Friday, October 27, 2017

Blender marker transfers

Blender markers ... I was really looking forward to this section of Image Transfer Workshop . The transfer seemed so easy and perfect. I tried two different transfer materials - one suggested in the book, the other a why not? attempt at something different.

The necessary materials for me were:
  • several toner-based images  
  • Chartpak colorless blender marker (a Copic blender will not work)
  • rice paper
  • background surface
  • soft gel (gloss)
  • scissor handle for burnishing the image
I cut all three images fairly close to the edges. The instructions suggest rice paper (or gampi), so I tore a piece of rice paper slightly bigger than the image. I placed the image toner-side down over the rice paper, using a small piece of tape to hold it in place. Because the blending liquid dries fast, I covered small sections at a time, then burnished vigorously. (The marker turns the paper with the image almost transparent, so there is no mistaking where you need to burnish.) I repeated this until the entire image had been covered /burnished. (I have to offer a warning - the fumes! Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area. It's really strong!) When the transfer looked right and the rice paper was dry enough to work with, I cut the excess paper away. I was really happy with the results thus far.

I repeated the process once more with another image. When the two images were dry I chose to use background papers that had been collaged with pages torn from an old dictionary and then painted. Following the instructions, I made a soft gel "sandwich" - gel on the background, rice paper image, soft gel on top of that.

Everyone always promises that tissue paper and rice paper will "just disappear into the background" when you glue it down with gel medium, but that has rarely been my experience. I was really disappointed with the very obvious border around the image. Yes, I could try to cover it up with paint ... or dream up some other way to hide the edges, but for me, that defeats the goal of a transfer.

 The second rice paper transfer - closeup. All I could see were the white papery edges around the leaves.

For the third attempt, I decided  to skip the rice paper and go direct to background paper with the image and blender marker. This was a little better, but for me results were not worth the effort.  

To end this beautifully, feast your eyes on a sunset sky from a few days ago. It is incredible how gorgeous the sky can be. 

SOOC - amazing, right?

The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I am ready to jump ahead ...

Continuing through the Image Transfer Workshop this week brought me to the section using the Heat Tool. The authors noted that if you didn't own a heat tool that an iron would work just as well.

I do have a heat tool. I printed several toner copies of items that would make interesting transfers, heated up the tool, read the directions and got busy. The directions were simple. Place the image face down on background paper, apply the heat with slow circular motions, and check the progress of the transfer by lifting a corner of the paper.

The first few attempts produced nothing ... the paper was warm, but there was no transfer of toner at all. I changed the background paper and the image, and produced three transfers that were acceptable. I even got a "ghost" image using one of the line drawings twice. (bottom right)

So, for the next two transfers I tried similar weight paper that had been stained or very lightly sprayed with ink. I circled the only place that the transfer worked - even though I kept moving the heat tool for a very long time.

The last attempt was even less successful. The only part of the image that moved to the background paper was the base of the fan. Again, I was very patient and spent a long time with the heat tool trying to make something wonderful happen.

The results were disappointing. And in the midst of all the circling of the heat tool, I asked myself, What is the point of all the steps?  For me, this is not a process that is worth all of the extra effort.

The next five transfer examples in the book that use heat involve - fabric, iron-on transfer sheets, liquid polymer, plastic wrap, and finally polymer clay. Yes, I do have the necessary materials involved in each project. No, I'm not interested in any of items produced with these techniques.

So ... I am moving ahead. The next section of the book explains how to use solvents for transfers. The first one is the blender marker. I'll do these while the weather is still nice enough to have open windows! *cough*cough*

 ... be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bummer ... twice!

Moving into the heat transfer section of the book, Image Transfer Workshop, has been disappointing. The first heat project was with fusible web. That was in my sewing stash, so I was all set to go. I followed the directions exactly, put the taped webbing into the inkjet printer, hit print and immediately I knew there was trouble.

I figured out how to pull the mangled mess out of the depths of the machine and on the spot vowed never to try that again. Never. I vowed.

That took such a brief time that I decided to move right in to the next heat project, fabric crayons. Again the sewing stash provided the goods and I got busy laying paper first on a stencil, then on texture plates and rubbing with the fabric crayons.

