Sunday, April 08, 2012

Image Transfer Technique - Clear Packaging Tape

I spent about three hours today, playing in water with image transfer, then later a further four hours with my hands in water again, but kitchen cleaning at my mums.

This technique comes from the book Collage Discovery Workshop by Claudine Hellmuth.

Following yesterdays attempt, with the dark photo printed on a photocopier, I tried out a variety of image sources, cigarette cards, glossy magazines, and a 1987 map.  Actually I began with an altered book I'm doing and went in search of pictures.  I keep a box of pictures and images, stuff I can't resist knowing that one day, somewhere it will be incorporated into a piece of art of some kind.  I came across some 1920's sepia cigarette cards and decided to try lifting the image.



In this image you can see the back of a similar photo from a cigarette card - all the paper hasn't come away on either of these to create a transparent image.


Well they don't make paper / card like they used to - there were layers of glue to work through.  I was even able to separate the back text from the image on the front once wet, without destroying either.  You can see from the photo that I did a number of these - in different ways to see what would work best.  It depends on your definition of best really.  Timewise it's faster to stick to the tape, immerse in boiling water, then separate the back from the front, and reimmerse in water again, then work at rubbing off the paper.  But it didn't successfully remove the very last layer of paper to make the image sheer.  It will be in a hot water bath again tomorrow to see if this will help.

In the process of doing these, I discovered:

  • That not all papers are equal!  
  • Different types of cigarette cards gave different results.  The glossy photo like ones, still retained a degree of paper on the back (see picture above)
  • Printed matt pictures on cigarette cards were more transparent.
  • Its possible to get two images from cigarette cards - both the front and the back with the description.
  • Glossy magazine pictures are by far the easiest to do (so far).  
  • Getting the clear tape on without it creasing takes time and practice, and is best if you anchor the tape down to a surface off your piece first, then ease it on, rubbing flat with the side of your thumb.    I followed this with rubbing with a plastic spoon, to ease out any bubbles and make sure that the tape is stuck to every part of the image.  
  • Being able to look at the tape with light shining on it helps you to see what needs smoothing.
  • That you can put down tape to do an image bigger than the width of the tape - but you need to overlap the tape by about 1/4 of an inch.
  • That if you want random edges, you will need to tear it the way you want first, because the tape won't tear in the same way as paper.
  • When tearing the paper you need to think in reverse.  On the Stone cherub below, I wanted that look of a white edge when you tear the paper - but of course you aren't going to get it if you tear so that the the white edge is on the top ... because you are going to rub all that paper away.
  • For more interesting edges you therefore need to tear with the white edge on the reverse of the image.
  • That you don't have to rub the paper off with your finger tip - you can use a soft sponge - like an XLO cloth.
  • When wet, the tape with the transfered image doesn't seem all that sticky.  I put them on paper towels and when they dried, they had adhered to the paper, and needed another quick hot bath to remove it.  Currently they are drying on a towel rack.  Tomorrow I will try storing them between sheets of waxed paper.
New questions:
Will I be able to stick stuff on top of this tape to create a new layer above, or will this need to be the top layer. 

Here are the photo's of today's work.




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