Easy Gloss Gel Transfers An Eco Art Practice | Jennifer Belair | Skillshare

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Easy Gloss Gel Transfers An Eco Art Practice

teacher avatar Jennifer Belair, Printmaking + beyond

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Samples

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Getting started

    • 5. Vintage nat geo

    • 6. Laser print reveal

    • 7. Recap

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to effortlessly create acrylic gloss gel transfers! It is a fun, easy and safe method of image transfering. Transfers can be created using laserjet print outs, vintage national geographic magazines, and contemporary magazines.

I go through each method to see which one might work best for you. My favorite is the vintage national geographic. The materials list is minimal and it opens the opportunity for mixed media approaches to art-making. I can't wait to see what you make.

The materials list is below--in addition, vegetable oil can come in handy--curious? Check out the videos!


Meet Your Teacher

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Jennifer Belair

Printmaking + beyond


Jennifer Belair Sakarian is an artist, educator, and writer living in Michigan. She received her Master's in Fine Art in 2013 at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her primary focus is printmaking and mixed media approaches to art-making. As an avid nature lover, she tries to instill green practices into her studio practice and subsequently into her Skillshare classes. 

She loves working with students and creating projects that are fun, inspiring and approachable. She is transitioning from traditional academia to online platforms such as Skillshare and hopes to keep learning along the way!

