Image Transfer Techniques For Mixed Media | David Miller | Skillshare
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10 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro to Image Transfer

    • 2. Philosophy of Image Transfer

    • 3. Xerox Transfer 1

    • 4. Xerox Transfer 2

    • 5. Tape Transfer 1

    • 6. Cyanotype Transfers With Tape Negative

    • 7. Rubbing Alcohol Transfer

    • 8. Heat Transfer on Tile

    • 9. Modge Podge Photo Transfer

    • 10. Wrap up image transfer

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About This Class


We will explore 5 different image transfer techniques to create unusual and one-of-a-kind imagery on a variety of surfaces:

1. The Acetone Transfer with Xerox/ Laser print

2. Tape Transfer + Cyanotype with Xerox/ Laser print

3. Rubbing Alcohol with an Inkjet print

4. Heat Transfer with an Inkjet print

5. Modge Podge with Xerox/ Laser print

In this class, you’ll also see step-by-step how to prepare images before printing, learn about the kinds of surfaces transfers can take place on, and discuss the benefits of using such unique methods of presentation.

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Intro to Image Transfer: Hello out there. I am David Miller. I am a multimedia artist and educator in the Phoenix Metro. I want to welcome you to this course on image transfer. Now, there are many, many ways of transferring images from one printed substrate to another. And we're going to examine five of these in this course. But by no means are these the only five image transfer means available. We will do a tape transfer. We will do a acetone transfer. We will. Teoh. Rubbing alcohol transfer will do a heat transfer. And lastly, we will utilize photo transfer Marge podge. So those five are the ones that I'm focusing on. The majority of these use a Xerox or laser print, but a few of them use ink jet print. If you're unclear of the differences between Injun and laser printing, we will address those in particular sections that the relevant to now I'm mainly a photographer. So I am going to focus on transferring photographic images. But you can certainly use these techniques for any kind of illustration. Transfer that interest. You will also address what materials you need for the transfers within each section. So I highly encourage you to watch those videos before you head out there and try and get your own materials. None of the materials used in this class are very exotic, but I think it's a good idea to watch the processes start to finish so you can see what materials are relevant to you. Your project for this class is simply to choose one of the transfer methods that appeals to you. Most create your own transfer, scan it or photograph it's and posted to the skill share project page. Drop me a line. Let me know what you thought of the process. If you think this is something that's going to be part of your own creative practice, going forward with that out of the way, let's begin. 2. Philosophy of Image Transfer: I want to take a moment and talk about the philosophy of image transfer. Why we do this And I also want to talk about what you can do with your image transfers. So I teaches class in person, and occasionally I come across somebody who has a stated goal of creating an exact duplicate of their existing imagery. And that's not really what image transfer is or should be about. We are introducing chaotic elements into our photographs. Thes air thinks that we can't control things that are meant to surprises and delight us, and I feel like if you are looking for exact copies of your original imagery, digital printing already satisfies that need. And actually you can utilize digital printing through companies to print on other things, like wood Matal. It's quite expensive, but that option is available to you. Besides introducing chaotic elements, we are creating one off pieces, so even things like the tape transfer. Every time I do take transfers of the same image, they turn out a little bit differently. It could be because of how hard I applied pressure when I scrubbed the tape. It could be something a simples placement of tape. It could be other factors, but I really want to have unique pieces on day. One of my projects is through a art vending company called Arte Matt, where cigarette sized pieces of our are put through old cigarette vending machines and sold for $5 apiece. Well, one of the things that people want when they go to Arte Matt is to have one off pieces. They do not want tohave a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy so utilised tape transfers on my Artem at pieces. Just spray paint in a light color and Marge podge the tape transfer onto the block on their cool little bits of pop art for sign attack transfers. There's times in my life where I get a little bit bored of this particular blue color, and I scan them in. I changed the blue to a kind of tan or sepia tone and then printed out large Your digital means. So in past gallery shows, I have 20 by 30 inch digital prints that were taken from scans of signing types, except they're no longer blue. They're tan there, brown by blowing up something that was a transfer. You also blow up all the defects, and it could give a really cool look to the peace. It's not a layer in Photoshop. It is a blown up artifact that has physicality to it that has shading to it that has paper texture to it, and not something