Holidays, Tutorials

DIY: Image Transfer: Mother's Day Edition!


Mother's Day is right around the corner, and if you have yet to get your mom something, there is still possibly time for you to make something for her! Let's face it, homemade gifts are more special since you put a little piece of yourself into it. At least, that's how I see it. So today I'm going to show you how to make a nice photo transferred wooden plaque, which isn't necessarily a Mother's Day only kind of thing, but it can be depending on the imagery that you use. Like for the one I made I used a photo of me and my sisters from the last time we were all together. Anyway, enough rambling, let's get started!

You'll need: -a wood plaque  -some hanging hardware -a plastic card, like a gift card or whatever -gel medium -foam brushes -paint -a bowl of water -a sponge -polyurathane sealer - you can also use mod podge to seal it. -laser printed or a photocopied image, flipped

Find the midpoint on the back of your wood plaque and attach your hanging hardware. The kind I'm using here comes with little nails to secure it in place.

This is gel medium, you can typically find it in that art section of the craft store with all of the other additives for paint.

Apply it to the plaque in an even layer. Make sure to get a good coating. You don't want it to be too thin or too thick.

Carefully lay your printed image down, face down onto the wood.

Run your card along the back of the image to make sure the image is completely smooth and touching all of the gel medium. If there are any bubbles or anything, the image wont transfer in that spot, so make sure you get rid of them! Let this dry overnight.

Use a sponge to dampen the paper. You can start to see the image starting to come through!

Use your fingers to start to rub the paper so it starts to peel off.

If you're brave enough you can use your sponge to help rub the paper off. This is really risky though because you can more easily rub the image off. You just need to be gentle and be patient. Keep rewetting and rubbing until the majority of the paper is removed. This is the part that gets a bit tedious. While it's wet it will look great, but when it dries you'll notice spots that still have paper bits on it. Just keep at it and you'll finally remove most of it.

You might notice you have some excess gel around the edges. If so, just use an xacto knife to cut it off.

When you've finally removed as much of the paper as you can stand, let it dry completely and then apply your sealer. I'm using a semi matte water based polyurathane, but you can also use something like mod podge. Set it aside to let it dry.

And finally, paint the edges with your paint! Here I'm using liquid gold leaf, my favorite!  Also, there was a gap that was about 1/4 inch wide gap on one side because the image was slightly too small, so I extended the edge of the paint up around the image, 1/4 of an inch on each side. Let it dry.

Here it is, all ready to be packed up and sent to my mom!


I hope you enjoyed this weeks project! And to all the moms reading, Happy early Mother's Day!


My adventures in printmaking

This semester I took printmaking where we did some intaglio(pronounced intalio... I seemed like an idiot because when I signed up I went around telling everyone how I was taking intaglio and I emphasized the g.. anyway) We also did some lino cuts and a colograph, but I'll post all of my other prints on another day. Today I've decided to do a kind of step by step of intaglio. Not a tutorial, because there are a lot of little things that you just learn from watching someone or from learning from them in person. Anyway, on to the pictures!

My sketch on the right, with my two plates covered with asphaltum and etched in to. You'll see why I did two plates in the next few pictures.

Dun dun dun! The acid room!

Here's the acid, you dunk your plates into it and it eats away where there is no asphaltum.

After 30 minutes to an hour, they're ready!  There are a few steps I skipped here.. it gets repetitive.  According to how you want your plate to be, you stick it into the acid until it gets to how you want.  You take them out and clean all the gunk off, and then you're ready to print!

I'm using the knife to spread out the ink so I can pick out any dried pieces.

Smear it on!  Make sure to get it into all of the etching!

All smeared in.

Here, you take a tarlatin(basically cheesecloth that has starch on it) and use that to wipe up the excess ink.

There should only be ink in the etching when you're done.

Here I'm smearing ink into the main plate.

All wiped up and ready to ink!  I didn't wipe the first plate too well, you can still see some teal around the etching.  Oh well, this was just a test print to get the registration right!

The printing press!  For intaglio you have to use damp paper, so what's not seen here is that I had to soak the paper for at least 20 minutes.  I taped it to the press to get the registration correct.

After it's been run through.  You can see the additional tape I put down to help me place the plates.

Replace the plate with the other one, put the paper down and run through again!

Here I'm pulling the paper away... hopefully the registration is good!

And... it's not.  It's off a lot :(

Here's another.  I just ran another piece of paper without inking up the plates again.  You can see just how much ink the paper soaks up in the first run.  I didn't bother to ink up the plates again because I was just trying to get the registration right.. It wouldn't make sense to waste ink.

Here's another shot to show how bad the registration is.

Thankfully I finally got it sorted out when I actually went to print the final edition.  I used pink instead of teal as well.  I'll post all of my prints on another day! :)