Monday, August 10, 2009


I recently purchased a new book on making books. Why? Because if I bought this book as a second book I would get free shipping on the book I was really interested in. I have a feeling there is no economy of savings in this plan but I did get two terrific new books. Anyway, in the "Book + Art, Handcrafting Artists' Books" by Dorothy Simpson Krause (North Light Books) there was this photo transfer idea I had to try. I was so excited when it worked!!! And it was easy with better results than I have ever had from other photo transfer processes. Plus, you can use the print from a home ink jet printer as opposed to the toner prints from Kinko's or other such places.

Here is one of my experiments on regular watercolor cold press along with the second print (referred to as the ghost print). You print out your image onto transparent plastic sheets designed for ink jet printers. There is a special setting on the printer for this type of product to feed through. I had no problems with it feeding or printing, I used Grafix brand (6 sheets for $6.29) The book called for some exotic product that I couldn't find so I thought I would try this and was surprised and delighted that the process worked. The first print I made I used the maximum ink and transfered the image to a smooth print maker's paper like BFK Reeves. A PERFECT TRANSFER! But, I thought I didn't need to use so much ink. This is my second try and I wanted to see how it would look on watercolor paper. I used the "normal" ink setting on the printer and I think there was plenty of ink.

Here is the very cool news....the transfer medium is the hand sanitizer, Purell, which is an alcohol gel!!!! You just spread it on the paper with a credit card or such, place the image ink side down on the paper and burnish the back of the plastic film. It takes just a minute and it is done! I tried a "store brand" of this alcohol gel and it had aloe in it and it still worked. I can get a large bottle of this brand for much less than Purell.

I'm not sure how I am going to use this transfered image but I am considering a lot of different mixed media ideas. I did a small transfer onto YUPO to see if it would work. A little trickier but it did work. However, I took a wet brush to the corner of the image after it had dried and, sure enough, it can wash off if care isn't taken to preserve it. I also tried cleaning off the plastic and reusing it by printing on the other side. This was not too successful. I'm not sure how light fast these prints will be. I will have to do a window test. I suspect they will fade.


Chris Beck said...

Myrna, I was delighted to run into you at the Pacific Art League reception Friday night and I'm doubly delighted that you've posted the directions for this cool technique that you were telling me about. I've got to check this out.

jgr said...

It's VERY exciting and thank you for sharing what you've learned. I have tried many transfer techniques with not so good results in the past.

I can't wait to try this! It sounds very promising.
Your transfer looks awesome.

teri said...

What a great process - thanks for sharing!

Suzy said...

Neat!Looks great!
and what is the name of the book?

meera said...

nice technique to know for mixed media!! I have used gel medium similarly and transfered magazine, or sunday colored comic pics, - I used it on my "painted pebbles" and explained the process in "Trial and Error" -- Its a lot of fun -isn't it? Thanks again for sharing one more way -and using our own prints! - will have to try it too :)

lynne said...

love the effects of the photo transfer - what is tghe book called?

Myrna said...

I awoke this morning knowing I needed to name the book. I was too tired last night to go into the studio and get it. LAME! I have changed the original post to include the book title, which is "Book + Art Handcrafting Artists' Books" by Dorothy Simpson Krause. Published by North Light.

RHCarpenter said...

I like the lighter one best and can see you using this in collages and watercolors in the future - you are always experimenting and thanks so much for being generous with your knowledge!!

Anonymous said...

Myrna, It was very exciting to run into your blog at a time I was looking for a little inspiration. I bookmarked your web site and it doesn't want to come up. Is it my server or is their a problem. My emai is could you email me I would so appreciate it.

Diana Barringer

Nick said...

Sounds like a magic trick! there is a guy named Ed at the Plaza Art store in Rockville that seems to know every variation on this kind of thing, you two might cross paths someday - I'd like to be a fly on the wall. :)

Magdalena Bogart said...

Thank you for sharing this. I admire how you forge ahead and find and try out new things.


lifeartist said...

I have 2 DVDs on Ink Jet Transfer Techniques. There are lots of demos on these kinds of techniques. I met the author at a printmaking conference in Chciago. It's very exciting stuff!

It worked beautifully for you!

Contact me if you want more details.

lifeartist said...

You might try an unsized printmaking paper like copperplate. It absorbs the purell like a blotter and the transfers are nearly perfect.

Jeanette said...

This is so neat. I'll have to try this.

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