that was 100% done out of a box in the computer. Keep in mind these air. All techniques and techniques are no substitute for a good concept, a good subject, a good location, the other things that make photography or imagery. Great technique is important. If you have ever put yourself out, there is working artist. You know that discussion points about the art are important on. Do you know that scarcity is important? Having things that are one of a kind that have interesting techniques that soothe subject matter can really bring whole new dimensions to your artwork, 3. Xerox Transfer 1: I want to tell you about the Xerox transfer process, and sometimes it's called Xilin Transfer. Um, the main thing is that you have a Xerox, a laser print, so something that's just ordinary copy paper, and I want to get this image onto this surface, and this particular surface is a smooth Bristol paper. I just cut it down to 1/2 sheet, but you could get Bristol pads in any art store. You can get him in most places, like a Wal Mart or target if they have a crafts section. What I'm going to use to transfer this onto this is a chart pack blender marker and you'll notice that I don't have a cap on this. And it also is kind of old looking. The reason for that is my blender markers usually are only good for a few transfers before they dry out. There's some kind of alcohol inside this tip, and when you have it exposed to air, it dries out very quickly. But I keep the marker because I can get acid tone for many Home Depot or Ace hardware and put it in a jar, soak this marker in it and use that to transfer. So something like this is around six bucks, and these markers are shooting $3 apiece. So it's kind of a no brainer that it's easier to use something that you have a massive quantity of. To Philip, the thing that costs half as much the picture I'm using. These are Byzantine artworks that I photographed in a museum in Macedonia, and when I edited them, I made them high contrast black and white on the reason for that. Although you can transfer color, I feel like it isn't as interesting. And I cant add a whole lot of mixed media elements if it already has color. So my goal is actually to transfer these and use colored pencil to add an extra dimension of unreality to them. I tend to like stuff that has more handcraft involved in it on. Since I didn't create these paintings, I only took the photographs. I want to make sure that I introduced something of me in the final product as well. Now one thing I didn't do is flip this artwork and what I mean by flips is there is writing on this when I transfer it that writing is going to be in reverse because I think it's Latin script. I can't read it anyways. It's Latin or surreal. It's not sure, but somebody who can read that would be unhappy to see it backwards. If you need to flip things around, photo shop is usually the best way to do it. It's in the edit menu. Transform, flip, horizontal If you can hear birds in the backgrounds because I'm doing this process outside , and the reason why I'm doing it outside is essentially because of the acetone. This is something that will mess with your brain if you don't have proper ventilation, even if you're not using acid tone and you're just using the blender marker that is going to stink up your environment pretty quickly. I would do this outdoors if at all possible. We'll start with this guy. I'm just gonna put the smallest amount of acid tone in my jar, get my marker and smile this side of the paper facing me. A lot of paper has a smooth side and not so smooth Side transfer works far better on smooth surfaces. I don't need to take things down because I can hold him pretty steady. But if you don't think you're somebody can old things steady, I encourage you to get some blue artist tape, tape it down, then it's a lot of pressure. And, as you can see, is he right through the paper When you apply this, see the transfer beginning already, I am gonna transfer this entire image. But there are a lot of examples I've done where I only transfer certain areas of an image, and I kind of like a look that isn't 100% of transferred photographs, some areas air left out, and sometimes that's because the background is simply boring or unnecessary. And there's only one figure I want to transfer. And other times, and in other instances, it's because there is a detail that I just don't need. If I'm transferring somebody's face, I'll get their eyes, their nose in their mouth. And if they have wrinkles on their face, that doesn't need to get transferred. Okay, almost done. A little lecture on the face and while we have our first transfer 4. Xerox Transfer 2: I'm gonna do one more that's a little darker, so we have a comparison. I'm gonna do this one as well, because this one's a little bit darker, and I'd like to have a comparison between the two. If you don't know how to get a high contrast black and white copy, it's actually a setting on a copy machine. And if you go someplace like a Kinko's or Staples, you can just ask the worker behind the counter to do it for you. I tend to have all my high contrast black and white, set up in adobe light room. So when I go to the copy machine, it's already way. I want it to look when I teach these classes. Most commonly, I'm asked if there's a difference between an inkjet and a laser print, a copy machine. Xerox and the copy machine Xerox Later, print eyes created through the