Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Packaging Tape Transfers

Ordinary, clear packaging tape can be used to make quick image transfers of newspaper, magazine, photocopied, and black and white laser printed images. It works to some degree with color laser printed images.

Clear packaging tape
Newspaper, magazine, photocopied, or b/w laser printed image
Bowl or small tub of water
Sponge (optional)
Glue stick or acrylic medium


1. Cut the chosen image to desired size. Cutting straight edges allows for more control.

2. Pull out some tape. If the sticky side is up, static electricity will hold the tape flat to the work surface. This also allows greater control and fewer wrinkles and air bubbles

3. Cover the image with tape. With the sticky side of the tape facing up, the image has to be placed onto the tape. This technique seems to create fewer wrinkles.

4. Trim excess tape. This keeps your transfer from sticking to things as you work.

5. Smooth out the tape using a burnishing tool to make certain that the image is adhered to the tape.

6. Soak the image in water for at least a few minutes. Warm water works well, but cold water is fine if you soak it longer.

7. Remove the image from the water, and place it tape side down. Gently rub the back of the image with your finger to begin removing the paper. Soak longer if needed. Continue to rub gently to remove all the paper. Sometimes a sponge can be used effectively. The image should be completely transparent.

8. Allow the transfer to dry. Using a paper towel or rag will speed the drying time, but be careful, the tape may still be very sticky.

9. Spread glue stick on the back of the transfer (the sticky side). Acrylic medium can also be used if gluing to a non-paper surface. Using a scrap of paper allows the work surface to stay clean.

10. Press the transfer onto the desired surface, and rub with hand to make certain that it is well adhered.


Sue J said...

See, you can learn something new every day. I didn't know that putting the shiny side down stops the sticky tape from curling. I usually end up with the stuff twisted and clinging to everything. I throw quite a bit away.
Thanks for that! :-)))

Caroline Nixon said...

Excellent technique. I'll have to try it out. Thanks!

Louise said...

one of the clearest tutorials I have seen for this technique. I have just recommended you guys to my mum, she is just starting to art journal <3

Modesto Maloney said...

Great use of packaging tape