During graduate school, she had been designing and silkscreening gig posters for her favorite bands--some of which you can purchase on her Etsy page-cle... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello, everyone. It's Jennifer billers, a Korean, and this class is titled Gloss Gel Medium Transfers. This is a class for any student. Essentially, you could be really creative or someone was just trying to break into your creative sort of pathway. So it's essentially a new technique to add to your toolbox to learn something new, essentially, how to get one image from one source onto another without using printmaking without using toxic chemicals and things like that. So it's a really great D i y at home kind of practice. So essentially anyone could do it regardless of your studio space, your size and its relatively cheap to do as well, which is really fantastic at this classes for any anybody realistically. But you know, it's for anyone who's really wanting to explore mixed media practice. It's a technique that could be done on paper, wood fabric and just add so much depth in so much beauty to it. So I want to go ahead and jump right into it and get started with showing you some examples as well as the materials needed. So let's go ahead and get started 2. Samples: So here's an example of a piece that I had done on some regular Muslim cotton fabric. I just wanted to try it. I've never done it on fabric, so I had this image on. It's printed on a laser jet printer, which is super important for this process. So if you want to print something out from your computer via photo shop or illustrator or something like that, preferably, you know your own work or something that you have rights, too, or you're gonna change quite a bit but just needs to be laser laser printer will kind of go over. Why, exactly? But you can see it turned out pretty sharp. It looks great. It's not 100% clear, but that's the beauty of this process is that it's not going to be exactly as the image itself. Another thing to know it will always print in reverse. So if you're doing something from the printer and plan on using a laser jet printer, make sure you flip it first on, said program, and then you can go from there. So that's kind of a self portrait that I did on this fabric. You know, it could be great for different installation purposes and things like that. But I feel pretty happy with how this one turned out. So that's on fabric. And here's another example. This one was done on a piece of paper. I believe it was Bristol board. It's a really great substrate to use, which is the one I'll be using in our demo. But essentially, it's an image that was collaged from National Geographic, you know, using these really old pronounce from seventies and essentially clashing it. Using this process again, it prints in reverse, so you always have to keep that in consideration. This one's nice and cream, because it just got back from Art show so you can do so many different things. And it's just fun to really Explorer and created making steaks and really have fun with this. I'm really proud of this one. I feel really, really thankful for how it turned out. There's a lot of really nice detail, especially in the Great Barrier Reef there on throughout. So that's on paper. Using National Geographic images. This year was done on, I believe, watercolor paper. So there waas some photographic images that I had cut out essentially this grass pattern. I cut it out into the shape of the box, kind of use the Exacto blade to cut away. So there seems a little triangles for his knees in the eyes and things like that, and also the stomach there on this one. It kind of shows the beauty of the trade, or I'm sorry, the Gloucester transfer. Sometimes it doesn't always work out as expected, but that's also the beauty of it, too, because you're constantly problem solving and figuring out How am I gonna make this work you can do on canvases? Well, I unfortunately don't have any examples of that, but I feel this one turned out really nice. I did a coating of the gloss Joe on top of the action after I transferred it. So just something to be aware of. It can be a little bit unpredictable, and that could be because I have kind of cheaper paper. But again it works. It's it's something that's interesting, and I feel really excited about it. The next piece I want to show you is a sample I did with my students, and these again were laser laser printed, so they printed fairly nice. They were black and white portrait sor photos. And then we did some mixed media application after with some water color and things like that. So we had this portrait of a student, and then they decided to cut her out into the shape of a duck s. So that's what we have here. And then this 12 turned out pretty nice. So, yeah, that's that's kind of the what to expect on paper. So we'll go ahead and get started looking at armed. 3. Materials: So I already mentioned how kind of d I Y. And easy. This project is to approach with some minimal materials and tools. So I'm gonna go over kind of the most important one first, which is your artists? Acrylic medium gloss gel. So this is bought from Blick or you tracked here in Michigan and I believe this is about 10 bucks, but I've only have used it quite a bit, and they're still gets kind of stuck if you don't open it. But I, uh, I have used it a bunch of times, and there's still quite a bit in there. So it's essentially something you that's used for acrylic painters that they add to their They're paint that way. It has this kind of glossy jelly effect to it, which is really desirable for some acrylic painting artists. So this is what you need. Um, artist acrylic medium gloss Joe. There's also liquid text brand that's a little bit more expensive, so it just depends on what's in your budget. The next thing you're going to need is a phone brush, so I have one of these here, or you can also use a chip brush. But something that's relatively flat and clean. And there's not like to money bristles that are glued together stuck. So I like to stick with this one. But you can experiment and see what works best for you. Also, water will also be quite useful paper tall or some kind of artist rag. Things like that. Um, scissors on exact blade can come in handy. So pretty, pretty common things around the house. Wax papers. Also really useful. Just as a kind of a palette. This is just from the dollar store. So it wasn't too costly. Next, you'll need a substrate or you're backing paper. This is just Bristol board. I'm gonna use for the purpose of this demonstration slash class on. Then you're gonna need some imagery to work with. So I have this old school, National Geographic magazine. It's printed in What does this one printed? 1957. So it's pretty much antique, but you can see there's so much beautiful color. Uh, something about these ones transfers really well. I also had students use contemporary magazines too, So we're gonna try actually a little bit of each different options. So between your vintage National Geographic and then I have already a cut out of a contemporary magazine. So this is kind of my piece and gonna work with in addition to a laser jet printers. So we'll go over these images as I'm kind of talking about him and get an idea for how the process works, how to lay things out, etcetera, etcetera. So let's go ahead and get started. 4. Getting started: Let's look at the images that I'm going to be using. The's ones are from National Geographic, the vintage magazines. The fun part about this process is that you might have a desired image. You might change it, and then you might turn it around and discover Oh, my goodness, the back is really beautiful to So you have to decide kind of where and how you want your your imagery to be displayed. So I kind of like thes slipping. So this is the original house supposed to look, But I really like the idea of having this one getting transferred and then essentially having this side kind of that way. So they're kind of incongruous, right? They're not meant to go together. But I'm gonna make him go together somehow. So the basic premise was behind this process is that the acrylic medium glass joe medium will be coded on your image on the side that you want to transfer, and as it dries, it pulls the ink, it pulls the printing material, what have you from the backing paper? And it dries it so and then it essentially is adhered to your substrate or you're backing paper or whatever you decide to collage on to. So it's a really cool process. It can be a little hard to grasp at first just because you are thinking in reverse. But another thing I would recommend it's having a pencil. So one thing I like to do is kind of think about my composition and where did I want things to be laid out? So I want to have kind of, ah, conversation happening between these two pieces. So I'm gonna go ahead and make little matches in the corners just so I can remember how they're lined up. And if it's not perfect, that's okay. This is essentially a test piece. If it turns out really good, then I'll say this is a fine art piece, but you know how it goes. So I'm just kind of making light lines a couple of different areas here just so I can easily pop it back into place when I'm ready. So looking at this, this will not be on the paper. This piece will, so it's going to transfer in reverse, so just keep that in mind. It's a little weird at first to get your head around, but you can do some really cool things. So this is for Project One, and this one is kind of make a note of it a vintage National Geographic. And it's just fun to do Good to keep notes. Good to understand how things were gonna work out. So Well, go ahead and apply some of the gloss gel media to these pieces and see what happens. All right, so I have my images turned around. This is actually a piece of scrap paper, so I know it doesn't look like scrap paper, but it's an old art. So it is scrap paper. Even if it doesn't look like it, I'm gonna go ahead and grab my glass jail transfer and then my application phone brush and grab a piece of wax paper. Or again, you can scrap papers, the wax paper person. So it works for me. So I'm just getting out my wax paper and then opening my jar up. And essentially what you're going to do is put a small dollop of Kloss, Joe, your wax paper. Your palate. What have you on? Essentially, I'm going to paint a nice even coding of this material on here. So It's pretty straightforward, really easy to do, but you just want a nice even coat. If you can help it, you can experiment with different methods of application to. Sometimes you'll get a dry little I guess. Blue Burger. So you want to watch out for that. But you want to make it nice and smooth, so not too much extra. Our access. You don't want it to be too much, but you don't want it to be too thin, too. So there's kind of this happy medium that happens, and you just kind of have to get a feel for I wish I could say Apply half a teaspoon of glass down. You'll be really happy with the results, but honestly, it's it's kind of ah, beast of its own. So I'm just applying it nice and then making sure the whole image is saturated. We're gonna do the same thing up top. Your hands will get a little bit dirty, so just keep that in mind. So same thing. Just, uh, it nice, even coat making sure every little area is properly coated. You can see I'm doing it kind of haphazardly in some ways, like pretty quick and that's fine. Doesn't have to be too meticulous, but you essentially don't want it to dry because you wanna be able to put it onto your paper. So I'm just gonna set this aside for now, and we'll go ahead and put it on to our vacuum where we made our marks. So this is our paper. I'm gonna go ahead and pick these up bottom one first, and I'm going to try to position it as best as I can to those little marks I made earlier, starting with one corner and adjusting it as needed. That looks pretty good from here. I'm gonna go ahead and use my hand. You can also use, like, a debit card or something like that to burnish it even more. I think my hand will be sufficient for now. I'll probably go over it with a card here in just a bit, just for safekeeping. And then I have my top pieces. Well, somebody could grab that. You have to be careful because it can stick into your other piece of paper. So once you're done putting you on, I would probably toss that other scrap paper. So I've done this quite a bit. So I have more experience with how I'm handling it. So you're feeling a little overwhelmed? Just I would suggest doing it slow, so that one is all set. I'm gonna go ahead and look for a card or something. Blunt. Teoh, Burnish it. So it looks like I have a piece of cardboard. So this will have to suffice for now So you can use a debit card, anything like that. An old card, Maybe not your credit card or debit cards. Right. So just kind of applying pressure. You can also use your thumb, but you essentially want to make sure that the image is really nice and stuck. So this is the part that requires a lot of patients is essentially. You just have to wait. You have to wait about at least one hour minimum, but I prefer to wait until the next day because it's a little bit easier for me when you're doing your burnishing with your debit card or your credit card. If some of the glue pops out, that's okay. It just means that you need to clean it up and wiped it away as soon as you can So we're gonna go ahead and let this one sits and we'll pick back up on this one tomorrow, So I'm gonna go ahead and go over the next one. So this is our National Geographic. Here we have our contemporary image from a more recent National Geographic. The image has already been cut out, and here I'm