Gel Transfers: Make Your Own Simple Photo Prints | Jon Brommet | Skillshare

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Gel Transfers: Make Your Own Simple Photo Prints

teacher avatar Jon Brommet, Crusoe Design Co.

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Transferring Your Image


    • 3.

      Removing Paper Fibres


    • 4.



    • 5.

      A Message From Future Jon


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About This Class

Gel transfers are an extremely inexpensive, easy, and fast way to transfer your favourite photo or piece of art onto a porous surface like wood, paper, cardboard, etc. Other than a couple house hold items, all you need is Matte Medium (which is essentialy clear acrylic) and some wood (or other surface of your choosing). That's it!

This class will show you how easy and fast this process is. The entire class is about 12 minutes long! Of course, realtime you may end up spending an hour or so. Also, you do not need to be an artist or photographer to do this class. It is accessable to all people of all skills!

I hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think!

Meet Your Teacher

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Jon Brommet

Crusoe Design Co.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hey, what's up Skillshare. My name is John Rama and welcome to my new class, gel transfers. In this class, I'm going to show you how to easily use your artwork or maybe even just a photograph that you took or one that you like that you found, and I'm going to show you how to easily put that onto word. The greatest part about this class is that it's really inexpensive to do. All you need to do is buy the wood or different substance that you want to use, some acrylic matte medium and maybe a brush if you don't have one laying around. You should be able to get all the supplies you need for this class for probably under $10, depending on again, the surface that you actually use. The cool thing about this class unlike other classes that I've done, is you really don't need to be an artist at all. You can be a photographer or you don't have to have any of those skills at all. As long as you have a photo or an image that you really like, that's all you need and we can transfer it onto some really cool different substances. I hope you check out the class. I think you're really going to enjoy it. Again, whether you are familiar with this stuff or it's brand new to you and whether you are an artist or not. So click Enroll and I'm going to quickly show you how to do this. 2. Transferring Your Image: Okay, let's get into it. The first thing we're going to do is, we're going to take our photograph or your piece of artwork, and what you want to do is you want to make sure that you mirror the image first. That's really important, especially if you have text, because once you transfer, the image is going to go near it again. If you forget to mirror it, you're going to have some problems with text being backwards. Once you've done that, you just want to make sure that you use the cheapest, lightest paper you can. Again, you're going to need to take this to your note local copy shop and make sure that they just use it with a laser printer and just ask them to use a 20 pound text or a 24 pound text. You do not want any kind of coding on the paper because that'll just make it harder to flake off later on. It's probably easier if you just get them to put some crop marks on it. Of course, if you're a designer or you're familiar with a computer, then you can do all this stuff yourself. As you can see, I've put some crop marks on this photo. So what I'm going to do first is I'm actually going to trim out the photo. You can just use scissors, but I've got a ruler and an exacto knife, so I'm going to cut the lines exactly to that size. Once you have your image cut out, you can get rid of the extra piece of paper. Now you want to take your substance that you're going to actually put it on, in my case wood. You just want to make sure that it's going to fit pretty good on there. Mine fits basically perfect. Of course, that's a good thing. Now we're going to get into using the acrylic. Basically, what a matte medium is, is a clear acrylic. So you can actually use acrylic to do a transfer. For example, if instead of having the wood color, you wanted a red background and you want your image to show through on red, you can actually just use red acrylic paint, you don't need to use the actual matte medium. We're going to go ahead and open this up. I've just got a foam brush, you can use a normal bristle brush, it's not really too important what kind you use. We're going to cover the wood. Make sure that you brush off any crumbs or fibers that are left on the wood, then we're just going to put a nice and even coat on it. It doesn't need to be too thick, but it's probably better to be a little thicker than too thin as well, so don't be too shy with the amount you put on. Another thing you probably want to make sure is that instead of doing this on your kitchen