Fast forward to the present ~ now I do have everything recommended by countless others for doing digital image transfers. I want to share with you what works and what doesn't. Yeah, this is my experience, but it's hard for me to believe that a lot of what's purported to work for others really does, because of the nature of the materials. More on that later.
The primary elements recommended -- and these are by many people in books, in online groups, and via googled links --
- gel medium (not regular acrylic medium, but specifically acrylic gel medium)
- JetPrint Photo brand Matte Imaging & Photo paper (used to be Great White brand)
- Apollo brand ink jet transparencies
Here's what I found...
- It doesn't matter what brand of photo paper you use, it won't work. Because acrylic medium is a glue, therefore putting two pieces of paper together with medium between and brayering over is going to make the papers adhere together. You try to pull off the backing paper with your printed image from the receiving paper, and the papers have been glued together! Photo paper to fabric also didn't work for the same reason.
- Transparencies are the only vehicle that work for transferring an ink jet image, because the ink stays on the surface of the film, even though the image dries.
- You can transfer an image printed on transparency film with water. In the photo above, the top images on the left were transferred with water onto paper.
- You can also transfer images with acrylic medium, but it doesn't have to be GEL medium. In fact, I prefer regular matte acrylic medium over gel matte acrylic medium. The bottom photo on the left was done with Blick Matte Medium (transferred to muslin), the images on the right (top on paper, bottom on fabric) with Golden Soft Gel Medium. The gel medium left a more plasticy finish on the paper and cloth.
The JetPrint Photo paper was difficult to find. I purchased some at eBay a week or so ago. Although I'd never use it again to attempt image transfers, I can say that images printed on it are quite lovely, and I'll use them in their own right for mixed media projects.
I hope this is useful information. If you're adept at image transfers I'd be willing to bet your experience is different than mine.
Oh, and one more tip I learned this week ~ you can print images on tissue paper ironed onto freezer paper (like you would do to print directly on fabric). The images are about as transparent once they've been adhered to a substrate as they'd be if the image had been transferred using the above methods.