My friend Mary has mastered the art of transferring graphics to cloth and recently, she spilled her secrets of how she creates custom pillow masterpieces.
If you are one of those who admire the burlap and old world styled linen French pillows that have made their way around big retailers like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, you can create your own designs using Mod Podge, water and a printed graphic. Here is how to do it………..
A. Purchase A Photo Transfer Medium
Mod Podge Photo Transfer which sells for $10 dollars on Amazon was used for this project. Mary recommends using Artisan Enhancement Transfer for projects that involve wood, and Mod Podge for fabric transfers. You can find a number of products on Amazon, including Omni, Deco-Art, Ranger Ranger which can be used for image transfers for wood or fabric.
- Artisan Enhancement Transfer Projects On Pinterest
- Artisan Enhancement Transfer Products From Robyn Story Designs
- Mod Podge “Fabric” which sells for a little over $4 dollars on Amazon
B. Print Your Graphics
You can transfer color, black and white, and sepia images. The trick is to use a printer which works off of a toner. Will an inkjet or laser jet printer work? Will a printer that takes toner cartridges work? Laser is toner, so this project will work with a laser printer.
- Tip: If you plan on printing out a graphic that has words or numbers, you will want to select an option on your printer which allows you to print a “mirror image”.
- Tip: Natural materials like cotton and linen work best with this project.
Steps 1-4 Looking at the pictures above of Mary’s project she cuts out her image, and uses chalk to trace out the measurements on the fabric. You can use dark fabric, so long as it’s natural and porous. Next, she paints the Mod Podge paste on the fabric and additionally paints the paste on the image side of the graphic. Next, she places the graphic on to the pasted fabric, and presses out air bubbles. Mary suggests letting the project dry for 24 hours.
Steps 5-8- Once your fabric has dried for 24 hours, submerge your fabric into a tray of water and carefully wait till image starts appearing through wet paper. Very carefully start peeling off the paper. The image will show through as you go along. Use room temp water and wait for image to show through then carefully rub off back. Rinse and then gently rub off excess paper and rinse again. Let your graphics dry. Use clear wax to seal your graphic. As you can see in step 8, she uses a number of additional graphics, along with trims to complete her throw pillows.
See all Mary’s projects on Instagram
C. Finding Images To Transfer
There are a number of places to find images to transfer. Here are a few that I have found along the way…..
– Your Local Library– If your library functions like mine, they can bring in books from around the nation for a small fee. I have saved myself $50 to $80 dollars for books this way for the small cost of $3 dollars per book when they use inter-library loans. Inquire if your library is able to bring in books, and what the cost is to borrow them. Research the names of the books you are interested in, and have your local librarian look them up to see if they are available.
– Go On Pinterest– You would be amazed what is pinned when it comes to old world graphics. There are tons of images that are available for personal use. You can print these off at home, or go to Staples, or Office Depot to print larger prints for transferring larger images.
– Dover Pictorial Archive’s books are Royalty free images which allow you to make your own art from their graphics and sell it as a business. Below are my favorite 48 books which contain thousands of graphics that could be used on throw pillows, furniture, or art in general. Many of these images are black and white, but with a photo editing program, like GIMP, you can select “colorize” and make them appear in a colored format, or leave them black and white.
-24+ Great Ideas For Transferring Graphics On Furniture – The Painted Furniture
“Slightly dampen your project to facilitate the ink transfer. I generally wiped it with a damp cloth, and then waited a minute or two for it to be nearly dry. Print a reverse image of your graphic (I copied my images into Microsoft Word. Click on the image, and a new tab called “Picture Tools” will appear at the top of the page. Click on the tab and then on the “Rotate” option, and “Flip Horizontal”) directly onto an overhead transparency (you can buy individual sheets from a copy center; no need for a whole box). Tape it in place“
Read more – Transparency Transfers – Red Hen Home
“Rub the back of your stencil to transfer the entire vinyl to the clear transfer paper. Carefully and slowly peel off the squared paper. Place and center your vinyl on the tote as you would do on any other surface. I use clear transfer paper for my vinyl, that way it is really easy for me to see where I am placing my template.” Read more at The 36th Avenue
Read more of the table transfer project at How To Stencil Furniture- The 36th Avenue
Using Large Shipping Labels ( 8.5 x 11 inches) To Transfer Graphics
This technique involves large shipping labels, which come in packs of 100. Simply peel off the back of the label, press firmly onto the fabric, and cut around the label. Load the label/fabric into your printer so that the fabric side will be printed on.
Read more How To Print On Fabric Using an Inkjet Printer-The Decorated House
“Coat the back of the paper with acetone and firmly burnish all of the inked areas with a spoon or brayer. Peel the paper off and, assuming you used enough solvent and pressed hard enough, the ink will have transferred from your paper to the canvas”
Read more How To: Make a Gigantic Solvent Transfer- Man Made DIY
“Place a piece of packing tape carefully over your printed image. Avoid getting wrinkles or bubbles in or under your tape. Using your bone folder or the smooth side of a spoon, burnish (rub!) the tape to ensure complete contact between the ink/paper and the adhesive. Tear away the extra paper from the edges of your tape, turn your image over and peel away some of the paper from the back. You do not need to peel off all of the paper, but removing some will help the water to penetrate and will make your life a lot easier about 2 steps down…. “
Read more –Image Transfer Tutorial (Packing Tape Version) Krissi’s Art Studio
This would be a great idea for graphics to frame….
“I took a piece of copy paper and sprayed spray adhesive on the top and the bottom. I left the middle with no spray. This was just to get the tissue paper to adhere so it would go through the copier. I laid the tissue on the sheet of paper and trimmed it to fit the 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of copy paper. I then ran the paper through my copier and copied the image like normal. “
Read more – Homemade Script Tissue Paper – Little Miss Maggie Blog
Their trick involves brushing on Elmers glue onto paper, allowing it to dry, then running it through the printer, and then using Mod Podge to transfer it as usual.
Read more at How To Transfer Inkjet Images To Wood- Matsutake Blog
“Dip your q-tip in paint thinner and rub it on the back of your printout — it will become translucent! Then, take a solid, smooth anything (I used a letter opener made of bone) and carefully but firmly rub all over the picture, so the ink transfers well to the surface. Larger pictures may need step-by-step action, as the thinner quickly evaporates”
Read more- How To Transfer A Black and White Picture Onto Any Surface Using Paint Thinner -Mademoiselle Chaos Blog
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