View Full Version : My transfer process

05-29-2006, 01:33 PM
Step one, a clean piece of glass, an offset spatula and a jar of soft gel

I place the item to be transferred under the glass so I know how big a pad to make with the soft gel.

Then I lay down a bed of soft gel with the spatula about 1/16" thick give or take, it isn't science but I want a nice bed of gel medium

Then I remove the transfer (a copy from a copy machine) and invert it face down into the gel medium and try to be sure I get good contact. I gently press the paper into the gel starting at the center and working out to the edges in an effort to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible.

Now is the wait. It can be several hours to overnight. We shall see. What I want it to be able to see the enitre transfer when I turn the glass over. Clearn with no milky areas. We just hope for the best at this point and try to be patient.

05-29-2006, 02:48 PM
A little over an hour later.


Not nearly dry enough yet but it sure is getting there.

Mary Woodul
05-29-2006, 03:36 PM
I've got my eyes glued here, Howard. Thank you for sharing this!

05-29-2006, 05:10 PM
Yup, still waiting for the milkiness to go away, now about 3 to 4 hours into this one. May be an overnighter.

Did notice there was an air bubble but for what I am doing it isn't a big issue, it will add to the sense of age and antiquity.

05-29-2006, 08:45 PM
Here are the next few steps. I allowed it to dry till clear.

The tools I need are warm (not hot) water in a spray bottle, a tooth brush, a nylong scrub brush, an old credit card and paper towels.

I sprayed the surface with the slightly warm water and allow it to sit for about 2 minutes, spray again.

by dragging the edge of the credit car, scrubbing with the brush and the toothbrush I get the paper to start moving.


I make sure the paper is mostly removed and then go back in with more water (be sure to keep the surface wet at all times) and the scrub brush and toothbrush and remove as much of the paper as possible.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-May-2006/36241-IMG_0155.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-May-2006/36241-IMG_0156.jpg

Note that there are big holes and pieces missing. I was OK with this on this particular piece. I wanted a look of something old something of antiquity. Afterall the manuscript is 120 years old.
To be sure I have it thick enough I went back in with more soft gel to give it more body. I applied it after I wiped the surface to dry it a bit and remove as much paper waste as possible. It will now dry and then we move to the next step. This is a rather thick coat (about 1/16th of an inch so it may take a bit to get it dried.

More later.

05-29-2006, 09:09 PM
Well, it has been almost an hour and I am seeing signs of the gel drying. I hate to pay for air conditioning but it sure does make this task easier and the moisture is drawn out better than when the humidity is at 89%.


05-29-2006, 10:24 PM
Thanks Howard, for demonstrating this. Will definitely follow these steps when I do my transfer.

karen m
05-29-2006, 11:42 PM
Terrific demonstration Howard. Watching with great interest every step of the way. Thanks. :wave:

05-30-2006, 02:13 AM
Thanks so much for documenting this, Howard! I've read about this process before, but being such a visual person, this helps me so much. No one ever suggested doing the transfer on glass, so I could watch what was happening on the opposite side! That is really wise of you. Could this be done on plexi as well? If I'm understanding this correctly, you're just doing it on glass so you can watch the progress of the medium drying, correct?
Something else I noticed, you use soft gel medium, whereas others I've seen use gel medium. Have you found better results with soft gel medium, or is that just what you've always used?
Sorry for all the questions, but if I don't ask, I won't find out.
Thanks so much for a great demo,
ginger :clap:

05-30-2006, 05:46 AM
Fabulous demo Howard.:clap: :clap: I'll put a link to it in the Useful threads sticky.

05-30-2006, 05:47 AM
I use the glass because the medium comes off it with ease while another surface might not be so agreeable. I can also check the extent of the drying as well. Plexi will hold the acrylic medium in place I fear. Golden recommends using the soft gel but I have used the regular gel now and again. Soft gel just seems to work a bit better. I also like the glass because when the image is turned over to make the lettering correct the surface is smooth and even. It makes a difference for me. I have also found that I need to get it attached within a week to another surface or it tends to really dry out and curl up. It can still be used but it does alter its shape a bit.

So here is the finish.

5:00 A.M. and it is dry.

I can use a box cutter to get one corner started so I can peel it off the glass. The consistency is like a thin fruit leather. It is a bit stretchy, plastic in feel and clear.


At this point great care is needed in handling. If it touches itself for more than a second it is likely to become attached and can be very difficult to undo. So, I try to be very careful at this point. If you have a piece of waxed paper handy this might be a good time to use it as an isolation barrier.


I am currently working on a canvas that this will be applied to, please give me a bit of time to get prepped and I will show how to attach this to the canvas.

