Crafts Gone Wrong: Transparency Film Image Transfer Disaster

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originally posted June 13, 2011

Today I was going to bring you a tutorial on how to create your own wall art with an image transferring technique using transparency film. I saw this project in the Summer 2011 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Do It  Yourself magazine. It seemed easy enough, and I thought it would be the perfect way to create some artwork for an empty wall in my bedroom. Most of the supplies I had on hand already. I just needed to buy the transparency film.

For this project you need the following:

  • Artist canvas
  • Gel Medium
  • Transparency film – comes in either Inkjet or Laser – buy the kind suited to your printer
  • A spoon or bone folder
  • Sponge applicator or paintbrush
  • One of your awesome photos

I decided on one of my photos. This daisy to be exact.

I boosted up the color saturation a bit. Then I followed the instructions that came with the transparency film and printed my photo onto the film.

Next, I applied a thin layer of the gel medium to the canvas.

Placed my transparency, ink side down, onto the canvas and…

…rubbed the entire photo with the back of a spoon. I did this several times to make sure the image was transferring to the canvas and then slowly peeled back the transparency film to reveal my masterpiece.

Drum roll, please…

Ta da! Whoa, wait a minute. Seriously??? That’s it? The result is supposed to be a distressed looking image, but come on. This is a far cry from the original photo. I decided to try it again, boosting the color saturation a little more, and transferring it to a larger canvas.

Again, seriously?? The bigger one looks worse than the smaller one. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Maybe the photo I chose wasn’t suited to this kind of project, or maybe it just takes practice. It seems that the image on the smaller canvas is a bit more defined than the larger one, which looks like a red blob, so it might be that one type of canvas works better than the other. The smaller one is a gesso primed canvas. Maybe the gesso is the key. Or maybe I just suck at image transferring.

I did find this video on YouTube for image transfers using the transparency film, as well as some videos listed in the sidebar on other ways to do image transferring. I may try this project again or I might just try completely different projects for my transparency paper.

If you decide to try this image transfer project yourself, please let me know how it worked out. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the process.

Happy Crafting!

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5 responses

  1. I laughed. . . because it reminded me of a number of craft-projects-gone-bad that I have survived. Entertaining post.

  2. I stopped by your blog. I love that you write about things that don’t go the way we want. It happens to all of us. What kind of printer did you use? Different transfers call for laser versus ink printers.
    Great blog.

    • Hi Beth! I figure a good percentage of my crafting ends in disaster, so why not laugh it off and write about it occasionally.

      The transfers I used were definitely for the type of printer I have. I haven’t tried this craft again, but eventually I may have another go at it and tweak a few things to see if I can get it right.

  3. I plan in trying this today. I saw the same article in BHG. I did some looking around on YouTube to see if there were any tutorials there but only found 1 for inkjet transparencies transferring onto Canvas, and none that were color photos. All were black & white. But I did see one that did a transfer on paper they let it dry for a while before pulling back the transparency. How long did you let it set? Well, I’m gonna try it and see what happens. Wedding photos from my stepdaughters wedding on the beach I thought would look good with that gritty texture. I guess I will see…..?????

    • Hi Phyllis!

      I didn’t give it any time to set, which may have been part of the problem. Immediately after rubbing the photo with the spoon, I started peeling back the transfer paper. I haven’t tried this project since my initial attempt, so I don’t have any further advice to offer on this process. Good luck to you…I really hope yours turns out well.