Gel Transfers for Art Journaling

Note: Two exciting teaching days in California means I got home very late last night. Today’s post is a quick tutorial on gel transfers. Tomorrow, I’ll share some impressions of the classes.

Gel transfers are not only fun, they add a lot to the pages of your art (or raw-art) journal. Joyce Bank, president of the Calligraphic Society of Arizona,  sent out an interesting summary of YouTube tutorials in various gel medium transfer methods. In each section, the link is followed by a list of interesting points covered in the video.

Golden makes a huge variety of gels, glazes, and mediums

Instead of gel medium, this artist uses a sculptural gel to make transfers.

  • he uses a sculpture gel—a very thick acrylic medium instead of gel medium
  • replaces brush (which can leave marks) with a  plastic palette knife applicator to spread the gel
  • Instead of a laser-print image, he uses a National Geographic magazine image
  • He wets the image so that it will dry together with the acrylic medium
  • He burnishes the image when he applies it

This artist used a soft gel gloss medium

  • a brayer to burnish the image
  • a magazine image rather than a laser printer or photocopied image
  • emphasizes that the darker areas of the photo would show up better
  • lets the transfer dry thoroughly before applying it
  • uses a piece of sandpaper to get the rubbing process started
  • uses a spray water bottle to moisten the back of the paper while she’s rubbing it off

This artist transferred a laser photo image to a piece of tempered glass. Once dry, the image is lifted from the glass and stored on a piece of wax paper until it is used. The glass method allowed him to observe the drying process and yields a smooth surface image.

Quinn McDonald drove across the Sonoran Desert in the dark last night, and was amazed at the experience. She liked being amazed.