up with excessive paper, which is then more difficult to remove. try it a couple of times to get the timing right as it also depends on how much medium you put on there...
peeling - here you can see the upper layer and the bottom paper layer well
done, so far
now you need to get rid of the excess paper that is still covering you board and your art. this is the most difficult part. you can peel away with your finger, using your nails, or wetting your finger a bit, or with a damp sponge.
i mostly use an old construction-man glove that you can get here in japan. i wet it and go over the lines
you can see the effect of that here
the bigger patches where there is no art, just paper, i remove with the rough side of the sponge
looks done, but once that water you used to remove the paper dries, you start seeing a slight paper layer again. so you remove some more paper with the glove and water, all the time being careful not to rub too hard or you loose your blacks...
because i accidentally spattered paint on there i decided to add more paint splatter and drips.
and also used thinned black acrylic to paint over the black, saving me the work of getting rid of the last paper.
i sort of regretted this because i liked the rough, uneven quality of the transfer on un sanded gessoed panel. but there is no undo button so go with the flow...
you can of course go over your transfer with more acrylic medium, or paint over it, or do another transfer of a different image on top of this one. you can add a last gel medium layer if you want to seal that whole thing down (for outside use for example - which is what i did with the bag).
this is what the final looks like... right now. although i might go over it again with another transfer.
total working time, something like 20-30 minutes.
hope that inspires some people to try it out. again, you can also transfer black and white photos this way, and put it on your mailbox or car or whatever. try it out a bit before you commit to something irreplacable though. have fun.
Last edited by tensai; September 3rd, 2006 at 10:08 PM.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberSeptember 3rd, 2006 #2Registered User
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SWEEEEEEET!!! I am soo gonna try this, I didn't know acrylic gel medium could transfer, I've been using acetone and a copic colorless blender marker to transfer Xerox copies. I Have a question though, you did a transfer on a bag, is that bag washable? like could I do this on a shirt and wash it? if I paint acrylic over it can I wash it?
September 3rd, 2006 #3
tatsuyo - what i did with the bag was a couple of transfer, and acrylic and some ink in certain places. in between some stages i applied an additional coat of acrylic medium. then when i was done, i slapped on another layer of medium. it is a bag after all, and was custom made for somebody else, so i couldnt expect her to be all careful with it. because its acrylic i'm sure the bag is alright for use outside. she's been using it for a while and it actually looks a lot better now, less stiff. i guess you can wash it too but dont know for sure. easiest way to find out is just do a quick test on some piece of fabric you have lying around.
the acrylic layer gets pretty thick. even when you do just two coats (one for the transfer, one for the sealing) i don't think its suitable for on t-shirts. unless its just for fun, i mean - my friends once gessoed a three piece suit and it looked really cool, but was of course more of a costume kind of thing than anything properly wearable.
Last edited by tensai; September 4th, 2006 at 03:05 AM.
September 4th, 2006 #4Registered User
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Oh cool! thanks for the awesome tutorial!
September 4th, 2006 #5
Wow, this sounds like a fun way to start a painting! Thanks for the tutorial!
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September 4th, 2006 #6
did you do the second on a foam-core board? you can also tone it diffrent colors by adding alittle paint to the gel medium.
September 4th, 2006 #7
Thanks for posting this Tensai. I tried this kind of thing before and failed miserably. Your tut made me want to try your way ! (I was just about to redecorate an old coffee table and go nuts on it.)
September 7th, 2006 #8
Do show me some of the stuff you guys do. Anything, line drawings, photographs, failures, succeses. Post it up!
September 13th, 2006 #9
A thing to consider with t-shirts, if anyone is interested -
You can buy acrylic that is specifically for textiles/fabrics. If you used this to go over your transferred line work, you would not need tons of layers of medium, thus eliminating some build up you may get... These paints are meant to be heat-fixed (like ironing the backside of them, or tossing them in the dryer), once they are fixed they are machine washable and permanent!
One question though, would this work with only photocopies, or can you utilize prints you get off your own printer?
September 15th, 2006 #10Registered User
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oh great tip jska, I'm afraid I think it only works with Photocopy ink
October 12th, 2006 #11
Wow thanks! I've been looking for a tutorial like this!
October 23rd, 2006 #12
Anything inkjet should transfer fine.
October 23rd, 2006 #13
inkjets dont work. they have to be photocopied or fax to work the best.
because gel medium can be pricey if your doing big peices clear caulking works just as well. this clear laminate stuff works well too. you pull of the back and rub the paper too it and remove the paper like above.
February 12th, 2007 #14
February 12th, 2007 #15
Wander over to Whole Foods or some other supermarket and get some "Citra-solv" all purpose conentrated cleaner. Does the same thing
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February 15th, 2007 #16
I tried to do this with clear caulk but nothing transfered, anyone have any idea what I am doing wrong??