Image Transfers – A Gel Plate How-To
Image Transfer Step One:
Choosing the proper paper is one of the first pieces to a successful laser-printed image transfer. Our go-to paper, one we most often use around the studio, almost exclusively, is the Hammermill Printer Paper, Premium Color 32 lb Copy Paper, 8.5 x 11 https://amzn.to/3m2iAXg We use it for both the laser print and to pull the print.
Another key piece to this step is making sure your printer is set to the best quality setting available. Grayscale or areas not 100% black may or may not show up when the print is pulled. If you do not have a laser printer, many quick print shops will print for you or we now have many of our favorite patterns available here on our website, Shop Laser Prints Now.
If you are interested in purchasing your own printer, the model we have is no longer available but we would highly recommend this newer model from HP with a tank rather than a toner cartridge:
HP Neverstop 1001nw Wireless Mono Laser Printer with Cartridge-Free Toner Tank comes with up to 5,000 pages of toner in the box (5HG80A)
Image Transfer Step Two:
Extremely Important… A thin layer of paint (highly recommend Amsterdam, Golden, or Liquitex) shown is Amsterdam Expert in Prussian Blue. Once the layer of paint is brayered on very thinly onto the plate, get your Laser Print down, IMMEDIATELY. Gently smooth out the paper with your hand rubbing onto the paint. Once the laser print has made contact with the paint surface (about 10-12 seconds) LIFT THE LASER PRINT as shown above.
TIP: Use the widest brayer you have or one that fits your gel plate. This will help create even layers in the right amount of time. Timing is everything.
ALLOW THE IMAGE ON THE PLATE TO DRY COMPLETELY. I REPEAT, LET IT DRY!!!!!!
Image Transfer Step Three:
Once the image is fully dry, it is time to choose a color or colors to pull the print. Metallic paints like the Gold Iridescent Gold and Silver are wonderful but dry very quickly so you must get your pull paper down RAPIDLY. What you see in the picture is Stencil Butter, which is a great product but does require a bit of experience.
Again a thin layer of pull paint is ideal but better to err on the side of too much beac too little paint on the plate will result in pulling up the image as you brayer. As you can see above many times you will be able to see the image even if it is simply the texture of it.
TIP: The more opaque your paint, the more you will watch for the texture vs the actual image.
High contrast is essential if your goal is to see the image, that being said cool effects can be achieved with lower contrast between the image and the pull paint layer.
ALLOW TO DRY COMPLETELY
Image Transfer Step Four:
When pulling the print, loosen the edges all around. This is most likely where it will stick and cause a tear. Pull slowly yet firmly. Good Luck!