Shiny image of an orange beach sunset created on clear packing tape from a magazine image.
52-Week Art Journal

Week 20: Easy Image Transfers

It’s Week 20 of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, and I’m experimenting again… but not with watercolors… though that was tempting. I figured not everyone would be as excited as I to keep on with them. This week I’m giving you a few options for image transfers to try in your journal. Packing tape was completely new for me.

You’ll need at least one laser-printed or magazine image. You’ll also need clear packing tape and glue or Mod Podge, as well as clean warm water in a container at least a bit wider and longer than your image if you’d like a shiny translucent image. For an image that’s a bit closer to opaque you’ll need Mod Podge or gel medium.

Gesso and acrylic paint, and other material to make a mixed media piece are optional.

If you’re new here, welcome! If you’d like to see how we made our journals, and this journey, our own, visit the Week One prompt. It will also give you a better idea of what we’re doing here. The Week Two prompt can help you let go of unnecessary and unhelpful focus on the outcome over the process, and striving for some impossible perfection. You can expect to love the way some of your small art turns out, and that not everything will turn out as you envision or hope—and that’s okay. 

I started with the packing tape transfer because I’d never tried it. And, well, I thought that would be the only technique in this week’s video, but that’s not the way it turned out. I hope you have as much fun as I did.

If you’d like to watch the video before you read, scroll on down…

Packing tape image transfer

Packing tape image transfers work with the aforementioned laser prints and magazine images, as well as old book pages. Keep in mind that the original will be destroyed, so don’t use anything you want to keep. If you’d like to make a transfer of lines from a favorite book, or something like that, you can photocopy the page(s), or photograph or scan them to print. Just be sure it’s a laser copier/printer. I have’t tried an inkjet print, but from everything I’ve seen, it doesn’t work like toner.

This method is pretty basic, and had an interesting effect. I hadn’t wanted to try it when I first saw it as an option to add as a focal point in a mixed media piece. Because it’s shiny.

The first step is to simply stick the packing tape onto the image you want to transfer.

My first this week was a magazine image of a sunset.

If your image is wider than the tape, you’ll need to line up multiple pieces side by side. When my image came apart with my first attempt, I figured I hadn’t made my pieces of tape touch. But overlapping them just a bit did leave blank stripes in my image.

After your image is covered with tape, place it into your container of water. You don’t have to soak it long before the back of the image can be peeled off. Sometimes it just slips off in one solid piece.

A glue stick works fine to adhere the altered tape, which may or may not have some adhesive left, to a journal page. I also used Mod Podge.

You can place your transferred image onto a blank or painted page. I placed one on a watercolor page from last week. Which was a bit too dark for how the transfer turned out.

Practice makes progress.

If you’d like to leave gaps in your image, leave gaps between your pieces of tape. There must be at least a million ways to fill in the gaps.

A magazine image on a plain background is the simplest option for this week’s small art.

Mod Podge image transfer

I also played around with Mod Podge image transfers. I decided to use acrylic paint to make a background for a black-and-white photo. My printer isn’t the greatest, and I wasn’t thinking about how I’m low on toner, but it’s an idea with which you’d likely have more success than I did this go-round. But it can be tricky. And finicky.

My first Mod Podge transfer to a page for this week’s video wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t as defined as I’d set out for. I may do more with it later to create a bold 50 page; it’s a photo from my 50th birthday.

It’s important to note and remember that images will come out reversed with this method. This is particularly important if your chosen image has text in it. Flip the image before you print it.

Packing tape images will transfer oriented as they are.

I had a little difficulty with my Mod Podge and packing tape transfer mash-up. I adapted a bit, and know better what to do to create a better effect next time. Remember that’s one of the beauties of an art journal. We can experiment and learn, without fear of judgment.

No one will see your results, and they won’t end up on YouTube or social media. Unless you choose to show off pieces you’re proud of and/or share them to encourage others to make art a regular self-care practice. If you share on social media, tag me, @melindavanry. I’d love to see the unique beauty you create. You can also add my hashtag #artjournalwithmelinda. Thank you also to everyone who has shared pages with me privately.

The last piece in this video is a basic mixed-media composition that I ran out of time to get more layers into, for more interest. But figured you could at least use it as a jumping off point. Or inspiration to fly with your own ideas. This may be another one you’ll see more complete on social media later. If you haven’t yet, I’d love to have you join me on Facebook or Instagram. My latest arty links can be found here.

Leaving a mark

Our transferred images never look exactly like the original. And don’t always turn out the way we’d like. Wrinkles, air bubbles, a thin spot of glue or toner… so many variables.

But what could be considered flaws, are part of the beauty.

As we go through life, circumstances, situations, and events leave their marks on us. They shape the way we develop. Some hurt. And we need to acknowledge the effects of trauma and loss so we can heal. We can also be grateful for evidence of our own resilience. Maybe you’re feeling broken, but you’ve made it this far, and you’re not done.

Let’s take some time in our journaling to consider how the good times have shaped us. And maybe the good things that have come out of the things that were not so good.

Thank you for joining me for another week of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey. If you’d like an extra bit of weekly creative self-care encouragement in your inbox, sign up here. I appreciate the opportunity to encourage you to reclaim your creativity, and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care. I’ll be back next week with another small-art and journaling prompt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *