How to Make an Image Transfer to Fabric, Paper, and Other Photo Transfer Techniques

Author and artist Nick Bantock says, "There is something too complete about most photos . . . They need a dose of controlled eccentricity that will alter and personalize them . . . The picture surface needs to be broken up to give it breathing space."
For most, this is what drives the intrigue and appeal of photo transfers, their imperfections and uniqueness. Image transfers have become increasingly popular with mixed-media and collage artists, and with advances in technology, transfers are easier than ever.

Before you begin image transfers, there are two important things you need to know: 1) not every transfer will turn out the way you want it to; and 2) the more you practice, the more control you have over how your photo transfers turn out. What defines a "good" transfer is in the eye of the beholder, but be sure you are open minded to the individual results and you will find that you too can be successful at transfers.



Learn how to create photo transfers using over 20 image transfer techniques, all in this handy, free eBook collection!

Discover inkjet, emulsion, transparency, and gel medium transfer techniques, all in this free image transfer eBook.

What’s inside?

In this free download, we will explore a variety of tried-and-true methods and materials to for transferring images, drawings, photos and more. Begin with a look at inkjet image transfer, from scanning and manipulating images to more than 10 ideas for image transfer to fabric, book pages, muslin, and more. Next, learn how to add color to images to take your photo transfers to a whole new level. Then use your photos, text, doodles and drawings as works of art using basic transparency transfers. If you’re feeling adventurous and are ready to take photo transfer even farther, then take a look at the film workshop for a lesson in instant film and emulsion transfer.

Take a photo transfer master class and learn a variety of inkjet image transfer techniques.

Gel Medium Transfer Techniques: Article 1

"Transfer Master Class" by Leslie Riley

For Leslie, photo transfers were once a complicated, sometimes hazardous process. Then, technology made it possible for anyone to scan, copy, and print photos from the comfort of their home or studio. Images printed on inkjet printers are much safer to use and easier to transfer, and helped Leslie turn his craft from frustrating to fun. In this informative article, she walks you step-by-step through gel medium photo transfer to canvas, paper, muslin, and other materials. Begin with a lesson in how to select your photos for image transfer then get a lesson in basic enhancements using photo software. Then pick and choose which specific photo transfer techniques you want to learn, including:

  • Transparency transfers using the gel transfer technique
  • Inkjet image transfer with photo paper
  • Gel medium transfer on copy paper
  • Water transfers using photo paper
  • And Caulk photo transfer to canvas or wood

Also included are her helpful tips for placement, technique, and how to troubleshoot if your photo transfer doesn’t turn out to your liking. Get this informative, helpful article full of image transfer techniques when you download the entire collection of photo transfer articles today.

Take your image transfers up a notch with these techniques for adding color to photo transfers.

Image Transfer Techniques: Article 2

"Transfer Master Class Part II: Adding Color" by Leslie Riley

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of image transfer to fabric, paper, canvas, and more, you are ready to explore the use of color. In Leslie’s master class part II: adding color to photo transfers, she shares a variety of options for adding color to your images to bring them to a whole new level. Start simple by adding color to images right on your computer before you even print them. Next, learn a few proven techniques for adding color directly to a colored, patterned or painted surface. Finally, discover how fun and easy it is to add color after the photo transfer, and even how to use instant coffee for an aged look. Each color technique is complete with an example, so you can see how each finished photo transfer compares to others. It’s easy to add color to your image transfers when you have the help of an expert artist to guide you along the way.

Get a quick and easy technique for turning your doodles, drawings, and text into image transfers.

Simple Image Transfers: Article 3

"Add Pattern to Journals with Zentangles and Transfers" by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

A traditional Zentangle is a meditative, creative exercise in drawing repetitive patterns. They are a fantastic way to start journal pages, relax your mind, and let your creativity flow. In this article, Sandy starts by sharing the simple steps for beginning your own traditional Zentangle, then shares a technique for turning your doodles, drawings, and text into an image transfer. Learn how to use rubbing alcohol and Sheer Heaven transfer sheets to quickly and easily create photo transfers. Explore the use of Zentangles and image transfer techniques when you download the entire collection of articles from Cloth Paper Scissors!

Explore emulsion transfer and photo transfer techniques using instant film.

Film and Emulsion Transfer Techniques: Article 4

"The Workshop: Twice the Fun with Instant Film" by Tiffany Teske

Since the age of seven, Tiffany has been enjoying the art of freezing time with the click of a shutter. In college she worked in both a color and black-and-white darkroom, exploring how to change the same negatives into very different final prints. Her explorations lead her to instant Polaroids, where she became enthralled with the process of photo transfer and emulsion transfer lifts. Although Polaroid stopped making the film, her ambitions continued when she discovered instant Fuji film. In this article, she begins by explaining the intricacies of working with the film, from loading it properly preparing to make the transfer. Next, learn how to make an emulsion transfer using instant film, plus get tips on finding film, cameras, and more. Follow along step-by-step and you will be making photo and emulsion transfers in no time, all thanks to this detailed, informative article.

This tutorial is packed fulled of exciting tips and inspiration.

Plus, along with these articles on how to sell your art, online blogging tips, and ideas for promoting your business, you’ll tap into an entire community of thriving and creative artists just like you. And, with this free membership to the Cloth Paper Scissors community, you’ll discover a support network of thousands of mixed-media artists to help you along your journey.


Take your photo transfers a step further with this emulsion transfer technique.