Our Melange team member, Glenda Bailey, swears by the Purell (yep the hand sanitizer!) method. When using Purell I think it is very important to use the PhotoWorks satin photo paper manufactured by Paris Business Products and found at some CVS, Target and Wal-Mart stores. I could only find it in my area at CVS. Attempts using other types of photo paper, Kodak for one, were not very successful for me.
The basics are very easily acquired, outside of the photo paper. I am a firm believer now that one does not need to own a fancysmancy photo printer, which was a real concern when I kept getting the *misses* instead of the hits in my effort. We have an HP Deskjet 1120C in our home office; it prints b/w and color with 2 cartridges. I mention this because more elaborate and expensive printers have a cartridge for each color. The cartridges themselves can get pretty pricey on those. So I had to make this work! Not in the market for one of the more expensive printers at this time! When printing out the image, I recommend changing your printer paper settings to premium, photo or whatever settings your brand recommends for photo printing. Mine says "HP premium photo paper" and automatically sets my printer to "BEST". Also REMEMBER!! If your image will have any words, you will have to set your photo editing program or your printer to reverse or mirror image because you will be transferring in reverse when you turn the actual image onto your substrate.
The other items needed are your substrates or what you are transferring the image to, and that appears to be limitless as long as it is not liquid! I used a gesso'd matt board and also used bleached cotton muslin. I've used paint brushes to apply the Purell, but I like the foam brush the best. Glenda advises NOT to apply with your finger because your skin absorbs the Purell like a sponge, not a good thing in this case. You also need something to burnish the back of the image to complete the transfer. I've used a bone folder, my finger and a spoon and have the best luck with my finger and a spoon. And be sure you are working on a hard surface, and I lay pieces of scrap paper under the substrate to catch any bleed through.
I 've read instructions to apply the gel directly to the photo image. That never worked for me. My inkjet inks are water soluble, therefore I had a mess before I even tried to transfer the image onto the substrate. I've only been successful applying the medium to the substrate you are transferring to.
I start by putting a good pump squirt of Purell directly on the foam brush and swipe it onto the substrate. I did not let it soak in long, but have read to let it sit about 2-3 minutes. My attempts worked fine without letting the Purell sit, but add that in case you need to try that in your experimentation. Be sure you cover enough of the substrate to pick up the image you wish to transfer; I did not go close enough to the bottom of the matt board and therefore the running cats from the image didn't make it to my treasure in the end!
Lay the image upside down onto the Purell covered substrate. Use your finger, spoon or whatever burnishing tool you prefer and rub the back of the photo image. Be very careful the image itself does not move or it will smear very easily. I use two hands, just didn't here because at the time I was demo leader and photographer, hubby was not to be found at that particular moment. One of the trials and errors in the transfer process is learning the amount of pressure needed. That's why I like using my finger first, it just seems to let me "feel" what might be happening....if I have too much medium or not enough. Once the transfer starts working, then I feel more comfortable going with the spoon.
Hubby joined me (gratefully) because I needed him to photograph this next important step 'cause I needed two hands. You are allowed (yayyyy!!) to check on the progress of your transfer, as long as you are careful not to move the actual photo image around. If you peek and see you have some areas that did not transfer well (very typical) try burnishing the area a bit more. If the image still does not transfer you are allowed to add some more medium, and I did so several times. Just be sure you go light handed and apply to the substrate, not the photo image itself.
This is a scan of 2 of the 3 images I was able to transfer from the same photo image print of the man in the moon. The 2nd, and really the best image is on my Halloween pillow shown above. The fact I was able to get 3 good images off of one image was quite an accomplishment. The only difference from any other attempt I've tried at the transfers was on the recommendation of my son, an amateur photographer, graphic artist and Photoshop guru, I changed the print setting in my Photoshop Elements to CMYK (instead of RGB) before I printed out the image using PSE and my inkjet printer. As long as yellow is one of your ink colors, you can use CMYK. Can I tell you what is so special about that? Nopie, nopie. My son is a man of few words. I googled CMYK and did a little research. Still can't tell you why that might work or not. But as with all trials and errors, one has to try any and all things until one hits upon the most successful method for oneself.
Don't give up, if you have some boo boos, save them, you can paint over them and use your *canvas* for another artwork. I've used bits and pieces of disasters in other mixed media artwork, you can end up with some fascinating messes of color! LOL! Happy transfers! Click on any image to get zoom.
---Pat May, aka whyte