By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People”.
Collage, in both “hard copy” and digital forms is very popular right now, and I’m a fan of both. It’s relaxing, almost zen-like to sit with my materials, arranging, re-arranging, and layering them. Digitally, I love the fact that you can create what are basically transparent layers, which is mostly not an option with “real” images and materials.
Except that it is, at least with printed items. You can make decals, and it’s really quite easy to do it. I’m familiar with two products you can use, Liquitex Gloss Medium, and Omni-Gel. The process is the same with both products.
Omni-Gel OR Liquitex Gloss Medium
Soft paint brush
Printed images—almost any will work, except for inkjet or photographs
A dish that is larger than your print(s)
So first decide what images you want to use. Cut them out, leaving a generous edge around any that you want to completely cover the collage surface. Protect your work surface with plastic wrap, which will let you peel the finished decals/transfers off when they’ve dried, and lay the images print side up on it. Paint each image with a coat of the medium, allowing the medium to extend beyond the paper just a bit, and let dry. I usually just squeeze a drop or two of medium on the image and spread it around.
When the medium is dry, spread on another layer. If you’ve painted with up-and-down strokes on the first layer, make the second layer’s strokes go side-to-side. Let that layer dry, and paint on a third layer, again with brush strokes that go in a different direction than the layer before.
Three layers of medium is generally enough; I sometimes do four, but it probably isn’t necessary. You’ll now have what looks and feels like a picture coated with a plastic sheet.
When the last layer is thoroughly dry, peel your images off the plastic and soak them in the dish of water. (If an image resists being peeled off, you can cut right at the edge of the paper, and slip your finger between the picture and the plastic.) Don’t worry if the transfer medium turns a little milky while soaking.
Soak the pictures until the paper is good and wet, but not more than twenty minutes, then take each one out of the water and lay it face-down on a clean, smooth surface—a plate works well.
Rub the paper with your fingers, and it will roll up and come away from the transfer.
Rub until ALL the paper is gone. You’ll know you’re finished when you don’t feel any fuzziness at all, and the transfer is completely transparent.
You now have a decal!
To use it, just paint the back with more of the transfer medium, and apply it wherever you like on your project. Make sure your fingers are absolutely clean—any little bit of anything will imbed itself and show later!
One of the things I love about the finished decal is that it’s stretchy. You can cover uneven surfaces, or pull the image around the edges of a plaque, and smooth it out completely, as you can see from the little project below:
To make it, I used three images I’d turned into decals—the background trees (scrapbooking paper), the blue bird (cut from a magazine), and the bit of music (from an old music book). As you can see, the plaque I used had a crenellated edge, and a raised circle about 1/2″. The transfer stretched over every irregularity and clung there. On the back, I just squished the gathered edge down and used a bit more medium to glue them in place.
You can also use the transfer medium to create pendants. The first image in this post doesn’t give you scale, but each piece is a half-globe in shape, with a transfer stretched over it. The half-globes were molded in measuring spoons—1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1 teaspoon—so they’re quite a nice size to glue on a bail and put on a necklace or bracelet.