Image Transfer Methods

Gelli Plate offset printing by Jac Balmer

For this you need laser prints or photocopies. Inkjet won’t work.

Book made from the photocopies
(after using them to take of the first layer of paint)
(If you don’t mind using other peoples images or text glossy magazines are supposed to work with varying degrees of success. Vogue apparently is good. I haven’t tried this)

Also a gelli plate, roller and two different colours of acrylic paint (I use system 3) and paper (I used copy paper)
  • Rollout the first paint, not too thick, on the gelli plate.
  • Place the photocopy face down on the paint and rub firmly.
  • Peel off the photocopy. You should see the design on the plate. (The paint should stick to the bare paper but the toner should act as a mask)
  • Let the design dry on the plate. It only takes a minute or so.
  • Roll the contrasting colour on the plate.
  • Put on your printing paper and rub firmly
  • Peel back the paper. The dried design should have stuck to the second layer of paint and should peel back with it.

Some paints work better than others. For some reason I haven’t been able to get crimson to leave a line behind at all.

More methods ...... By Marilyn Tippett

Strong clear sellotape or packing tape

Place the tape carefully over your image and smooth out. Place into water for 5-10 minutes, then gently rub off the paper. If you rub too hard the paper will remove some of the image so go carefully

White acrylic paint

Paint onto the paper to which you want to transfer the image. A good coverage but not too thick. Place your image face down into the paint, smooth gently and leave overnight. In the morning, dampen the back of the image and rub off gently.

Gel medium (eg Liquitex)

The methodology is as above, but the image can be revealed after an hour or so.


Place your image face down onto the paper and rub with acetone (as strong as you can get if using nail varnish remover). Then burnish (ie rub gently) to transfer the imageMod Podge Matt

Place a smooth layer of medium onto your paper and put the image on face down. Smooth, then leave overnight. In the morning dampen the back of the image and then gently rub off the paper

Mod Podge Photo transfer medium
Use as above

Citra Solv

Place the image face down on the paper and dampen the back with the Citra Solv. Burnish and then remove the paper. Be careful as the image may move and so hold it steady

PPD transfer film

This is a Safmat substitute as Safmat is no longer made. Print through your normal inkjet printer and then peel off the film and adhere to your work

Hand sanitiser

Produce your image as above using the transfer film, and then place the image face down onto your paper, and put the sanitiser on with a sponge or cotton wool until you can see the image. Burnish and then peel off carefully

Temporary tattoos and nail decals 
also work well. Unless stated use photocopies produced by a toner, not laser, photocopy machine. You can also use magazine pictures, the glossier the better, with the Mod Podge, Gel medium, acrylic paint and sellotape. Don’t forget to reverse your images if there is text within them, or if it is necessary for them to face a particular way. You can also cut out your image exactly as you want it and apply the relevant transfer medium directly to the back of the image before applying to your paper or other surface, eg wood, ceramics, textiles etc.

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