Following directions again -
  • iron -no steam, medium heat
  • towel on ironing board, covered with parchment paper
  • crayon covered shapes - face down on selected background paper 
  • another layer of parchment paper
  • iron away!
The results were disappointing. Especially with the red to yellow colored crayons. The blues and purples showed up much better. And still, the overall effect was not worth the extra steps.

the best of the red-orange-yellow patterns

The best of the deep green-blue-purple patterns

Eliminating possibilities is so much better than constantly wondering, would this transfer improve my artwork? The tips that are included were helpful. I tried many different surfaces for the transfers. The ones pictured are the best.

Onward I go. Can't wait to get into the next pages.

I will praise thee O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. Psalm 9:1

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Transparency and glue - do I like it?

The final experiment in the Glues and Mediums section of the Image Transfer Workshop is the transparency glued on. This method is uncomplicated...
  • print image(s) on transparency
  • cut the desired size
  • apply gel medium to the background substrate
  • lay transparency print side down on gel
  • smooth out the image with your hand or a brayer
  • wait until it's dry
The hardest part for me is always choosing the image to use. I finally decided on a black leaf shape in two sizes. Because I am using a transparency for ink jet printers, I needed to let the print dry for 30 minutes and then spray the printed side with a workable fixative. This picture is the (textured) printed side after the fixative has been applied.

I applied the images to three different surfaces - a small piece of cardstock with multiple layers of book paper applied, a  60 lb. piece of painted paper , and a contents page from a vintage atlas (slightly heavier than the 60lb paper).  The process worked perfectly. No air bubbles. No shifting ink.

L to R - painted atlas page, 60 lb. painted paper, collaged cardstock

After waiting a day to make sure the gel was completely dry, it was time for an honest evaluation.

I didn't care for the glossy sheen that made the transfer the center of attention. I tried the suggestion of painting the image with gesso/water mixture. That did help to tone down the shiny area.

On the lighter weight paper, the transparency caused the paper to curl. It would definitely be an issue to remember whenever planning to use this process.

My favorite is the collaged cardstock. That is something that will be a usable piece with some more tweaking.

The conclusion? I am quite sure that this method will not become a vital part of my bag of tricks. The author's sample included in the book is interesting, but it just isn't a technique that appeals to me.

The next section of the book covers Heat.  Hmmm - should be interesting!

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Transparency with gel ... disaster is thy name

I do have pictures ... just so that I will never say to myself, Self? Give that method one more try...  

Transparency with gel is the heading for this transfer process. I tried it twice. The first time was with 2 images on a Grafix ink jet transparency sheet. They printed perfectly.  I followed the instructions step by step (except that I used regular matte gel and not gloss gel ... oops).

And this was the better of the two! The second image of a door was so bad that I didn't bother taking a picture.

When I discovered my error in using the wrong gel medium, I decided to give the process another try. I printed three images on an older transparency sheet, hoping that maybe the modern version of transparencies for ink jet printers was just too sophisticated for the method. The printout was fine ... the results were much the same as the first trial.


Such a small amount of ink transferred to the paper that it wasn't worth the effort. I did promise myself that I would not skip any of the projects in this book and I'm glad that I tried this. However ... there is nothing that will draw me to try this again. 

Next process - transparency glued on. It looks interesting ... like something that could add another dimension to a collage. 

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. Lamentations 3:25

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Transfers using paint

This turned out so much better than I expected.

I was unsure about color and subject and background ... would the color be too dark/light? would the image show up through the paint? where, oh where could I find an interesting image? In the end, I went for a couple of background papers on the table, a random magazine page with plums, and paint that was color wheel approved. It is just an experiment after all!

The magazine photo - shown here - was simple. Carefully spaced plums on a near white background.

For both samples, I used watercolor paper that had been stamped with watercolors. A few weeks ago, before I decided to work my way through the Image Transfer Workshop book in organized fashion, I had added a dry gel transfer to this first trial piece. Over all of that, I applied blue acrylic paint approximately the same size as my magazine cut out, applied the same paint to the magazine piece, brayered the two together and waited for the required drying time.

The procedure was the same for the second background (similarly watercolored paper only, but with gel skin transfer pieces added). Acrylic paint sandwich, brayer and wait for it to dry. The came the usual sand lightly, mist with water, and rub with fingertips.

I don't understand why ... so far it's a foreign language, but I like these. I love the way the transfers are clear and sharp. I am looking forward to trying more, with different colors and subjects. Maybe even BIG! Now that might be interesting!!!

Next up - Transparency with Gel.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The amazing gel skin image transfers

This transfer was so much fun to produce. It's clear when it works perfectly - which is almost every time. It is easily trimmed with scissors. The first step takes a little bit more time than a dry gel transfer, but it is worth it.

