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Transferring My Photocopies to Cloth

Today I played with some of my photos–laser printer copies of my photos–and attempted to transfer the images to cloth.  This has great possibilities.

booksImage Transfer Workshop: Mixed-Media Techniques for Successful Transfers  By Darlene Olivia McElroy

This is the source of the information that led to today’s experiments.  I used digital photos of my own that were printed on plain paper with a laser printer.  Laser printer is important because this works with the toner, not the ink in an inkjet printer.  You need a spray can of Krylon Crystal Clear (under $7 at Michaels), some cotton fabric which has been prewashed to remove any sizing, a wooden spoon or old credit card.  Then you just need a playful spirit.

Owl-transfer-frontThe technique was for black and white images, so I took my scan of my Owl #5 to Dilworth Packing Company to make a copy.  I followed the instructions and got nothing on my cloth.  I cannot explain that, but it turns out that the technique which has you saturate the photocopy with the acrylic sealer has a great effect on the paper.  Owl-transfer-backThis is the back of the plain piece of printer paper after the saturation.  The whole thing is translucent and has a great look to it.

But back to the cloth thing.  I decided to try some photos Steve had printed for me but they were all in color.  Well, “in for a penny, in for a pound” . . .

Tiffany-transferThis is the first attempt.  McElroy explains some common problems about getting good images in her book, so I blame this on being a newbie.  But…..I used a twill (diagonal) weave cotton for this and the texture on the cloth showed I wasn’t getting full contact.  I then tried printing it to a piece of white cardstock lying nearby.  Again I got a twill effect–the other half of the transfer that didn’t go on the cloth.  Eureka and Thomas Edison.  I discovered twill fabric doesn’t work.

Bikes-transferTry number three was another color photocopy, a bike burial ground in Australia.  This time I used cotton knit.  An aside:  I’m really playing with this to see if I can make cute appliques to cover food stains on my Tshirts.   A much better transfer yet still not strong color.  I also think this photo is too busy.

Mandala-transferNumber 4 is a watercolor pencil mandala assigned in a former art class.  I sprayed the heck out of this one.  I also used plain weave cotton–an old baby sheet to be exact.  This was my best impression.  I could add permanent ink to this to make a washable applique and put it on something.  Plus I would get the fun of coloring it all over again.

Mandala-frontBest of all is how the photocopy looks now.Mandala-back

I still have some other transfer techniques to try.

In the mean time I started a new bigger watercolor painting.

Hydrangea-in-progressThis is the beginning.  The blue tape is to keep the paper clean and provide a nice border to the finished painting.  This is an activity I found on line from the Learning Center on Susie Short’s website.  She even provides a traceable sketch to get you painting without worrying about drawing.  I love hydrangeas, especially blue ones.  Oh, you didn’t realize this was a picture of a hydrangea.  That’s because I got so rushed and excited laying on this first bit of color and then trying to fix it that it is really a blob.  Except for the leaves.  I have the start of some great leaves.

Hydrangea-in-progress-leaf-Check out that top one.  See the lines/veins.  Those are not drawn in.  They are carved into the paper with a stylus and then painted over again.  The second coat of paint seeps down in the depression of the veins and therefore dries darker than the surface color.  Isn’t that cool?

Later I’ll show you how I’m learning to draw watercolor tree trunks with a credit card.  I just love clever.

More later–

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