table, just make sure you actually put down some newsprint or some old butcher paper or something like that. Because if you had the acrylic on your paper or on your desk, it's going to be a little bit of pain to take it off. Once you've got it on your wood, we're going to put some on the actual image. Again, you want a pretty nice light one. The other thing to make sure of is do not get any acrylic on the backside of your paper, that'll cause you a lot of issues. You can see mine is curling up a bit just because it's so thin. It makes it a little harder this part, but it'll be a lot easier later. You can always just crumble, if you get anything on your fingers, just crumble it in your hands, because you want to really try and avoid getting it on the backside of the paper, that'll make peeling it off a lot more of a pain in the butt. So I'm using a brayer here. You can definitely use a old credit card or gift card or something along those lines. You could even use a wooden spoon. You want to just make sure that you get out all the bubbles and wrinkles and some glue. If you've put a bunch of glue on it, it might come out off the sides. That's okay, just use your fingers to try and just scrape up the excess. Another thing to note here, it's like using block printing, if you've ever taken my block print class or you're familiar with it. It may not end up being perfect. What usually happens due to the process is you'll lose a few pieces here and there, and it'll give your image or artwork a little bit of a textured look. Try not to let that bother you, it's just part of the process and it makes each print a little more unique. I think it just looks cooler that way, so try not to stress that too bad. Now that you have it all flat and you've got most of the wrinkles out, try and push out all that you can, the most important thing here is some people will say they'll leave it for an hour, or two hours, three hours to dry. I'd go way beyond that. I've done a lot of these. I find that if you give the acrylic at least 12 hours to dry or even up to 24 hours, it'll set the best, and it'll be the easiest to do the next part. That's it for this piece and we're going to go on to show you the next thing. But I'm going to do this again with my artwork on my cut board just to show you that too. Of course, this process is the exact same. I think it's a little cooler because we've got the bag edges and things like that. A piece of wood like this is just going to look a little more unique. It'll actually sit up and stand on your desk or something like that. There you go. Now if you have excess paper like this, what you could do is just turn it over, again, really make sure that you don't have any acrylic here that you're going to set it on and just using an exacto knife or some scissors, you can roughly cut that out. It's not going to matter too much because once we let this dry for the 12 hours, and in my case, I'm going to leave it for 24, the rest will crumble out. But we don't need that excess paper anymore, so we may as well just get rid of it. There you go. Both boards now have the matte medium on it and the image is nicely pressed down and firmly, so we have as little wrinkles and things as we can avoid. We're just going to make sure that we leave that to dry overnight, and we're going to come back here tomorrow and I'm going to show you how to remove it and then it's going to be done. It's that easy. It's a really awesome process, and it's really cool that you can give these away as gifts or put them on your shelf, sell them, any of those sorts of things. I'll see you tomorrow. 3. Removing Paper Fibres: Hey, welcome back to day 2. Let the print dry for 24 hours. I'm going to show you the next step. It's pretty easy, but it's a little bit tedious. Essentially what you want to do is add water on top and then we're going to flake away the paper fibers until the woods shows through. Once we do that, we're going to let it dry a little bit and we're going to look to see what fibers we missed and repeat the process until it's done. Then what you can do is you can either call it quits and you're done, or you can go get some Matte Mod Podge and you can just seal it up really easily. I'm going to skip that step because it's not necessary. You can even just use the gel again too, like I said before, it's a clear acrylic. Even you don't need to use Mod Podge or anything if you don't want to. Other than that, let's do it. Mostly what we want to do is just push that water all around the print. So make sure that it soaks in. Then just give it a couple of minutes to get in there before you bother starting to peel away. You'll know if you've got any acrylic on it pretty quickly because those parts won't soak through. So you can start to see the picture as the water soaks through. Essentially what you want to do is to start using your fingers. Now you can also use an old or a new sponge. You can also use an old rag. But sometimes when you use those harsh materials, what'll happen is they're going to be more likely to peel away the actual photograph