just marking the spots where I wanted to transfer. I remember that. It's gonna look kind of backwards at first and essentially the paper itself. And the part you want to transfer will be, I guess you could say kissing one another. Um, so here I'm just applying the gloss gel, this one. I'm being a little bit more liberal within a little less, I guess Clean. With so applying it all throughout with a nice even coding, you know, not being too gentle with it, but just getting it and nice and coded and not letting it dry. If it's on to thin, it could dry quickly, and we don't want that to happen. So, um, here have my piece of paper that has the little pencil marks that are already made. And this is not something you always have to do, so just keep that in mind. If you're more intuitive, you can just kind of go right at it without giving yourself some markers. Make sure you burnish it because essentially you want the paper and the image to touch and to be flush. And so that way, when we released the backing image using water, it will come off nice and clean. Here we have our laser jet print image. This is just from a class project that I cut out using an Exacto blade. So getting all the details and things like that, all this color will transfer. So that's what's really cool about the laser jet print, and I just applying a nice even coat all throughout as before, and trying to line it up is best. It's possible, with the backing paper and those little notches that I made, burnishing it to make sure there's no air bubble. So again, using a piece of cardboard or, um, something stiff works well, and now we're gonna have to go ahead and clean up so we have our brush will have to soak it in some water 5. Vintage nat geo: Okay, so here we are. We have our image. Our image we wanted to transfer has been glued down prior. It's actually more than 24 hours. I would say I was out sick, so mine had a little bit more time to kind of hang out and sit there. But essentially, it just needs to be completely dry. So, like I mentioned before, about an hour is kind of the minimal amount that I would recommend. Lots of people wait 24 hours, some way, two hours, three hours, etcetera. It's a good idea just to experiment and see what's gonna work best for you. Eso everything's drive, it looks pretty good. One thing that you could go ahead and do is take an eraser and you could go into your piece and erase those little edges that we had. It's always a good idea just because we're going to be applying some water next, and, uh, it might smear at my smudge things like that. So I would just get some kind of erasure and try to get that information off the page. And then from there, it's pretty straightforward. All we're going to be doing is essentially applying water to this entire surface where we have our image glued down. And then we're gonna rub rub away for what will seem like an eternity, and it will feel like your fingerprints will disappear. But, um, some think of it as a very therapeutic process. So let's try to look at it in a positive light because it is super cool. Very rewarding. Um, so I have here a little tub of water and I also have a spray bottle. I typically will just It's a spray bottle work. The spray bottle is working. I will kind of spray thean midge area down. And I like to let it just sit for a little bit of time here and wait for the backing paper to kind of, you know, come through a little bit Teoh to permeate the surface. Um, in my experience, the ones that are mined from old magazines do tend Teoh take a little longer to get lifted up. Eso that can be kind of the a setback of the process. In some ways, we do have the This is the vintage National Geographic. We also have the laser prints in the other contemporary national geographic. So what kind of talk about that and see how they how they work and how they go. Sometimes you might have to use your fingernail to get in there a little bit, but essentially, we're just going to be using pressure and constant, constant rubbing action. Teoh lift the backing paper so you can come to see it already starting to happen. It can be kind of temperamental, so just be patient. Sometimes what I do is I'll go in like little segments and I'll try to, like, rub it in a way that's not too discomforting for me. It will take a little bit of time as mentioned. So this process of ah, image transfer definitely teaches you all about all about patients. I like to have some napkins on hand to just because sometimes I accidentally apply a little bit too much water. And I just want to kind of see what's going on here so I can see my image is starting to come through. It's a little hard intelligence because these two images air so closely related in their color palette, so it's a little deceiving at first, but essentially, you're gonna get these kind of, I guess they look kind of like spit wads. Not that I have never done one, but, um, that's what they remind me of. So I would kind of gather these up, push him off to the side and continue rubbing into it. So you're essentially just lifting the reverse image, which is the back of the paper off of the substrate of the white paper or whatever you collaged onto. And wherever there was the glass. Joe Medium is where you will have the transfer of the ink and things like that. So it looks kind of hopeless at first. But just bear with me, take some time, a little bit of finessing on kind of sensitive, sensitive applications like I mentioned to. I also have this little water bucket with me. So sometimes instead of spraying, I'll just kind of get my fingers in it and then use it that way. But again, I would just kind of do small sections at a time and remove any of the gunk as you go. It's just gonna make a lot easier. A lot cleaner. I try not to get too all over the place because it can disrupt the white paper. Sometimes this ink, even though it's quite old from I think it was the fifties. It can still leave these little remnants that you might not like. So I'm gonna go ahead and do a little time lapse just so we can see what's going on with this thing on how we like it. So let's go ahead and take care of that. So you don't have to sit through and watch me do this for what could be quite some time. Okay, so now you can see that I have successfully rubbed off most of the backing image. Um, not all that. I've decided to keep some of it just because I kind of want to play with that. I like that kind of altered reality space that it's creating so you can try to get a clean image. But you can also, like, embrace the nature of the beast or of the process rights of having these rough edges happening, having this kind of contrast ing imagery going on here. So one thing you probably notice is that I was working on this one. It was looking really good. I cleaned it up and Then once I started up here, this area started to dry, which