Thursday, January 19, 2012

a bit of tulle and Transfers

 today's ATC is HOT
Abstract cotton fabric on heavy stabiliser.  Decorative yarn trapped under tulle with free motion scribbling. yarn couched on the edge

Now, an update on the fabric transfers I was doing last week.
This transfer (of a dover copyright free image) was done on very high count cotton using an acetate overhead transparency (not a printer transparency)  When you print this way, the ink does not soak into the transparency, but just sits on top of the sheet.
My fabric had been moistened thoroughly, but was not dripping.  I made sure there was no water sitting on top by wiping it.
I carefully placed the transparency face down onto the damp fabric and without moving it, pressed all over with a brayer (I used the brayer, but  I have found that it is not as good as using your hands)
If you look carefully,  you can see down the centre of the picture, there is a pale streak.  The brayer did not make good contact here, so that is why I find using your hands is more successful.
another point to make here is that there was a little bleeding with just water.  If you look carefully at the edges, you will see that they are a bit wobbly.  Also, if the fabric is too wet, this will happen, so there isis a bit of balance to it.
This transfer was done using an Alum solution to wet the fabric. (I use a saturated solution, which means no more alum will dissolve in it.  It is available at chemists, but you might have to order it.)
As you can see, I was still using the brayer here, but the edges are much clearer and the image is much more defined.
Imagine my surprise, when searching on the internet, to find this method being used by a printmaker!
This is a very complicated image, so these results are pretty good.  The main points are:

  • use an overhead transparency, or a thin piece of acetate (the flexible sort, not stiff) cut to size for your printer.
  • prepare your fabric (damp, but not wet) before printing, I find placing an absorbent piece of paper under it helps with this)
  •  Don't disturb the ink on the acetate before transferring it
  • use an alum solution for slightly clearer prints
  • I heat fixed my prints when still wet, but I actually found that they did not bleed if left to dry and appeared sharper
  • use your hands to smooth the transparency and transfer the print
Obviously, this process will differ with different inkjet printers as they all have different feed mechanisms and inks.(don't use a lazer or photocopier for this method)

One of the main advantages of this method is that it is very cheap.
  • after transfer, simply wipe the acetate clean and reuse
  • you can get a reasonable print with water


  1. Your transfer looks great! Thanks for the detailed instructions on how to do it!


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