fusing of this black dust onto the paper, so we are breaking the bonds of that black dust that was sitting right on top of the paper by virtue of using acetone. If you are using in ink jet print, there are inject transfer processes, which will get to eventually. But Theo Inc is sunk into the paper generally, and acetone will do nothing. Teoh, break that bond. If you just gently brush over this like you were doing regular marker, nothing's gonna happen. Hey, we got a pretty good chance for going. Just gonna get little more around his head, that halo. And there we go to Xerox transfers. They are not as readable as the original images. You could definitely make out a lot more details of what's going on in the original, but A. That's part of the point why you do a transfer. So it looks like it has age and history to it's to. Once I get my color pencils out and I colorized this guy, you are going to be able to define the details. Ah, lot Mawr than you can currently. There's no other finishing touches, though, that you need to do. You don't have to spray this. The image is solid into your Bristol paper, and certainly you can try this process on a bunch of other stuff. I've seen people do it on rice paper. I've seen people do it on really flat would, and I've done it on clay board Myself Clay board is a mixed media panel that has a thin surface of clay that you can transfer to. The point is, whatever you try and transfer it to, needs to be really smooth. Can't have a lot of teeth or rough textures to it. That's just not gonna transfer very well. 5. Tape Transfer 1: So now we're gonna talk about a process that utilizes plain old laser Xerox prints, scotch tape and or contact paper and contact paper is what you put in your kitchen cabinets . It's a sticky material. You can pick it up at any grocery store. And really, the only difference between the contact paper and utilizing tape for this process is this one is huge, and this one is merely two inches wide. But this is the tape transfer process. I'm gonna take the contact paper away momentarily so you can see how I do it with the meat packing tape. Packing tape goes directly on the front of your prince. If you have a print that's larger than the two inch strip of tape, you need to overlap your tape. And once you have your tape on the front of your prints, you are going Teoh, use a wet sponge rub off the back. This bunch has a rough side in the smooth side. I'm gonna go ahead and use the rough side to start. Hot water seems to work faster, but it really doesn't matter. Once I have part of the backing off, I'm switching to the stop side, so I don't rob everything I care about off the front of this. Yeah, and when I'm left with is the transparency because you could see against this paper plate. It's kind of like a negative, except this happens to be a positive. If you wanted to make negatives out of your Xeroxes and you didn't have the money or the ability to invest in some sort of transparency paper, you could. You could easily create your own negatives to use in some kind of sign a type or Van Dyke print process. Here's an example. Utilizing the contact paper. This is a negative. I made just inverted in photo shop, put on some drive, took it over to Kinko's, printed it out on regular copy paper. And while I here now, when you clean these guys off, there's inevitably going to be more paper on the back than you thought was there. You thought you cleaned it. You come back when it's dry and they're still a big mess. I'm gonna do the best I can For now, 6. Cyanotype Transfers With Tape Negative: I want to talk to you about Sina type, which is a very, very old photographic process. It's one of the earliest photographic processes. A lot times it's known as a son, print or blueprints. In fact, if you've ever heard the term blueprints for architecture, they were made with scion and type. Sina types are a printing process where you have a chemical that you coat on some kind of substrate. Could be paper could be fabric. He plays it out in the sun with an object or a negative on top of it. Leave it for about 5 to 6 minutes. Whatever is blocked by your negative or your object well, print out as white and whatever the sun hits will be solidified as blue. So after that 56 minute period of being exposed to the sun, you wash it in water and a greenish cast of the chemical goes away and you're left with your final sign. A type print. There's more than one way to get the Sina type on a substrate. You can just straight up purchase a son print kit from Amazon, or you can buy fabric that is pre soaked with sanitize chemical from a company called Blue Prints on Fabric. I prefer to use this particular chemical kit. It is from photographers formulary, and it's called the New Sign a type kit. I have two bottles because there is a solution. A and a solution be, and essentially you take a cap full of each one. You mix it on, say, paper plate. You have to do this in a darkened environment. No sunlight allowed, because that's what fixes the chemical. When you have your mixture, you can use a cellphone brush and tote paper or fabric. I prefer to use printmaking paper because it's of a fine quality, and it absorbs the chemical really well. But you can use something like Bristol. I would only encourage you to use something that heavy and absorb it, because if you put this on, say, no book paper when you do your final wash, it's just gonna fall