We recently saw this cool post on Craft Chi* about inkjet transfer stamping, and our brains nearly exploded.
“Hmmm,” we thought, “we could use our inkjet printer to mimic rubber stamps, only we could use our own pictures.”
“In fact,” we mused, “we could go beyond plain old stamps and go full-color. Golly Moses,” we postulated, “we could transfer photos onto paper, or wood, or nearly anything, just like Xerox transfers but without the fumes!”
We would have gone on thinking huge and glorious thoughts, except the bus driver got tired of our muttering to ourselves and waving our arms around and kicked us off the bus.
But our humiliation is your gain, sweet reader, because after we walked home, we wrote an image transfer tutorial just for you. Armed only with an inkjet and some copier transparencies, you too can put images on anything you like.
p.s. Thanks to all our peeps who came to see us at Maker Faire this weekend! We feel so loved.
Why’s It Cool?
Using your inkjet printer means you can transfer any image you want to nearly any surface you happen to have handy. Plus you get a cool sort of pointillist effect from the droplets of ink. It makes your photo look like an Impressionist painting.
What You’ll Need
- An inkjet printer
- A digital or scanned photo
- Copier transparency film — the kind for plain paper copiers, not the inkjet stuff
- Something to transfer your image to — watercolor paper works well, but you could also try wood, or cardstock, or your kid brother…
- A brayer (optional)
Step 1: Get Ready
Have all your ingredients laid out and ready to go before you print. You have to transfer the image before the ink dries, so you’ll have to work quickly.
Step 2: Get Set
Choose the rockin’ supa-bad image you want to use. You can use a whole photo, or remove the background and use one element of the photo by itself (like somebody’s face).
Use your favorite image editing software to reverse the image- otherwise it will be backwards when you transfer it. Resize your image to the size you want your transfer to be (e.g. 2×3 inches).
If you want to mimic the look of a rubber stamp, make your image black-and-white and punch the contrast up as high as you can stand it. Play with color if you don’t want to use black ink. If you choose a colored receiving paper, remember that inkjet ink is transparent, so the color of the paper will show through (blue+yellow=green!).
Step 3: Go!
Load your printer with the transparency film. Play with your printer settings so you get the most amount of ink on the print: the glossy photo paper setting worked well for us.
Ready? Okay…. PRINT!
Step 4: Lay It Down
Step 5: Rub It In
Don’t let anything shift around or it will smudge your image. Use one hand to transfer the ink and the other to hold the paper still.
Step 6: Lift Off
- Moleskine journals
- Sanded, unpainted wood
- Smooth fabric (you wouldn’t be able to wash it afterwards, unless your printer uses waterproof ink)
- Blank greeting cards and envelopes