For this transfer, I used exactly what was suggested a soft gel medium - gloss. The black and white words and shapes were laser printed. The colored pictures were from magazines.

It is obvious that with 3 coats of gloss gel medium that the finished product will not be smooth as glass. It has texture and shine.


The dry pieces then went through the usual routine - sand the paper backing, mist with water, rub with fingertips. I was amazed at how much rough treatment a few layers of gel medium could take without disintegrating! It stretched and bounced back. At times some of the printing faded, but overall, it was a great end product.

These pictures show how well the transfer took - whether it was black and white or color. 

I didn't really like the size and black letters of one word, so I cut it into small rectangles and pieced it randomly across the front of a card I made. It added a unique look and texture to an otherwise very flat card front. 

Time will tell how the others will be used. That is the final test in my world - usefulness.

The next project in the book  is with a product called digital ground. Unfortunately I will be skipping that trial because digital ground is no longer available. On to the next - Paint!!

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of  my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The last day of August

Dry gel transfers are my favorite so far. The book suggested using soft gel (gloss) medium, gesso, or caulk. I don't have caulk, so I skipped that trial. I used the gesso, but none of those transfers were usable ... at all.

I experimented with both matte and gloss gel medium - and if I remember to carefully and quickly wipe away any gel that extends beyond the transfer image - I am happy with either one. The only downside is that the technique takes 24 hours of patience. Just like the proverbial pot, watching does not make the gel dry faster. After the loooong wait, it was a simple matter of sanding the back of the transfer, lightly misting with water, and rubbing away the paper to reveal what image was still attached to the background.

This method requires a toner-based or magazine image. I chose to use laser printed illustrations, scanned from old books, and photos, adjusted to the desired size. The images were trimmed to exactly the shapes I wanted and placed on painted papers. Two of the backgrounds were bumpy gelatin plate prints. I did wonder how that uneven surface would affect the quality of the transfer.

Gelatin plate background paper
Gelatin plate background paper

Painted background paper

These images transferred even better than I expected, so the gesso transfer failures are forgotten, out of mind! Even the bumpy gelatin print papers took the transfers perfectly. 

The next step is to figure out how and where I want to use these (pictures will be posted) ... and then make more!!!!! 

Next up - Gel Skin.

Casting all your care upon God; for he careth for you.   1 Peter 5:7

Friday, August 25, 2017

Image transfers with Con-Tact Paper

I used the real thing. No off-brand allowed. It had to be the best. Specifically, it was the transparent matte Con-Tact Paper.

This time I stayed with black and white images, keeping background use in mind. The first trial shape was from a photo of a welcome mat, all scrolly and beautiful. (Inspiration is everywhere!) I placed the Con-Tact paper on the image and burnished as instructed with my bone folder. So far, so good.

The next step was to lightly sand the back of the image paper, mist with water and rub off the wet paper with my fingers. I always start that process gently, until I get the feel for how much pressure it will take to remove all the paper. This time, the end result wasn't so great. You can plainly see the paper residue.

So I rubbed a little longer and a little harder. That's when I could clearly see that the ink was smudging. 

I placed the transfer on two different background papers, just to see how it would look if I decided to use it for something. The look is ok, but for me, the Con-Tact paper is just too thick to be part of a final product that I would enjoy.

I went through identical steps with a fish image. The results were the same - smudged ink and too much paper residue. I say ink, but both the fish and the scrolly images were from a laser printer. That means toner. Toner doesn't normally smudge.

Con-Tact transfer on the right

I doubt that I will ever use this method again. I am happy to know why. It is my goal to use all of these trial pieces in some way. The two transfers shown in this post will most likely gather a lot of dust before they end up in the wastebasket. 

Next time - direct gel, gesso and caulk transfers.

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.   Psalm 71:17

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Image transfers with tape

Wow. I was NOT kidding about multiple pictures! Each project offers at least two options ... and there are multiple choices after that. So, here goes.

I chose 2 colorful magazine pages and a book page (much heavier paper) with a painting by Winslow Homer. The tape on the pink flowers folded as I applied it, but I thought it might be interesting to see what happened with that fold. You can see the tape shine on all three samples.

For the next step I lightly rubbed the back of each paper with drywall sandpaper, then misted each piece with water when I was ready to start removing the paper backing.

The magazine paper was the easiest. It slid from the tape with very little effort.


