Image Transfer

Transferred the ubiquitous phrenology head onto a page in my world atlas art journal, then colored in the shapes with Sharpies. Painted around the head with Reeves Payne’s grey tube watercolor, then sprinkled that with a bit of kosher salt.

(Yes, I was actually trying to have the edge of the head go through the Twin Cities!)



Go to Ikea and haul some $1 candles. Pick out some awesome images from magazines, newspapers, scrap paper, criminal records, what have you..and prepare to have your mind blown.

What you need:


+Wax paper

+Heat tool that heats to 425 degrees

How to:

place image on candle and tightly wrap sheet of wax paper around the  candle; grasp the extra wax paper so your image stays in place and you don’t burn your fingers. set the image by moving the heat tool around the image, you’ll see the color change as the paper is set in the wax. keep the heat tool moving as you see it set.  after it is all transfered simply peel off the wax paper and reuse pieces around the edges if necessary.

I sacrificed a copy of issue 10 of The Wicked and The Divine for the following craft project.

And by ‘sacrified’ I mean I literally chopped Baphomet’s head off.

Using an image transfer method to take the designs I wanted off the printed page I then applied them to some bases and made these shiny things:

A closer look at one:

They’re really, really shiny:

Well, they glow in the dark at any rate.

I’m really pleased with how my pantheon of pins have come out and it was a good test of the image transfer method.

However, if I want Lucifer in there properly I’ll have to sacrifice an earlier issue.

Tip Jar Thursdays

Project of the Day – Fast and Easy Image Transfer

By  Sally Ann Lentz (Limited Edition Sketchbook Project 2012)

There are many types of image transfer techniques.  This week I will share with you a very fast and easy technique for transferring an inkjet printer image.  These images can be transferred directly to your blank sketchbook page or onto a prepared background.  If you do intend to transfer onto a background, you may want to spray it with a workable fixative before applying the transfer.  In this example we are transferring a black and white butterfly image onto a piece of watercolor paper which has an acrylic paint background.


  • Transparency film for ink jet printer
  • Selected Image
  • Soft gel medium
  • Paint Brush
  • Sketchbook or other substrate (e.g., watercolor paper as in demo)
  • Ink jet printer


Estimated Time:  10 minutes

Let’s do It!


Step 1:  Using an inkjet printer, copy your selected image onto a transparency film for ink jet printers.  The transparency film has a smooth wrong side and a slightly rough right side.  Take care that the ink lands on the right (rough) side of the transparency. 

Step 2:  Prepare your substrate with a coat of gel medium where you wish to place your image.  Be sure to cover an area large enough to capture the entire image.  The medium will dry clear so there is no disadvantage to covering an area somewhat larger than your image.  The gel should be applied relatively lightly for a smooth even coat. 

Step 3:  Place the transparency image right (rough) side down on top of the gel medium.  Use your fingers to lightly burnish the image.  Press and rub the image gently into the gel medium for a minute or so. 


Step 4:  Carefully lift the edge of the transparency to check for “doneness.”

If the image has not fully transferred, continue to press and rub the top of the transparency and check again.  If you want a less precise image (grunge effect) you may want to reduce your burnishing.


Step 5:  Carefully lift and remove the transparency to reveal your image adhered to the substrate.  You did it!

If you intend to add color to the image, you should spray the image with a workable fixative (e.g., Krylon).  Now you may color in or on top of the transferred image.  Keep in mind that you may achieve interesting effects by transferring on top of an already prepared background as I have done here. You are not limited to transferring black and white images.  Try the same technique with color images. 

Another Image Transfer Technique


In this example we are transferring a color laser print image of a seahorse.  Please note that this technique will not be successful with inkjet prints.  The ink will not adhere to the tape.


  • Clear packing tape
  • Selected Image (laser print or magazine)
  • Sketchbook or other substrate
  • Bowl of water
  • Burnishing tool (bone folder/scissors handle/palette knife handle)  

Estimated Time:  10 minutes

Let’s do It!

Step 1 :  Cover image with one layer of clear packing tape.  If your image is wider than the width of the tape you will need to use two pieces – one against the other.

Step 2:  Use a burnishing tool to press and rub the ink onto the tape.  You may use a bone folder for this purpose if you have one.  You can also use  a scissors handle or the handle of a palette knife, as shown here.  You should be able to see the areas that are sufficiently burnished as they will appear to be slightly darker.


Step 3:  Once you are satisfied that the image has been sufficiently burnished, you may wish to cut the image down before you move onto the next step.


Step 4:  Immerse the taped image into a bowl of clean water and allow to soak for several minutes.

Step 5:  Use your fingers to gently rub the paper from the tape.  The inked image will remain on the tape.


 Step 6:  Continue to wet the image and rub away the paper until the image is free and clear of paper threads 


You’re finished!  You have a beautiful, slightly transparent image to use in your sketchbook or other art project.  I recommend the use of gel medium to adhere the image to your substrate.  Use one coat on the substrate.  Position the image in place over the gel medium and then add another coat on top of the taped image.  Other adhesives may also be effective.  Experiment and enjoy!

First photo transfer attempt!! It was accidental the first time but I’m thrilled with this trial and error.

Here.. A magazine page cut out that I found pretty and a book page (I would have picked my page more wisely had I known it would work so well!)

Mod Podge to book page an over image, pressed image down onto page and used brayer to smooth out bubbles. Heat gun for 30 seconds or until dry. Brushed water over page to loosen mod Podge and peeled up the magazine page!! Voila!!