Packing Tape Transfers and Decals

I like to make things. Specifically, I enjoy the assembling found materials and original art into something new. To keep pieces from looking like trash glued together, I take care to layer hand crafted elements and keep a running theme for each series. My current theme is related to women, work, family, and balance. Pretty much the issues which exhaust me daily (I write this while my 2 year old is screaming about being taken to the park in a stroller by daddy).

A relatively quick and fun layer to add is a decal or transfer. I really like the packing tape method. Its pretty easy.

  • Grab a magazine image or a photocopy  (I’ve read ink jet no work- tho I haven’t tried it). I try to grab images in the public domain so I dont step on any copyright issues. Also try icons at The Noun Project which are affordable.
  • place tape over the image, cut the excess paper away,
  • rub (burnish) the tape onto the image pretty well,
  • Soak in water for 5-10 min
  • gently rub off the paper and the image should stay put.

You can then use the image on a card or collage!

I’ve done a number of these now, here are some tips, errors, and issues I’ve found.

  • Fresh toner is best
  • Some magazines work better than others
  • Some prints in books don’t transfer
  • Beware of delicate edges or thin extensions, they sometimes rub off with the paper
  • If you have a complex image, cut it out first, its easier
  • seal your transfer once its adhered, I’m going to try some Mod Podge Ill let you know how it goes.

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I’ve also played with Mod Podge photo transfer medium and Citrasolv with some success. Have you tried any other methods?

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