Introduction: Image Transfer Technique

About: I am an Art and Photography teacher currently based in Dubai. Previously I have worked in Hong Kong and the UK.


This image transfer technique is one of the simplest I have ever used and presents an interesting option for print outs you may have around the house. Good luck and follow along with the video in case you are confused.

For similar instructables, please check out my profile or have a look at my YouTube channel.


1. A print out from any printer. Black and white or colour is fine.

2. Emulsion, Gesso or similar paint. Any colour will work.

3. Cardstock or thick paper to transfer the image on to. You can experiment with canvas, fabric or other materials.

4. A brush and water pot.

5. (Optional, but recommended) PVA glue.

Step 1: Step 1: Paint Over the Image With Emulsion/Gesso Paint

Start by applying a thin layer of paint over the parts of the image you wish to transfer.

The thicker you apply the paint, the longer it will take to dry.

Tip: Work quickly, once the paint dries the image will no longer be transferable.

Step 2: Step 2: Press Onto Transfer Surface

Whilst the paint is still wet, press it onto the surface you want to transfer it to.

Work from the centre and smooth any air bubbles or pockets of paint out towards the edges of the paper.

Tip: You must avoid getting any paint on the back of the paper. If you do, the transfer technique will not work in that area.

Step 3: Step 3: Drying

Using a heat gun or a hairdryer, dry both sides of the paper. You can run your hands over the surfaces to check whether they feel damp. If the paper feels damp, the paint is not yet dry and the technique will not work.

If you do not have a heat gun or hairdryer, you can leave the image out to dry. Depending how warm and sunny it is where you are from, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes - 8 hours to fully dry. It is better to leave it longer and be safe than sorry.

Step 4: Step 4: Revealing the Image

Using water and a brush, or simply water and your fingers if you don't have a brush, apply a layer of water over the back of the printed image.

Using your thumb or fingers, start to apply pressure and work in circles over the wet paper. The paper will start to peel away in small blobs and leave the printed design on the transfer surface.

If you apply too much pressure this may remove some of the ink, so try and be careful.

If it is difficult to remove the paper, try applying more water to the printed paper.

Step 5: Step 5: Apply PVA Glue As a Varnish (Optional, But Recommended)

Once the image has been revealed, apply a thin layer of PVA glue over the image to create a varnish effect.

This will cause the image to remain bright and shiny, whereas if the glue is not applied it may dry and become cloudy.

With this, your image transfer is complete. I hope this turned out as well as mine. For more ideas, look at the student work I show at the start of this video and experiment!

Good luck with your image transfer techniques!

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