is expected. But you probably noticed there was, like, this kind of haze over it where the image wasn't asked clear. And it's already starting to happen on this front portion here. So what we do to try to combat that, or to kind of preserve the glossy, glossy nature of the image itself is will take a piece of cotton ball or old T shirt or a rag of some sort. And what we're essentially going to do is add a little sin Fillmore layer of grease. So something that has a greasy, uh, a greasy kind of property to it. So for me, I'm really trying to hone in on the more environmentally friendly practice. So I'm using good old fashioned vegetable oil. You can use other things like Lick, win, um, petroleum jelly I've seen as well, but essentially, I just put a tiny bit onto this paper tall And then from there, I can kind of apply a little bit of pressure and just rub into the image. So you have to be careful because sometimes with this process, you have areas that lifted up. So this white is the white of this paper, which is fine. This is a very kind of unexpected transferring process, but it has its benefits, of course, to its non toxic. It's easy to do a home, etcetera, so it doesn't come with like an eazy cut and paste collage kind of technique. If we wanted that, we would just collage. But we want something that's kind of ethereal that could be transferred from one page to another that will reverse the image so it it has its pluses. It has its minus is just like any other art process, so you can already see. It looks like pretty a pretty nice transfer here. It's very rich. It's kind of has this new glossy sheen if you wanted. Instead of doing that, you could continue to rub away. But if you rub too much, it could start to affect the image, so I would be careful with that. You could also even so, I applied the special ink. I could go ahead and vegetable oil. I could go ahead in. Once this dries, put a little layer of this on there, so another layer just painted on top you can Penis thinkers then as you like, but just kind of to preserve the image. And then we have our top portion appear. I still have a lot of vegetable oil, so I'm gonna go ahead and kind of rub into that gently, but with a little bit, a little bit of forces. Well, just so that way I can make sure everything transfers the right way, and I think it's looking pretty good. You'll notice with this process why it is so important to use it a decently strong backing paper. This one, I think, is the Bristol board on like a thinner weight bristol. So it has a nice body to it. But if you get into some even nicer papers like your Strad Moore's, your Stonehenge is and stuff like that, those ones will be a little bit more ideal. But these for mere more or less just some sample pieces, some kind of practice someplace. I'm not too worried about that, but it gives you a sense of what this project could look like, how you can approach it in ways that you can transfer images that are really fun and, you know, kind of surprising. I like the element of surprise and not knowing what is going to be revealed s I'm gonna go out and do some time lapse video of the other transfer process you So the next one will be the laser print of the beat. 6. Laser print reveal: So this is what the laser jet looks like. It turned out pretty good. And we have last but not least, I'm gonna go ahead and work on the contemporary magazine. I believe it was also National Geographic. So let's go ahead and check that one out. 7. Recap: Okay, so if we're gonna do a little bit of a recap here we have the vintage in National Geographic. This one does have the oil coating on it, and some of the image wasn't fully wiped away, but again, something I was looking and I was interested in this one turned out really great. I've never really been let down by the National Geographic vintage ones, especially because the papers a little bit thinner. It's more brittle. It comes off a lot easier. So I have this interesting image now, like this person on a boat. And then it's kind of super superimposed with rocks and this image of the woman there. So this could potentially become something again. The thicker, the better. The paper. Well, hold up. This is like a bristol, so it's not always meant for, like, water based media. But again, they're just test. So I would recommend, like a watercolor paper Stonehenge drive more so I would say this is my favorite method. Second favorite method for use of materials is the laser jet. This one was I'm kind of a GP paper that I get that shoot it down because it was an old print of mine, but I wanted to just do a testing, so I wasn't really interested in something that was perfect. But you can see this one turns out pretty nice, too. If you go a little too hard with that, you can start to rub away some areas, and that could be problematic. So being patient with it, working a little bit slower, even using something like a Q tip, especially when you apply the oil. So this one does have a thin sheen of oil on it. If I wanted, I could go back and maybe used a Q tip on. Either put oil there to try to pick up that paper, or I could just run away with it very gently with my finger on, then less. But at least the one I feel didn't turn out quite as good as a rest. But it could just need a little bit more work on. That's his image of the earth. And, uh, yeah, there's just some parts where it got a little too cloudy, the ink really released off the image and kind of spread everywhere, which is fine, especially if you're gonna be really mixed media about it. You might be able to cover that up with some Jess Oh, on things like that. But essentially, if it looks cloudy, I would just add more water, Give it more time, Let it, like, kind of chill out in the paper, relax in between sessions, so you can say Rob boy at this area, you know, let it. But it kind of lift up and then blot it off with a piece of tissue paper and let it sit for a little bit. Let the paper dry with paper. Hell, what have you But there's potential with this one. This is our contemporary magazine, so I've seen some great successes with ease, and I've seen some great failures. But when it comes down to it, I think it's a really fun in a really interesting process that has a lot of potential, especially if you are more inclined to mix media practices. So I hope you all learned something wonderful today and that she'll have a chance to practices on your own and kind of see where it can lead you. I would be so happy to see your class projects for this, which would be just to do a the image transfer using the same techniques that we went over and kind of sharing your your experience with it. So thank you all so much. And I look forward, Teoh teaching you some more fun and engaging creative practices that more green and eco friendly in some, in some respect or another. So thank you all very much.