Sticky Fun With Gel Transfers

Image transfers using an acrylic medium as a base is one of those artsy-craftsy things I had some vague notions about, but never actually tried to do. Until I found a great gel medium made by a canadian company called Tri-art which said right there on the label that this product is perfect for photocopy transfers and so I decided to give it a try. Only I didn't use a photocopy, and didn't exactly follow the directions.

This is what I did - I cut out a coloured photograph out of an old magazine, to fit the size of a piece of white cardboard I had laying around. Using my fingers, I covered the cardboard in what I thought was a thin layer of the gel. I must have put too much gel, because as you can see in the bottom left corner of Image 1, the magazine paper fell apart as I was trying to smooth the surface out.

1. Glued-on image with parts rubbed out.

I put the image face down - of course - on the cardboard, so that the gel medium can bond to the ink and transfer the image on to the cardboard.
Once dry - a couple of hours later, I used a bit of water to rub out the paper off of the cardboard.

Once all the paper was rubbed out, I wiped the uncovered image with a dry cloth to take away traces of pulp and moisture, and came up with a really good image transfer - a lot better than I expected.

2. Transferred Image

Except of course, for the part where there was too much gel pooled under the image that I couldn't save.

I waited a little more for the thing to dry, but I think I should have been a little more patient and waited a few hours before applying colour to it.

I first tried outlining some of the branches with gel pens, but it didn't work well at all. I then used a fine-tipped marker, but wasn't very satisfied either.

I then used a little gouache, and found the results quite uneven - the gel medium would suck in some of it, and repel the paint in other parts, but not necessarily to very good effect. After that dried, I went over it with some wet watercolour pencils, and some oil pastels - much more satisfying.

3. Final result

It's no masterpiece, and not really my own work - but it is a really fun technique, easy to do and with endless possibilities. You don't have to use this particular brand, any acrylic gel medium would probably achieve the same result. I've even read somewhere that acrylic paint would bind to the ink the same way. . Julie (Mrs. Lost Luggage) shows a close-up of one of her works using the glass bead gel made by Golden (this one you can find in any craft store in N. America).

I'm going to try making a painted collage with it next. So, go on, give it a go sometime. I'd love to see you experiment with this technique and show us the results*.

*If you don't have a blog, but still would like to share your work, you can email me your creations and I'll show them here.


Julie said...

I think this is awesome! What a great end result with the pastels!

Note: Not acrylic paint for the transfers....just mediums.. Here.

Bobbie said...

Humm...I like this technique. Your image looks great! I must get some watercolor pencils to try as you suggested awhile back. So many things to try and so little time...

Sweet Irene said...

Rima, is there no end to your talents? This is very nice what you made and it took so much patience too. You didn't throw your hands in the air and said, "Oh, screw it!" but got it done. Bravo!

Frances said...

Chapeau! I love the colours and depth of the final image - and it is such a lovely technique, absorbing. BUT the main thank you is for telling us that you struggled and made a mess. We lesser mortals sometimes think we are the only people who struggle and struggle and it's nice to know that that is normal So lovely you don't put on an act of being perfect first time.
LOL ;-)

Rima said...

I'm the queen of good intentions and bad results, Frances!

Irene, it didn't take any time patience or time at all - probably the root of all these problems. Each step takes seconds, it is a very small image, and you can do it in between all the running around. The reward is sitting down at the end and applying colours. But that's the fun part.

Bobbie, I love watercolour pencils, they're so versatile and easy to use. I'll write a post, but I need some decent artwork to show. BTW, word to the wise: expensive is not necessarily better.

dianeclancy said...

Hi Rima, This is really fun! You have certainly enhanced the image! Copyright-wise this might even be yours ... given how much you hacve added to it ... there are guidelines about that and all.

Great fun!

~ Diane Clancy

Frances said...

Do you think this would work with images printed on our printers? Or is the quality too poor? Not that I am thinking of doing this, I have so many art materials I need to use before i start anything else... ;-)

Rima said...

I don't see why not, Frances - ink is ink, why not try? but make sure the surface you are using can withstand water and hard handling

Alfonso said...

It is indeed an interesting tecnique, which I haven´t tried. Maybe some day in this fast life?

Jin said...

Rima, j'adore ta constance et ton esprit de recherche. Alliés à une créativité et une imagination comme les tiennes, c'est une combinaison explosive et superbe! cette dernière composition est d'un bel effet.

merci pour tes constantes leçons de savoir-faire et de générosité, ton blog est tellement sympa!

belinha said...

I'll be away for the next two weeks in Algarve.I'll finish your collage there.So in October you'll have it at last...HUG!

Debi said...

Ooooooo, I've always wanted to know how to do this. Rima, you are a doll for sharing with us. And for those of us in the US, do you know you can sign up your email to receive a weekly Hobby Lobby coupon to print and use? My favorite comes about every other week: 40% off any one regularly priced item.

Guess what I'll be using mine for.

scribblesk said...

Beautiful image! Works so well! I've always wanted to try this.