A Halloweeny Art Journal Transfer Tutorial: And How to Move Beyond Your Perceived Mistakes

I took half of my Girl Scout troop to Salem, Mass last weekend and now I am  inspired to do great Halloweenish things in my latest hand-stitched art journal.  I captured some wonderfully creepy pictures while there, with the idea of incorporating them on a page or two via an ink jet transparency transfer.  I had done several transfers before and they are quite fun.  Transparency transfers seem the easiest for art journals.  They are relatively painless, if you do them correctly… Below are my wonderfully creepy pics:

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The next one is my fave.  A woman painted these cute baby dolls, sewed adorable clothing for them, and sold them in cute little boxes.  Oh how I do love this type of contradiction!

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I began my page spread rather blindly, as I usually do, and covered most of it with torn paper bits from an old Thesaurus.  I used Matte Gel by Liquitex to adhere.  This is a common go-to way of establishing a first layer.  And I just love layers…  Just avoid covering the crease.

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I then, for some reason, painted it a see-through peachy skin tone. (I was developing a plan but this would soon change).  I had no peachy skin tone paint so I mixed gesso and fluid matte medium together along with a drop of red acrylic ink and a drop of orange acrylic ink, all pictured below.  Voila, SEE-THROUGH PEACHY SKIN TONE!

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Next came my big mistake.  I photocopied my 3 awesomely scary photos on the wrong type of plastic transparency (it was actually translucent plastic, I should have known). I cut out what I wanted and adhered them, ink side down, to my page with the wrong type of gel medium (It was a matte gel, I should have known).   Two strikes unbeknownst to me until I “removed” the plastic pieces.  The plastic was stuck to the page, firmly.  The page tore and only bits of the transfer remained.  I was bummed, I will not pretend otherwise. Not one to be easily defeated, I embraced the mistake and made it work.  I moved on, determined to fix the mess, and began “mending” the tears (and tears) with pink and yellow neon paint.

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The picture below really shows the shoddy transfer.

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Now for the much more correct transfer method… I photocopied my 3 photos using my ink jet printer onto a sheet of acetate transparency plastic.  You know, the kind for overhead projectors.  The ink takes a looooooooong time to dry on the plastic, so be patient.  And while it’s drying, resist the urge to touch and rub the upper left hand corner, Jason. (Sophie told me it was you after I blamed her).

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Next, I cut out the pieces I wanted to transfer.  I laid down a nice bed of self-leveling clear gel (glossy finish) on the page where I planned on sticking my images.  Normally I would have used Gloss Gel Medium but I had lent it out last week.  (Avoid matte finish gels as I think they have the tendency to turn out a little less clear and/or not separate from the plastic as easily).

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I carefully placed my first image, INK SIDE DOWN, onto the bed of just-applied gel.  I gently and quickly pushed from the center out to remove trapped air bubbles.  The printer ink very quickly turns back to a liquid, so be very gentle when pressing on your image.  I repeated this for the other images.

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I also brushed away some of the inky gel that seeped out from under the edge of the devil baby picture.

Now comes the part I’m not very good at.  You really should let the whole thing dry over night.  Just leave it alone, go watch TV or read a book or something.  I simply couldn’t resist, and a few hours later I started peeling away the plastic pieces.  And of course, it wasn’t completely dry, and the image didn’t completely separate from the plastic sheet and I was left with holes here and there.  I really didn’t mind all that much though.  The holes lent themselves to the overall Halloween look.

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I see air bubbles too, but I really do love my creepy devil vampire baby.  I then did my usual thing and sort of intuitively arted up my page spread.  I used black India ink, neon acrylic paint, paper from a funny Dick and Jane parody book, and a little bit of pen and colored pencil.

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I like what I ended up with;  it’s playful, colorful, and oh-so Halloween!

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The Fugit Hora line on the tombstone came out backwards.  Not a big deal.  I was informed that Fugit Hora means time flies.  And boy does it.  I have an eighth grader.  I’m almost 40.  The weeks zoom by.  The logical conclusion to this is that pretty soon, before we know it, we will all be dead.  Happy Halloween everyone!!!

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