If you've been following my blog for awhile, you will already know I have recently been experimenting with various methods and products used for inkjet transfers. You may recall a previous post, discussing my results with Lesley Riley's TAP (Transfer Artist Paper). If not, here is the link to that post.
If you are at all like me, I often come across a new product through a blog post or a video that looks like the next best thing to sliced bread. I get excited and enthused and purchase the product, convinced it will be 'the answer'! By the time the product arrives, I have 'moved on' and it sits.
This is the scenario that occurred which lead me to shelving a 16 fl. oz bottle of Golden's Digital Ground Clear (Gloss) in my studio for over a year.
But, I found the right amount of time last week to experiment. I dusted off the bottle, and armed with a wide household paint brush proceeded to throw caution to the wind !
Please keep in mind, I am not AT ALL professing this is the BEST or most efficient method for using this product. On the contrary. What I am sharing with you is my own personal method gleaned from a variety of different sources I've accumulated via word of mouth and research combined with my own experiences. My purpose is to provide an 'at-home' experiment with the goal of informing you so that you may perhaps benefit from my trials and ERRORS which may ultimately save you time and money and GRIEF!
Step 1 - Prepare your fabric by cutting it into sheets close to 8.5 x 11 inches. Take regular freezer paper and do the same. Iron the paper (shiny side facing the fabric) and the fabric together. Optional - to increase the stability of the two layers, I also opted to adhere a strip of packing tape onto the top edges of each to create a straight stable edge. I don't know whether this was necessary, but with both sheets I experimented with, the printer accepted them without incident.
Step 2 - (and photo above) Apply 2 coats of the digital ground. In all, I probably applied about an ounce of the fluid. Although the product is "gloss" my experience was that it did not appear to be glossy when applied to the muslin. The muslin readily absorbed the fluid. The product also hardened the surface of the fabric slightly. NOTE: This product is NOT odor free and for your health and safety, READ the label on the back of the bottle and avoid contact with your skin.
Step 3 - Let it Be. I left these to dry for 2-3 days. Not that they needed that much time. The information on the bottle advises the ground must be left to dry between coats. It doesn't say how long to wait until you feed it through your printer.
Note: (not photographed) Before feeding these into the printer, I trimmed the edges so that the freezer paper and the muslin were even.
Step 3 - Choose the image you want to transfer. Above is a digital illustration directly from the computer.
Because I wanted to maximize the size of this image, I printed it out and photographed it (below)
Above - photograph of the printed digital illustration - can you see the difference between the 100% digital and the photograph?
Above - Cropped portion of the photograph of the digital illustration
Above is the result of my first print. Also - WOOPS Lesson #1 - remember the packing tape I adhered to the top of the prepared fabric? The top part of my image printed directly onto the packing tape instead of the fabric. On the PLUS side, and as I eluded to above, it did allow the material to feed easily into the printer.
Above - result of second inkjet transfer - knowing from my WOOPS above that I had to 'clear' the top edge with the tape, I digitally shifted the top edge of this image down so that it would transfer on to the fabric and 'miss' the tape.
The images successfully illustrate that with each subsequent transfer eg) from original digital to photograph to crop of photo and finally to transfer onto the cloth substrate, it's easy to see the details of the image deteriorate along with variations in the intensity of the colors.
- One of my favorite expressions is "Take my advice - I'm not using it!" In other words, I invite and encourage you to please add your own experiments and lessons learned using this inkjet transfer method in the comments section along with links to any of your own results! It will help me to improve and refine this technique as well as other artists searching for answers.
- I am also curious to know suggestions on what products to use to UV protect these transfers.
- Have you done the math? One of my goals is to create a cost comparison based on 'price per page' for each of the various transfer techniques, but perhaps it already exists somewhere?
Thanks for reading!