Try This Can’t Miss Image Transfer Technique

The other day I was searching for an image transfer technique, and consulted one of my favorite books: Image Transfer Workshop by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson. Both of these artists have been featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and our Art Lessons series; I often think of them as the scientists of the mixed-media art world because they love discovering new techniques and new ways of doing things. This book does not disappoint.

Image Transfer Workshop has been part of my library for a while, but the information is still completely relevant, useful, and inspirational. If this book isn’t part of your library, I highly recommend you add it. Not only does it feature a ton of incredible transfer processes, but the authors also include troubleshooting tips and helpful information about materials and methods. Their experiments are your ticket to success!

image transfer technique
I’d never done an image transfer technique using printable silk organza, and it came out perfectly. Definitely going to try this one again.

For my piece I decided to go with an image transfer technique that uses ExtravOrganza, inkjet printable silk organza sheets from Jacquard Products. These sheets are semi-transparent, making them perfect for layering. I printed out my photo, making it 6″ x 6″. One great tip offered in the book is that since the sheets are so sheer, it’s best to use images with a lot of contrast and saturation.

Try scanning your artwork and use that for this image transfer technique.

I peeled the image off the backing paper and sprayed it with workable fixative, another great tip from the book. This keeps the image from smearing when you apply any wet medium to it. The image was adhered to a vintage children’s book page using matte gel medium. I’ve seen printed organza attached with stitching, and I’ve always loved the look. But in this step, I realized the cleverness behind this technique: By gluing this sheer layer to a patterned substrate the two meld together, giving the organza the true look of an image transfer.

image transfer technique
Matte medium dries clear, so it’s great for adhering the transfer to paper.

I wanted to keep the transfer the focal point of the piece, so I added just a few other elements. I used torn corrugated cardboard as a substrate and layered gauze over it, tacking it in place in a few spots with white glue.

Corrugated cardboard works great as a substrate for mixed-media artwork.

Leaves were stitched on the book page and transfer, using 3 strands of dark green embroidery thread. I sketched the design first with pencil to make sure I knew where I was going.

Stitching on paper lends great texture and interest.

Since the book page was very fragile, before I started stitching I glued lightweight paper to the back, using glue stick. This gave me a much stronger foundation to work on.

Got crumbly paper? No problem! Just glue some lightweight paper to the back to reinforce it.

The page was glued to the trimmed substrate, and leaf and flower motifs were stenciled on the book page with white acrylic paint and a sponge. I dabbed a bit of the paint on the cardboard as well.

A few stencil images add nice details without taking away from the image transfer technique.

And finally, I attached a dried leaf to the bottom with waxed linen thread.

I keep a tub of dried leaves and use them often as embellishments.

This image transfer technique was such a success, and you can bet I’m using this book as a reference again. I’ve already earmarked polymer clay transfers, a reverse monoprint technique, and a method for creating gel skins. Returning to Image Transfer Workshop reminded me that older books are fantastic resources for all aspects of mixed media. They’re like old friends, always there for you and ready to be your support!

I was inspired by another book, Amplified Art by Kass Hall, to create a fun art journal page that can be used in mixed-media artwork in so many different ways. Read about it in this blog post!

Are these books part of your mixed-media library? They’re packed with techniques and projects that you won’t want to miss!

In Image Transfer Workshop by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson, discover innovative ways to create image transfers for all types of mixed-media art.
When you need a little creative inspiration, Art at the Speed of Life by Pam Carriker has ideas, tips, and projects galore.
Learn how to transform your own handwriting into fun, fanciful lettering in The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe.
Let Dorit Elisha teach you the basics and beyond of printmaking, including monotypes, collographs, and more in Printmaking and Mixed Media: Simple Techniques and Projects for Paper and Fabric.



Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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