apart. Anything that's thin is gonna be in pieces, and you won't have a print. Now what a sign. A type have to do with image transfers. Well, if you have a black and white image on your tape transfer, you can use that as a negative to make your science type print and generally negatives mean that the enlightened dark areas are inverted. But the important thing is that it is a black and white print, because if you have something that has color imagery, the sun will penetrate straight through that and you won't have a print at all. If you have something that's black and white, the black areas of your negative or your tape transfer will absorb the sunlight, and that will read as white on your final print. So I'm gonna do a signing type, using an image that is a positive, and you're going to see that the final sign and type after six minutes exposure in the hot Arizona sun comes out as a negative, and I'm really familiar with film photography. When I went to college, we worked with negatives all the time. But there are a lot of people in the modern era who don't even know what a negative is because they on Lee worked with digital stuff. So if you want to invert your image before you run it off on a copy machine, you can utilize photo shop adjustments, invert and convert to black and white. Or you can use the photo shop app on your phone. This also has an invert mode. You don't necessarily have to convert the image to black and white in the computer. If you are just running off on a black and white copy machine, it's gonna be black and white already. If you're running off on a color copy machine, make sure that you switch the setting to black and wife. What's fun about this technique is that utilizing simple packing tape, a copy machine and this chemical, you can make Cem really one of a kind pieces and much like my other image transfer techniques. Sometimes I'm dissatisfied if they only comes out as one color Xerox transfers that I use with acid tone. I like that a little bit of color, pencil or watercolor to sign A type is no different. I like to add color pencil flourishes because I feel like it helps enhance the detail. It also pushes something that is kind of like a bland photographic image and more artistic territory. It feels a lot more one of a kind when I add colored pencil to have also been picking up the specific colored pencils that have four colors in them. So as you're doing your hand coloring flourishes, it's going toe. Have this transition that looks really lovely in the final product. This is a particular way that I like to finalize my mixed media pieces. Everybody has their own favorite technique to use, so, by all means experiment. Try what works best for you. There are other chemicals out there that people utilize when doing this sort of vintage hand printed technique, but none are is easiest sign and type. Van Dyke is not something that you can stick in the sun. You have to utilize a photographic enlarger if you're going to use the Van Dyke process. Sana type is slow like it says about 56 minutes out in the sun. It can be washed in water so you don't have to buy any extra photographic chemicals. And once that green cast is gone off, your image just needs to dry and it is permanently fixed 7. Rubbing Alcohol Transfer: these next two transfers I like to consider together because they're both using specialty inkjet paper that you need to purchase from a store. So the first of these is the rubbing alcohol transfer, and the particular paper that I use in my inkjet printer is the Staples Decal paper. I only have used this decal paper. I bought it at the store Staples. If you want to do this transfer and you know of another decal paper, I'm sure it will work. But the main feature of this is that the ink sits on top of this incredibly smooth surface . It does not penetrate the paper, it does not go into it. So when you spritz it with rubbing alcohol, all of a sudden that ink starts to run and you can quickly transfer it onto another substrate like watercolor paper, printmaking paper and get something that looks a little bit more like an Impressionist painting. When I spritz rubbing alcohol, I'm using just the most generic rubbing alcohol it can get at the dollar store. I don't think that the amount of alcohol in it matters, because whatever you put in there, it's going to dissolve the ink as it sits on top of this D count paper. The most important things to know about the rubbing alcohol transfer is one. When you spritz it, you need to spritz it lightly. You can't just shoot a full nozzle onto this thing, cause all that will do is create a huge puddle that runs down the center of your image. So I would spritz it all over lightly and then very, very quickly. Place it on your substrate paper. If you take time, it's just going to run all over the place and be a goopy mess. The amount of time you need to leave on the substrate paper is pretty sure I just stick it on and then use something like a bone folder or a roller to smash it flat onto it. I can peel it right away. The ink will have transferred onto the paper and hopefully giving you something that really feels like a painting has a little bit of elegance to. This is one of my favorite transfer processes, and when I teach classes in person, this tends to be one of the favorites of the people in the class 8. Heat Transfer on Tile: heat transfer process essentially uses iron on paper. But for this particular project, we're not going to iron an image onto something like a T shirt. We're going to heat up an object and have the image come off of our iron on paper straight onto that object. So I am using a ceramic tile. I buy these at a local ceramic store. They are uncoated. They have no finished to them. They're nice and smooth. That's incredibly important that you used the smoothest tile that you can get access to. If you're going to do this process, I put it in a toaster oven. I leave it on broil, which heats up the top of them. I leave it in there for about 10 minutes. I'm probably leaving in too long, but this is just how I think this is my superstition, that 10 minutes of heating is good for it. Of course, you can heat more than one at a time. Then I have my image printed on to the T shirt paper. This is very easy to come by. They sell it in my local targets. They also sell it at stables and sometimes at Walmart. But It is a material that absorbs the ink, and if you buy the light paper, it will have holes. Wherever there is white, you'll be able to see through it. If you buy the paper that's marked as dark, it will not allow you to see through it. So for my purposes, if I'm transferring an image onto a ceramic tile, I kind of like to see ceramic tile through the light parts of the image. I'm going to use the light image transfer paper. I have my substrate heated up. Spend in the oven for 10 minutes, going to, of course, obey safety precautions and oven mitts on and you spatulas don't want to take it out very quickly and then place my paper directly onto it and smash it down. Now, if you waste any time, it's going to get way too cold too fast, and it will not transfer the image the way that you wanted to go on. My success rate for this particular process is around 50%. It helps if you have a very minimalist image that is easy to read. If you have a complicated image that doesn't have a lot of contrast and has a lot of nonsense in the background. Maybe it's readable as a photograph. It definitely will not be readable as a heat transfer image. 9. Modge Podge Photo Transfer: the last of these processes is actually the easiest and one that probably comes up the quickest. If you Google image transfer, it is a literal photo transfer Marge pods, which you can pick up at virtually any craft store across the country. This process is incredibly simple, but there are a few things that we need to cover about it. Much podge is essentially glue. The good thing about this process is it will transfer your image onto most any surface provided it's moved enough. I have tried transferring images on two things that have a lot of bumps and ridges, and it didn't work. But when I've put this on plexiglass, I put this on envelopes. I've put images on fabric. As long as it was smooth, it transferred over and it felt a little bit like a sticker. So the image does not sink into the material the way it does. If you're using, say the heat transfer or the alcohol transfer method or the Xerox transfer with acid tone, this will simply take the image off the front of a laser print. Andi, transfer it over and it will feel like it's a little bit raise to get your transfer going. You apply the Marge podge evenly across a laser print. You place it face down on your substrate. You use a bone folder or something else that smooth, maybe a roller to to apply it firmly and squish out any excess Marge podge. At this point, you're probably best off cleaning that excess Marge podge. I did not do that in a lot of my examples, but when it hardens, it's a little more difficult to clean off. So if you clean it now, you're gonna be way better off now. You need to let it sit for 24 hours, and I have experimented with cutting that time down. What has essentially happened is I got a few successes and a few total failures when I tried something like 16 hours. So the recommendation on the bottle is 24 hours, and I recommend leaving it for 24 hours. When you come back after that 24 hour period, it's really no different than the tape transfer method. You simply use a sponge on. Warm water works better than cold water. You're able to rub off the backing of the paper and your photo will be adhered to your substrate. It will be mirrored so again, much like some of the other processes. If you are doing something that has writing in it or it's important that it proceeds in a particular direction, you're gonna have to flip that around in photo shop. 10. Wrap up image transfer: I want to congratulate you on making it through this image transfer course. I realize not all techniques appeal to everybody. There are some that are very difficult. And I will let you know that as somebody who has been doing these techniques for over a decade, I still have a failure rate that is pretty high when I'm doing a lot of my transfer work, something like 50% of my heat transfers turnout. And that is just the way it is. Thankfully, the ones that turnout make it worth the while. So if there was a particular method that did not appeal to you that you struggled with and you didn't like the results by no means are you required to continue using that process. But I do hope that you found at least one of the methods something that worked out for you , that you found appealing and that you think you'll do more of in the future. Please check in my other tutorials involving photography and multimedia art and talk to you next time