Saturday, January 10, 2009

gel medium transfers

When I'm working on collages, I like to use a lot of layers. It adds to the overall mood of the piece. One way to add layers is using elements that are transparent or semi transparent so the pieces underneath come through- You can do this is many different ways and there are tons of books out there with different techniques. This is what works well for me- It took me a while to master this process for my own habits, so you want to tackle this, you may have to make adjustments to suite your needs.

Gel medium transfers are not the easiest things to make- but for the ghostly, skin like look I want, nothing else comes close.

Start with a fresh copy of a favorite image- color or black and white- laser printer prints work best for this technique.

Clean your work surface and lay down waxed paper, freezer paper or plastic. You can go commando- but the gel medium inevitably ends up on the table and I hate to clean it up. The wax paper will keep it from sticking to your kitchen counter or dining room table. Apply a thin, end coat of gel medium to the image. I only use sponge brushes and Golden Regular Gel ( Matte). You can use heavy and glossy, it takes longer to dry, it will appear thicker, more plastic and shiny. ( not the look I'm going for, but it might work for you.)

Apply several layers (how many depends on how thick you put it on.) Usually I do three or four. Remember the coats need to be even- otherwise when you start peeling off the paper- you will get stretching and tearing.
Let the layers dry COMPLETELY before you apply another layer. After you have applied the gel medium- and the final layer is completely dry - you are ready to start peeling paper. This process usually takes me several nights. I lay out the copies and apply a layer or two every night while I'm working on some other project. Remember this whole thing takes patience.

When you are ready to peel the paper, fill your sink, small basin or shallow dish with lukewarm water. Be careful not to make the warm too hot- lay in some of your dried gel covered papers into the bath. let them sit a while- mine go in for anywhere from 5-15 minutes for the first run.

Take out your images an work one at a time on a clean flat surface, i have a clear piece of plexi, i put on the counter, but you can work directly on your work surface as long as it is clean and flat.

Starting in the center of the image- I roll the paper with my fingers in circular motions till it starts to peel away. Slowly the paper will ball up and roll away and your image will appear. Keep working at it till all the paper is removed. You may have to stop and brush off the paper curls regularly. Dip the image back into the wash as needed to re-wet the paper. As the paper dries in the air it will become harder to remove.

When you are all done removing the paper- you transfer is ready to apply to your collage- I cover the area that I want to adhere it to with a light coat of gel medium, lay my image down and use the sponge brush to work out air bubbles.

I wish you luck with this technique and don't give up if you fail the first time- I still tear transfers from time to time- like this one that I ended up using in my journal.


Kathy said...

Very impressive, I want to try it.

Amanda (Blake) Fall said...

Great tutorial. I've tried various transfer methods, including transparency film. Is there any way that inkjet would work? I don't have a laser printer. :( I've also read that Xeroxes can work, but where the heck are those anymore, right... I guess I could get a laser copy made at a copy shop, but I wish there were a more convenient way.


Lucy said...

You've done a fabulous job with this tutorial--love it!! I've tried it many different ways with varying amounts of success. You've hit the nail on the head--be patient!!

QueenBe said...

Great help, thank you. I have tried Omni Gel and although it works great, the final product is too shiney for my liking. Same steps, though. I will try Golden Matte, and thanks again.

risa said...

Thanks for the tutorial...I'm going to be trying this soon!

pinkglitterfae said...

thanks for taking the time to write up this tutorial. Sounds like it takes a while to master it, I will try my luck soon :-)

Alisa Nordholt-Dean said...

Great tutorial! Thanks so much!

I use a similar process, but apply the image directly onto the canvas then remove the paper backing using water and lots of patience :)

Oh, I also use an ink jet printer to print my images and haven't had a problem doing gel medium transfers.

ArtSnark said...

very cool! Keep meaning to try this technique. Your piece looks great

Seth Apter said...

Thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial! Excellent.