The book paper took a bit more rubbing (with flat part of fingertips only) but it finally came clean. The image was not perfect, but the occasional rough spots added to the charm.

Holding each piece against different backgrounds gave me some ideas about how the cleaned transfers could be used. 
the yellow narrow tape
W. Homer girl on antique book page

W. Homer girl on gelatin print paper
The pink flowers are attached to a drawing I don't like ... just to see what would happen. Interesting possibility on future projects. I ended cutting away the fold in the tape, so it didn't affect anything.

But my favorite is the girl. She found a resting place on a card front. She already has a new home. That's why I love making cards.

Next post - using the same tape transfer method only using clear Contact paper.

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart to knowledge. Proverbs 22:17

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Image Transfer Workshop Project

Dear blog,

I have not intentionally neglected you. I have been under-inspired and it has shown in the number of times I came here to update you.

But then ... I joined the Instagram 100 Day Project. By the end of the 100 days, it occurred  me that there doesn't have to be a deadline looming to give me permission to make things ... to play with paper or all things sticky and messy.

I also was reminded of three great books that I purchased over the past few years (all three by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson). They are great books, but since I never appeared in my workroom with out a deadline looming, the books sat gathering dust.

This week I made the decision to work my way through every project in the book, Image Transfer Workshop. I won't skip any pages. I won't jump around the book. I will go page by page and try every technique.

There is no rush to finish. No 100 day deadline, so my goal is to try everything, use everything in some kind of end product, and enjoy the journey.

I've already completed the first how-to. Because there are lots of pictures that go with this, there may be more than one post to cover the steps. I want to be able to remember in detail everything that I learn.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. I Thessalonians 5:21

Monday, May 8, 2017

Beef tallow? Really?

I stumbled upon the 100 Day Project while scrolling through my Instagram feed. It seemed like a great idea ... good motivation for doing 100 days of cards. I'm on day 35 - almost a third of the way through. I love the fact that I have a growing stack of cards. Even better is what is becoming a routine of getting into the workroom and making a card.

Just one example of what is keeping me busy for a couple of hours every day. I can't make up my mind about using the cards ... should I start now? Should I wait until day #101 and see what it's like to actually hold that many cards in my hand? Hmmm. Such weighty decisions.

But what I really wanted to share is a very interesting ... no, unusual recipe I found on Food52 for face moisturizer. For a person with sensitive skin finding products that work is a major undertaking. You have to read ingredient labels, cover labels, do the smell test (fragrance added?), and finally, consider your schedule to determine if you have several free days to recover from a disaster caused when you applied an offending product to your face. Oh yes ... and then there is the itching.

So when this recipe showed up, it seemed like a great idea. All natural ingredients - I could even eat most of them if the moisturizer thing doesn't work out! Not the vitamin E, but everything else is ok in the kitchen.

After getting the ingredients together, I picked out a glass jar at Hobby Lobby and went to work melting everything. It wasn't a complicated process and didn't take long to have the hot liquid ready to pour into my jar. (I did NOT add the suggested fragrances. Fragrance has rarely been my friend, so I went for basic cream.)

As of today, I have used the moisturizer for several days. The first two days were great. No negative skin reaction. Yay! Then the cream started to harden - more like coconut oil in winter - which made it a bit more difficult to get out of the jar. But I managed. Today is the third day of dealing with skin that is red and feels rough ... kinda like dry hands in winter. Thankfully, it's not so noticeable that I have to hide in the house and wait for the healing to come.

I have decided to give it a few more days. I'm hoping my face will stop yelling at me and settle into the routine of natural products with pronounceable ingredients.

I'll be sure to register the final decision right here.

Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. Psalm 5:8

Thursday, March 23, 2017

One by one

I have had some extra time lately to spend making cards. I wish I could say that they have been produced by the dozen, but I just can't seem to bring myself into the mode of mass production.

For me, sending a card is a labor of love in two ways - I love the making and I love the sending.

... It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

So much for lovely things...!

There have been lovely things, but not the time to blog about them. It's sad - and a bit frightening - the way one day slides into a new day before we have time to appreciate all that the moments held.

The past three months have been full, no ... overflowing, with joyous milestones, laughing with the family until it was hard to breathe, separations that were difficult and final, new friends, events, weather, power outages, car repairs, sickness and health ... all the stuff that life is made of.

To the opening of  doors ... finding new opportunities to remember and enjoy ... I welcome 2017. 

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20