Saturday, July 13, 2013

Photo image transfers onto canvas tutorial with Gel Medium (with pictures!)

Dear passer-by reader,

Thanks for stopping by my unfortunate, inconsistently updated blog BUT I do try!!!

For those who stops by occasionally to see what I've made, thank you! :o)

I've started playing with image transfers onto canvas and it can be quite fun despite the "finger fatigue", splits from rubbing off paper fibres and the waiting time for the gel medium to dry!

Here are a few of the canvases that I have done for my friends: 

For a friend/colleague/photographer who took this macro shot

 For a friend's/colleague's first granddaughter

 For my best friend's wall, a picture of Venice that I have forgotten to print as mirror image

As you can see, there are some bits that rubbed off due to: certain spots being rubbed to hard OR have not dried properly OR no gel medium contact OR bubbles.

Here's the brief!

Goodies that I used:
  • LASER toner printed mirror-image on photocopy paper (don't waste your money on the good quality papers!) NOT INKJET
  • Liquitex Gloss Gel Medium (Purchased from
  • Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish (Purchased from
  • Sponge brush/applicator (poly brush they call it)
  • Canvas (Sizes entirely up to you! I use primed canvases only)
  • Card (Credit card size) or bone folder (Not pictured)
  • Spray bottle with clean water 
  • A clean, covered work surface OR craft mat (I use the Ranger Craft Mat)
  • Hands (Not pictured)
  • Lots of patience! (Spiritually in the pictures! haha)

    • Print your selected image (colour or blank&white) onto CHEAP-O-SKATE photocopy paper. Make sure it is a mirror image, especially when there are words/letters. My husband has been bugging me for weeks for a picture of our two furry children so I decided to make him one to take to work. He's a manly man but a big softie when it comes to our furry kids!
    • Prep the printed image and canvas with the gel medium. I used the sponge brush to apply the gel medium onto the canvas and the medium instead of just one or the other. 
    • The paper (picture below) is warped because of the moisture from the Gel Medium. Not too sure if you could see the sheen on the canvas... I applied enough to make the picture look translucent.
    • Slap (not literally) the printed image side down onto the canvas
    • Smooth out the paper with the credit card or the bone folder OR your fingers (I use my fingers on the paper side and credit card on the back canvas).
    • Do NOT press too hard when smoothing out the paper because it will rip due to the gel medium softening the paper. Trust me. IT WILL RIP!!! Do NOT press too hard when smoothing out on the canvas backside because that will move most of the gel medium to the sides making it all lumpy and raised (if the sides have kinda dried a little bit). IT WILL BE LUMPY AND RAISED!!! 
    • Gently smooth out the bubbles from centre to side with your fingers on the photocopy paper then apply a wee bit of pressure with the card/bone folder when smoothing from the backside of the canvas.
    • ***DO THIS STEP AT YOUR OWN RISK!*** I learned this from the Golden brand on Youtube (may not be a great idea but I did it anyway because I'm impatient!!!) that I can leave the canvas to dry for a couple of minutes then SLOWLY peel off one corner to reveal whether the image have latched onto the canvas. If the image has been "transferred" or stuck onto the canvas, you can slowly peel back the paper DIAGONALLY. It will peel off a layer of the paper and leave another layer that's attached to the gel medium. Less paper to rub off later! ;o) 
    **If the image is still on the paper, it is not ready. If you pulled part of the paper where the image is still on the peeled paper, apply a tiny dab of gel medium onto the image then slap it down onto the canvas.... then try to peel from another corner to avoid peeling the image off the canvas**

     See the layer difference after you peel off the paper from the canvas?
    • THEN LEAVE IT TO DRY! I gave it a few hours to dry. I can't wait 24 hours!!! There's my patience!
    • Now's the fun part but you have to be patient as well. Spray the remaining layer of paper on canvas with water. Enough to dampen until image is translucent then start rubbing the paper off. You have to repeat this process a few times because when it dries, there will still be paper fibres on there. So be patient and slowly rub them off! **Some crafters use soft sponge or rag but I prefer my fingers so I can "feel" when I have rubbed most of the fibres off**

     This was the first rub off.. May have to do this a few times to get rid of most paper fibres!
    • Once you reckon that most of the fibres are off the image, let it dry then apply the Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish with the poly brush. Let it dry and apply another layer of the Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish as the final coat of protectionnnnnn.
    ***You may still see some paper fibres on the canvas when it dries. I tend to rub LIGHTLY (after a few wet, rub and dry sessions) until I could actually feel that no fibres will come off the picture, even if it dried with paper fibres still on it. Then I test a small area with the varnish to see if the image will come up clear. If it does, OH EXCITEMENT TO VARNISH THE WHOLE CANVAS!!!***

      Done Done Done DOOOOOOONNNNNEEEEE! :o) Enjoy your proud handmade product! :o)

      1 comment:

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