Gel Transfer Mini Canvases

I was looking for new options for inexpensive and reproducible product options recently, and started playing around with transfer techniques, which I first learned about in intro art during freshman year. I was particularly interested in gel medium transfers, where you use acrylic gel medium to transfer the ink from a toner print-out onto another surface. In class we used it mainly to transfer to other pieces of paper, which seemed slightly pointless, but after poking around on the Internet I got inspired to try it with wood and fabric instead. I found that it works well on gessoed canvases; my preliminary project has been making adorable tiny canvases for a giveaway (more info on that at the end of this post!!)

I start out with a piece of printed image around the size of the canvas or larger. The great discovery of this round of transferring has been that you can use full-color images with no ill effects. I had always been told in class that you could only use black and white Xerox copies, so I was pleased when the color in my transferred drawings came out almost as well as the original watercolor.
I have a lot of gel medium hanging around, so I got to experiment with different weights and styles. For this canvas I’ve used gloss gel, and applied it in a thinnish coat all over the canvas, then placed the image on top of the gel face down.
Then I burnish the image all over to make sure it sticks, starting from the middle and moving to the outside to reduce air bubbles as much as possible. They tend to introduce holes in the image, which can be interesting but hard to control. 
After the paper dries, I spray the back of the paper with water to saturate it and start to rub off the paper on the outside. The idea is that the ink sticks to the dried gel medium and the paper rubs off. 
Once all the paper is off (which often takes several tries), I paint it over again with gel medium to seal it, and then it’s done!
I will probably be offering these on Etsy in the near future, but for now the only way to get one is to purchase a $10 ticket to RAW Artist’s Showcase, a spectacular night of art, music and fashion in Boston on September 13th. In order to participate in RAW, artists are obligated to help sell tickets to the event, so I am pleased to offer these canvases to thank you for your support. The retail price of these canvases will be at least $12, so regardless of whether you use your ticket, this preliminary offer is an excellent deal. Canvases are only available to the first 20 people to buy tickets before September 10th, so act soon!

UPDATE (9/01 2:00pm): There are currently only three tickets remaining in the giveaway, so if you’re interested in a free map canvas but haven’t gotten your ticket yet, now’s the time! Thank you everyone for your support!

2 thoughts on “Gel Transfer Mini Canvases

  1. Great little tutorial. How long did you leave the transfer image to dry?

    I love the little canvases that you did. I pinned it on Pintrest in my “Image transfer” board.

    In the last picture was this a colour transfer or did you paint it? It looks really soft , almost as if you used inks.

    Thank you, Barbara

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