11 February 2016

Image transfer with Decoupage Glue and Varnish



Back in November, I wrote about the virtues of découpage, and explained how easy and fun it is to apply paper images on to your pieces of furniture and walls, to create different styles and looks – from bohemian to warehouse. 

Today I'd like to share another way of adding an image directly on to…well, anything really - furniture, walls, even fabric! I think I first wrote about image transfer in my book, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More. It’s a technique which I absolutely love and have been able to play around with in many different ways, using my Decoupage Glue and Varnish as a transfer medium. With this method, the image remains on the furniture but the paper on it is removed.

A transfer image can come from almost anywhere, such as a découpage motif book, a magazine, or the internet - as this technique works best with laser prints and photocopies you will need to scan any images from magazines, books etc. on to your computer. When choosing your image, bear in mind that it will transfer in reverse, so you may need to flip it on your computer before printing it out, especially if any text is included.

I start with a surface that has been painted but not waxed (unless you’re transferring onto fabric, then just make sure it’s clean and crease free). Once the paint is completely dry, the image can be applied. Choose a good strong image – I like using black and white which, as you can see from the picture of a door here at HQ, will adapt well to having different colours behind it. Adjust the size on a computer so it is exactly as you want it to be. You can just about see a seam in this picture as I wanted it to be on a grand scale – that doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I think it adds to the general effect.

I printed the picture on normal copier paper using a laser printer. You can also use a photocopier, but I'd avoid inkjet prints as they can bleed a little which can distort the image. Using sharp scissors, I cut my image out, getting as close to the image outline as possible. I then brushed a thin layer of Découpage Glue and Varnish over the part of the door on which I wanted the transfer. I was very careful not to make the area on which I was gluing much larger than the image, as the unused glue will leave a slightly sticky, shiny area when it is not covered by the picture.

Being extremely careful, I then painted the image with a very thin layer of glue (right side up) and, whilst it was still wet, slid it on to the surface face down. Make sure any air bubbles are worked out or even pricked with a pin as you don’t want these on your finished piece. Rub the image with a dry cloth, making sure it is totally stuck to the surface (don’t forget the edges!) and leave it to dry completely.

Now the magic begins. Once the glue was completely dry, I added a little water, just dabbing at the picture with my fingers. Once it was damp but not soggy, I started rubbing in little circular movements which has the effect of peeling off the paper. The paper will come off in layers so at first it may look a little cloudy – keep going. You could use a cloth, but I prefer the control that comes with using my fingers - I get a much stronger sense of how hard to rub! Once all the paper is off, the image will be clear, although it may look a little dull once it is dry so brush the whole thing with my Clear Wax and voila! You can rough it up a little by gently sanding the edges, or leave it as a clean, crisp image.

How have you used my Découpage Glue and Varnish to create images on your projects? Share them with me using #AnnieSloan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and use @anniesloanhome to tag me too!

Yours, Annie

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