The work I do as a mother involves a lot of delayed gratification. When I escape to the studio and put on my artist’s hat it can be nice to see some instant results. Solvent photocopy transfer is one of my favorites. You need only a photocopy, fabric, Citra-Solve®, and a few seconds of elbow grease and viola!The good people who produce this environmentally friendly cleaning product have included an ARTISTS’ PAGE on their website. I’m honored to have been included among other textile artists I admire such as Jane Davila and Jane Dunnewold.
I encourage you to take a peek over there – lots of interesting things being done. It makes me think that I have some experimenting to do. Dissolving pages from National Geographic magazine? Hmmm. Wonder how I can do that on fabric.
Want to join me in a little playtime? Here are the instructions for moving the ink from a photocopy onto paper or fabric. Wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area. The stuff is much more pleasant than the paint stripper I used to use but it IS still a solvent.
- Citra-Solve® (find where to buy it here)
- Cotton ball
- Metal spoon
- Non-porous smooth surface
- Masking tape
- Fabric or paper of your choice
1. Find a copyright free black and white image. I love to use vintage family photos.
2. Make a photocopy of the photo, sizing it no larger than 5″ x 7″.
3. Cut away the background if it detracts from or competes with your image.
4. Draw in any lines that need emphasis or add in some fun scribbles. Maybe Grandma always wanted a tiara or your puppy looks great in polka dots! You can digitally manipulate the photo as well.
5. Make a final photocopy. (Note: Inkjet prints DO NOT work with this method.)
6. Tightly tape a piece of fabric or paper to your glass or non-porous surface.
7. Tape the photocopy face-down on your paper or fabric. Don’t let the tape cover the image.
8. Dampen the cotton with Citra-Solve® and squeeze it out. Rub it on the paper until you see the ink show through. It should be barely damp – too juicy and your image will bleed and blur.
9. With the back of the metal spoon, rub, rub, rub hard and like crazy in all directions. You are moving the ink from the paper to the fabric.
10. Pick up one corner of the paper and peek. Look for spots that haven’t transferred yet then put the paper back down and rub some more in that spot.
11. Toss the paper in the trash and let the solvent evaporate.
12. Feel free to play around with the image. Color it in with colored pencils, ink, paint or whatever you have on hand. Be creative! Have fun!