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Every time I use this technique, people always ask how it's done, and I've always had a bit of difficulty explaining it. They say a picture's worth a thousand words. Hopefully this will help a bit.

The applications for this technique are nearly limitless. I've used and seen it used on business cards, journaling, book covers, I created an entire book "typeset" using this method (and most people thought it was actually done with letterpress). Explore.

 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
materials.jpg
The list of materials:

- Paper (or other porous surface to transfer on to)
- Paper with the desired image/text to transfer
- Masking Tape
- Solvent
- Burnishing device

For the paper, I used Rives BFK, a neutral, smooth surfaced thick paper. Thicker, more absorbent paper will take the ink better, and the smoother the surface, the more evenly the transfer will lay down. Interesting effects can be had with different surfaces.

For tape, I usually use white "artist's tape" which is acid free and generally the least adhesive. Any masking tape will do, and it's possible to transfer without tape, but the tape makes it a ton easier.

For the solvent, the easiest and simplest way to go is with a blender pen, designed for blending when using markers. I used a Chartpak Blender (P-0 201) a link for info, but can usually be found locally at a good art supply store.. Despite the nontoxic seal on the pen, the blender pen is filled with Xylene, which means it should be used in a very well ventilated area, and with a respirator if you're sensitive. Any other solvent can be used (i've heard of good results with Citrus-solv) but Xylene seems to work better than anything. If you plan on doing an extensive amount of transfers, you can purchase a can of Xylene at the local hardware store for not much more than the price of a blender pen. Use a glass jar (Xylene can destroy plastic) and a brush to apply.

And lastly, for the burnisher, if you have a Bone folder (traditionally used for bookbinding and other book-arts) it works as the best tool as you can achieve the greatest control and precision. again, a link, but one can usually be found at a good art supply store. A spoon or other hard object will work as well.

The first photo shows all possible materials you could use, while the second photo shows the basic materials, which are more portable, cleaner, and a bit safer to use.
neeterxxi8 months ago
I've had wonderful success transferring prints to fabric with Citri-Solv, which has orange oil as the active ingredient. Non-toxic and very, very pleasant scent. :)
FWIW - I accidentally "discovered" this method in frustration while trying to get toner to transfer from a laser-printed overhead transparency sheet to a sheet of brass. Tried a number of different solvents; the ones I found that would dissolve the toner from my laser printer were acetone and lacquer thinner. I found that print on the transparencies would leap right over onto paper that was placed on top of the toner side of the sheet and then soaked with acetone, leaving the transparency sheet completely clean and unharmed as far as I could tell. Maybe it could even be re-used for another image. I thought this discovery might prove useful for someone. I was using a Brother color laser printer and laser-printable overhead transparency sheets from 3M.
beaniew2 years ago
I've been experimenting with large scale production of clothing and textiles with transfer with chartpak blender pens --- I'll try the xylene - also mentioned to me by an art store salesperson as the solvent in most markers.
Also, I've found success using that blender pen transfering onto leather and matte or semimatte ceramic tiles -- I plan to seal them for permanence.
The blender pen is wash proof on silk at least!
vcote2 years ago
I've used different types of toners and was always annoyed by the left over smell. Does the Xylene smell go away after a while or does it stay forever? How long does it take?
melonbee6 years ago
Can I do a transfer onto fabric, like a T-shirt?
You want to transfer it on T-Shirts, you need transfer on T-shirt paper, which costs around a dolar, print the image left side right, you should have this option in printer settings, and then iron the paper on you clothes, and peel of the white paper.
Sorry, but that's not all true. Normal paper, xylene/blender pen and an inkjet/photocopied image will work fine.
Well, atleast we don't get xylene pens in here
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons glycerin
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol
use that and just dab a cotton soaked with the refill recipe (that)
cpotemkin4 years ago
A little lesson from when I was learning this process... be sure to mirror your image before printing. Otherwise, the image (or text) will come out backwards on your receiving material.
but using the reversed image on the paper, you can use that to generate your final image by repeating the same stuff as above
mdog934 years ago
can you transfer onto a t-shirt, im guessing yes but it will wash off. is that right? mdog
djeucalyptus (author)  mdog934 years ago
theoretically it could work... I've seen it done on fabric several times. but the process doesn't really give any sort of permanence. maybe some sort of fabric fixative? if you try it and figure something out, let me know!
It would work really well as a guide, followed by fabric ink added on, alternatively it's possible the ink may be soluble aswell, in which case you could print on to paper by refilling a cartridge with fabric ink, if the consistency's right. Then using this process...
is fabric ink the same as fabric paint or is the ink thinner. and i have never trusted refilling cartridge becuase i worry they might leak or block up your printer and ruin it or something. I would worry the fabric ink might do something bad to my printer.
Well it could ruin a set of cartridges but the right consistency would make it fairly trustable, A cheapo printer might be a better option considering the cost of cartridges...
yeah but i wouldn't wana buy a printer just to try this because if it doesn't work I wouldn't want to do it again but if it did work i might make lots in batch and sell them or sumthin.
cool, sp can you buy proper fabric fixative? I know of some homemade fixatives that you can use like salt and stuff but i don't know how affective they are.
gkalem20115 years ago
does this work with photos too. Like family pictures in color or black in white
djeucalyptus (author)  gkalem20115 years ago
yup. it will work with anything as long as it's toner from a copier. Actual photographs (or inkjet prints) won't work... but anything from a copier will do the trick.
stbride5 years ago
I have used this technique for years -- see http://www.ietextiles.com/houses.htm (and other artwork in the gallery also). Just a few months ago I tried to buy toner for my old dual-process copier on which I created original images for use in my artwork and learned it is no longer available.

I am musing about other ways to get a simalar effect..

Brigid Manning-Hamilton
www.ietextiles.com
spinach_dip7 years ago
Can ink from gel pens be transferred?
10 seconds, I'll try.
Djeucalyptus is right, it only sort-of works.
Ahem. I was wrong. It doesn't work at all. HOWEVER, you can sort-of get a transfer if you write and then burnish really fast. The ink stays wet for a little while, and you can transfer it while it's wet. But I suppose you probably don't care anymore, since you asked over a year ago.
djeucalyptus (author)  spinach_dip7 years ago
I haven't tried, but given the nature of the gel, I'm not sure it would transfer cleanly. It might be worth a shot - could be interesting.
UltraMagnus5 years ago
ok..... i must admit, at first i thought "wtf did he not just print onto the good paper in the first place" but, i can see how it would be useful to transfer onto wood etc now.... perhaps mention that the beginning of the instructable?
deadwhale7 years ago
I've used essentially the same method to transfer graphic designs to copper. Once transferred, the design made a great resist for etching.
Bold is NOT cruse control for cool.
Great instructable. It's just dissapointing that you got around to it before me.
Carlsburg6 years ago
To do a turpentine transfer, make copies of text on a Xerox machine (Note: If you want them to appear in the right direction, you'll need to write the words backwards or have them reversed by computer or other means). The cheaper the Xerox machine, the better your transfer will be. Take your Xerox copy and lie it face down on the collage or on another piece of paper and apply a good amount of turpentine to the back of the sheet. Rub down using the back of a spoon and slowly peel away the copy. The turpentine melts the ink of the Xerox onto your surface creating a great effect for any collage or mixed media piece.
hooloovoo337 years ago
Im sorry....but im not sure exactly what you use this for? Except maybe for art.
A lot of woodcut artists use it to transfer copies of their sketches -- scaled up or down to fit the block -- onto the block for cutting. Some say it's better than tracing or copying by hand, as it preserves the spontaneous nature of the original sketch.
djeucalyptus (author)  hooloovoo337 years ago
any art or artistic application. graphic design, posters, advertising, bookmaking, etc. Simply an artistic device.
you can also use lacquer thinner in place of xylene. it's an old printmaking toner transfer trick for putting and image onto a wood block for relief type work.
Have you tried etching plastic surfaces (plexiglass) with xylene?
djeucalyptus (author)  kinetic_elite7 years ago
huh. for some reason, that never occured to me... not sure why not. I might have do dig up some plexi and try it later today.
there are two types of plexi. i don't know why. so you might want to make sure to experiment on both types. it should say right on the label.
mll37 years ago
For a less-toxic alternative ... try wintergreen oil. I think it can be found at drug stores, often used as an anti-inflammatory rub.
This is great! I can't wait to try it! I am a paper crafter and rubber stamper and I already have all the supplies, I just never thought to use them this way. Thanks!
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