Mary Woodul
05-30-2006, 06:39 AM
A brilliant demo, Howard, I just have to try this!:clap: :clap: :clap:

05-30-2006, 08:46 AM
:thumbsup: You've cleared up my questions, Howard. Thank you so much. I'm looking foward to see the piece you use this on. (and also thanks for mentioning that it changes quite a bit if you don't adhere it within about a week. I could see myself getting all jazzed with this process, making a bunch & trying to store them.);)

05-30-2006, 12:46 PM

This has two of the transfers and two acrylic castings. It is still in progress and far from done but it shows what the transfers look like in place.
This canvas is 30X30" gallery wrapped on 5/8" stretchers.

Mary Woodul
05-30-2006, 01:48 PM
This is going to be another excellent one!

05-30-2006, 02:11 PM
Thought a detail of the casting and transfer might give an idea of the detail possible.

Mary Woodul
05-30-2006, 03:19 PM
Yes, and it helps to see the thickness of the gel used for the transfer.

05-30-2006, 09:49 PM
Just because I wanted to share....


05-30-2006, 11:03 PM
Hi Howard,
I like the way you've altered the squares so they aren't exact. :thumbsup:
I think this will work nicely with the abstractness of your work. It's great to see a work in progress! Thank you so much for sharing the process with us, it's great. I want to watch the entire thing. :cool:

05-31-2006, 01:42 PM

05-31-2006, 02:02 PM

This is moving along but it is feeling a bit odd.

I have to have the faith that it will turn out OK at this point.

Mary Woodul
05-31-2006, 02:25 PM
I think it is looking good, Howard! BTW, nice to see your painting on that Culture Bulletin. Are your interviewed in there?

05-31-2006, 04:10 PM
I think it is looking good, Howard! BTW, nice to see your painting on that Culture Bulletin. Are your interviewed in there?

No interview in this one. It is more of a community calendar sort of thing.

There was a short one paragraph blurb in there but that is what is expected.

05-31-2006, 05:51 PM

I am struggling with this one. For some reason I have a knot in my stomach about the size of Philadelphia. Either this work has my knickers in a twist or I am coming down with a touch of the flu.

05-31-2006, 09:45 PM
Hi Howard,
I hope you aren't getting sick.:( I like the darks that you've added to the left side and to the right. I find sometimes I need to walk away from a piece and do something else for awhile. I can see you adding another dimension to this. Take care of yourself and remember, we all learn by doing.
ginger :thumbsup:

05-31-2006, 10:29 PM
New to this group, but what a great demonstration. I'm a Decoupage Artist and this is a very useful demonstration to create some new effects. Thanks, Des

Mary Woodul
05-31-2006, 10:41 PM
Howard, I like it. It is different from the rest of your work but it is looking good. Is Philadelphia the title or is it going to Philadelphia?:D

05-31-2006, 11:10 PM

Well, this is the last of the day......

Philadelphia only has to do with the size of the knot in my stomach today. It is from a myriad of things going on in my life at the moment. Stuff that has me miserable and elated at the same time.

This is different but it somehow feels necessary.

Mary Woodul
06-01-2006, 06:55 AM
I love this, Howard. It is different and looks vibrant but also a very good one.

Those turmoils in one's life are necessary and artwise usually positive, I think.

06-01-2006, 06:56 PM

Thank you for this demo, I really appreciate it. I have always put several layers of gel medium on an image to transfer, letting it dry in between, but it doesn't come out as clear as this method. What do you do if you don't want it to be shiny, do you put matte medium over the top?

06-01-2006, 07:12 PM

Thank you for this demo, I really appreciate it. I have always put several layers of gel medium on an image to transfer, letting it dry in between, but it doesn't come out as clear as this method. What do you do if you don't want it to be shiny, do you put matte medium over the top?

You can put a matt finish on it but do the original transfer in gloss. Apply it to the substrate and then a thin coat of matt finish. Matt medium is actually gloss medium with an additive that cuts the gloss and if applied to thick it can get a milky appearance from the material added to matt it out. I would, if given a choice, do all the process in the clear gloss and as the very last final coat give it a light matt glaze. Certainly worth trying.

06-05-2006, 04:32 AM
That was amazing. I've literally never seen that done before.

Food for thought, that's for sure.

06-05-2006, 11:30 AM
Very nice demo Howard. I don't work much with acrilics but your work inspires.

06-05-2006, 07:55 PM
Wow! What an interesting process. Can't wait to see where else this goes.

Is that just random Chinese writing? or is there a deeper message hidden from the eyes of monolingual folks like me?

07-21-2007, 02:25 PM
This is fascinating! Just stumbled upon this and am blown away by the thoughts of how I could incorporate the technique into my own work! Thanks for posting it!

I had a question, though... Can ink jet printouts be done the same way?

07-22-2007, 05:23 AM
What an incredible demo Howard - can't wait for the next bit.........love the spontaniety yet mixed with deeper emotions.