as well. Whereas your fingers are going to be the most gentle solution. It depends on that texture. If you want a lot of texture where your picture is worn away, then go ahead and use the sponge or use an old rag. But if you want it to show through as best as it can, just use your fingers. All this process, I'm just going to go into fast-forward mode because like I mentioned before, this is pretty tedious. Once you get to the point where the image is starting to show through pretty good. You need to make sure that you're not applying too much pressure when you're trying to rub away the paper fibers because it's not too difficult to accidentally take away too much. Just break your hand back and forth long it but try and be gentle. Don't really apply a whole lot of pressure. Just let your fingers do the work for you. You'll see still that I've, put your paper down on the table, you don't have to do that because all it is water and paper. But you'll see it makes a little bit of a mess and so if you put the paper down or some of your spread, it's pretty easy to just roll it up afterwards and go [inaudible]. 4. Outro: Okay. So that's it, that's the class. I really hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something. Again, it's a pretty easy process. It's pretty inexpensive, but it's something that's really fun and you can make some pretty unique things that you can give to your parents or do whatever you want with. So there's the finished print with the photographs that you can see nice and close and of course, my finished print with the artwork. The only other thing that I wanted to mention is, of course, I do all kinds of design and illustration. If you want to check out my website, it's and if you click on my shop, I have these three brand new pins that I just got in from Apametal. If you haven't taken my pin class on the pen tool make sure you check that out and of course, check out any of my other Skillshare classes. Other than that, thanks so much. Make sure to follow me on Instagram @jonbrommet again, because I'm going to be giving these away. I'm going to give lots of stuff away and might even give this away. So yeah, usually I do a giveaway every month. Check it out and thanks for taking the class. See you next month. 5. A Message From Future Jon: Wait, one more thing I'm adding this. This Future John Brommet talking to you. I hope you enjoy the class that you just watched. Some of these classes have been recorded a few years ago. I just wanted to give a little up to date on what I am doing now. You can see that I've put out a ton of classes potentially from the class that you just watched as you may have been watching one of my older classes. If you go over to my profile, you can click it somewhere on the SkillShare website or go to Brommet spelled just like that with no H, just J-O-N. You'll see here I've got things broken down in my newest classes. This may even look slightly different for you, because I'm putting out classes once a month right now. I've got my most popular classes, illustration, efficiency in illustrator, Photoshop stuff, and then all of my other classes. Make sure that if it's not already selected, you click "See More" to see the rest of it. So many different classes, I hope you guys will be inspired to learn lots more, and hopefully, you're enjoying my classes and want to see more. If that's not enough, I'm at jonbrommet on Instagram so you can check out my Instagram as well to know what I'm doing, and I post all my new artwork there and, of course, let you know when I'm doing new SkillShare stuff. I've started a YouTube channel where I put short videos that are instructional. I am obviously advertising with my SkillShare class, but short videos that I can't really put a whole class out I put here on YouTube. I even do things like have conversations with other teachers, like tab with a park, plan to do that stuff more often. If you head over to, I've newly updated my website. I have a digital shop, or you can grab my procreate brushes or other things like that. On top of seeing that my different portfolio elements and things like that, I've also got an Etsy shop, which I'll click here, and it would open this. You can buy all of my pens and different art things that I've created. I will ship them to you from me. I've gotten them all produced here in my home, and they look awesome, and I know that they're cool. I just recently started a thread-less shop, which you could click here. of course it's about SkillShare and contact. Everything's linked for my website. This new threadless shop has all my merch that can be printed on-demand on a really weirdly wild variety of things like I know, let's just click one of these things here. It's going to open a t-shirt, but let's just say maybe instead of a t-shirt you wanted a duvet cover or shower curtains. Why wouldn't you want those things? I don't know. Anyway, I've got lots of different things going on, so if you like what I'm doing and please check out more of it, and I'll keep making more things. Thanks, everyone. Bye bye.