Photo Image Transfer Techniques

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    Iron Transfer

    • Photos can be scanned and edited using your home computer.Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

      Transfer sheets for ironing are available at office supply stores and at many discount stores that carry office supplies. Transfer Artist Paper (TM) is a specialty paper that infuses the fabric with the ink in such a way that it does not peel off the way traditional iron transfers do. If you use Transfer Artist Paper, you can also add paint or ink to the photo if desired.

      The photo should be flipped to a mirror image in your photo editing software in order to transfer correctly. This is especially important if there is text in the photo. Check to see which side of paper is normally printed. Load your transfer sheet with the textured side facing the normal printed side of the paper. Print your photograph and place it face-down on your T-shirt or fabric. Check that there are no wrinkles. Set your iron to the desired heat setting (see transfer instructions included with transfer paper) and iron the photo on. Peel up a corner of the transfer to check for adherence. If there are gaps in the photo transfer, continue to iron a little longer. Allow the transfer and fabric to cool, and then peel off the backing.

    Tape or Clear Contact Paper Transfer

    • Laser-printed photos may be transferred to tape or clear contact paper. Print the photo the desired size. Trim the photo of any unwanted portions. Adhere the tape or clear contact paper to the photo. Place the photo in a bowl and soak it until the paper softens. Gently peel the paper off of the back of the photo until it is completely removed. You now have a clear or semi-transparent image to use as desired.

    Polymer Clay

    • If you wish to transfer a photo to polymer clay it may be easiest to use baking parchment paper. For this process, laser printing or ink-jet printing will work, but you will want to check the durability of the ink used in the ink-jet. There are more permanent inks available for most ink-jet printers. Print the photo in reverse on the parchment paper. Prepare clay and roll out to the desired thickness. Place polymer clay on a baking sheet, tinfoil or ceramic tile. Place the photograph face-down on the prepared clay. Burnish the photo onto the clay, remove the parchment paper and bake according to polymer manufacturer's directions. The parchment paper may have enough ink left to make an additional copy or two if desired.

    Gel Transfer

    • Print your subject photo in reverse on paper or on photo paper. Coat the picture with a gel medium. Turn the photo face down onto the surface you wish to transfer to. Burnish the back of the photo with the back of a spoon. Check by lifting a small corner to see if photo has adhered. If there are blank spaces, continue burnishing. Allow the photo to set and then wet the paper and begin removing it. When the paper is removed, your photo transfer is complete.

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