Monday, March 8, 2010

Alison Manning: Adding Layers with Image Transfers

We are focusing on adding layers to our projects in March, so I decided to share one of my favorite ways to add layers - image transfers. There a numerous ways to create image transfers, but the method I find I use time and again is Packing Tape Transfers.

If you've never tried creating image transfers, this is a great place to start. It doesn't require expensive products, tools or time to create some interesting effects in your work.


One of the main advantages of this method is time. They take just a couple of minutes to create, whereas a gel medium transfer can take several hours because you need to wait for each of the 4+ layers of gel to dry - sometimes I don't have the patience to wait!

I do find that gel medium transfers blend into the other layers more seamlessly, but even after many coats of gel medium, the transfers are still very delicate and tear easily. Packing tape and contact paper transfers are robust and are sturdy enough to withstand a lot of handling.

As an added bonus, text will appear correctly with this transfer method, so it does not need to be reversed on the copy machine.

Here's how it's done:

Tip: the packing tape will remain tacky, so if you're not using the image straightaway, store it on waxed paper until you're ready to use it.

Choosing Images

Packing tape transfers can be made with black & white photocopies and color laser copies, images from thick, glossy magazines and collage sheets. This does not work with ink jet prints.

Here are a few projects I created with packing tape and contact paper transfers:

The image of the black bird and flowers was taken straight from a magazine page and the bird eggs below were transferred directly from a collage sheet by Oxford Impressions.

This nun was created using contact paper and a black and white photocopy. She was mounted onto a collage of old papers that had been stamped and painted.

Similarly, the background of the tag was created from a color copy of a vintage pharmacy invoice and contact paper. It was adhered to some pretty patterned paper by Graphic 45 that had been altered with rubber stamps and ink.

Altering the Transfers

When altering the transfers, treat them as you would acetate. You can apply alcohol inks, Copic markers and Stazon ink to the surface. Before stamping with other inks, painting and applying other water based products they must be sealed with gel medium or a similar type of product.

Vary the papers and surfaces underneath the image transfer too. You can create such interesting effects with textured papers, patterned paper, vintage ephemera and backgrounds you've created yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you create anything using this transfer method, feel free to leave in a link in the comments sections so others can see your work.


  1. WOW, fab tut Ali, thanks ever so much hun x

  2. Great tutorial Ali, Thanks for a reminder of a technique I haven't done recently! Wonderful samples too!

  3. Clear and easy instructions for a fun technique! Thanks so much for sharing all your beautiful creations with these transfers.

  4. Excellent tutorial. This is so good for anyone who is slightly intimidated by the thought of Image Transfer. Great artwork. Lynne x

  5. Great tutorial. I've now tried it and will do it again for an image to use.

  6. Thanks for the tutorial. I am really new to all this. How does one "burnish"? Thanks!

  7. Gorgeous work Ali - love every piece, and the tutorial is fabulous!

  8. Ali these are AMAZING! I have never tried packing tape transfer. Thanks for the tute. I'm gonna go try it right now!

  9. Can not wait to try this one. You have set my creative juices flowing. Lovely transfers!

  10. Great turorial Ali - I used these years ago but had forgotton all about them! Off to play

  11. Thank you so much, Ali. What a clear tutorial! I'm going to try this as soon as I get up in the morning,


  12. This is a good one I must try this at some stage

    Love Dawn xx


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