Today I am attempting a new photo transfer technique!  An imperfect science that can yield magical results…

A sample…


What is image transfer?

It’s a process of taking a printed photo (laser, inkjet or photocopy) and adhering it to a new surface with the wave of your enchanted brush (and gel medium).

Why not just put a photo in a frame, you ask?

Good question.

If your brain is wired for DIY, this is simply a great technique.  Just trust me.

My goal?  Embellish a few candles with some history.  I transferred photocopies of old family photos onto linen fabric.  I included links to prior posts with other transfer techniques (to wood and tile) at the end of this post.  Keep in mind that the transfer occurs in reverse so if your photo includes words, print or copy your photo in mirror or reverse mode.

The science…

The transfer process requires an application of a thin layer of gel medium (or Mod Podge).  I used Golden’s Matte Medium today and brushed it over the images to be transferred.   After a complete dry cycle (overnight is best), the paper backing of the image is sprinkled water and the paper’s pulp is removed.  What remains is a somewhat translucent image embedded on your chosen surface.

The process…

  1. Apply the gel to the surface receiving the image (the linen fabric, tile, wood or whatever surface you want your image to adhere to) then place the image face down.  I used a credit card to firmly attach the image upside down on the fabric. Then you walk away and watch a movie.  An overnight wait is best to allow it to dry thoroughly.


    One drying on fabric, one on a tiny tile…

  2. Once its dry, dampen the paper!  Ironic, huh?  Let it dry overnight only to spray it with water!  Allow the water to soak for a minute to absorb the paper’s pulp.
  3. Begin rubbing carefully to remove the paper’s pulp while leaving the image intact.  The trick is not removing key elements of your photo!  You will probably have to dampen the paper a few times, removing more pulp before you arrive at a clean transfer.  When the water evaporates, you will be able to see the areas that you missed.  This step looks something like this (the magical part).IMG_8983IMG_8991
  4. Next I trimmed the fabric and attached the resulting fabric photo to my candles.

IMG_1632 IMG_1639

Links to past posts on this transfer trick: