Image Transfer

Do you remember transfer pencils?

How about the Sulky transfer pens?

I’ve used both with less than stellar results.  The concept is that using one of the two, you trace a copy of a design onto paper which then easily irons onto your fabric.  Once on your fabric you fill the design with paint or thread.  But for me the transfer pencils were always too light when transferred.  Didn’t work at all for dark fabrics.  Well maybe they did, but I sure couldn’t see the lines.  My Sulky pens always spit out blobs of ink. Maybe my fault and combined with my shaky hand, I was never really pleased.  Plus it’s not easy to copy the original design.  I’ve tried the window/sliding glass door trick. Actually owned and attempted use of a light box.  The problem is you need to start with a nice crisp, clear, but thin lined image.  30 years ago, I didn’t have a computer to help me. I had to squint, glare, trace, cuss, squint again to trace my design onto paper. Oh and I did try organza and tulle. They don’t work well for me. PERIOD.  So I wondered if Image Transfer might be a solution for me.

I selected another image from the Art Nouveau Second Series book.  This image is strictly black and white.
I used the same print and image transfer process described yesterday on a heavy cotton twill fabric. Immediately after printing I began coloring in the design with markers.
I didn’t finish coloring. I have no desire to use this design.  I only wanted to know if this would be a better method to transfer design templates. It took only a few seconds to answer my initial questions. Yes, this  is excellent! There is some smearing of the design which is my fault for not keeping stray objects off the transparency  before transfer.  The nice thing about today’s technology is that it would have been easy for me to enlarge or shrink, crop and even change what areas are light and what are dark. None of those modifications were possible for me using the pencil or pens.

It’s a good solution but not cheap.  The matt gel was around $12. (Fortunately image transfer doesn’t use much medium).  I was also fortunate to be the recipient of several boxes of transparencies when an office dumped all their supply after migrating to PowerPoint.  At the time a box cost about $50.  I’m not sure, but I think I saw a package of 9 for $15. Also, there is still the downside of the extra “body” added to the fabric by the gel application. Despite the cost, I see this application of image transfer having lots of potential use.