Inkjet Heat Transfer workshop

Explore a creative and fun way to put your photos, artwork, and designs onto a variety of surfaces using heat transfers and an inkjet printer. At this hands-on workshop we’ll  use several different products to transfer your images onto fabric, wood, tile, and more. You’ll complete at least one transfer at the workshop, and a handout is included so you’ll be all set to make original gifts and artwork on your own.

Collage box

Hummingbird and Watch Collage Box: Transfer Artist Paper

The workshop will be held on Sunday April 28, from noon to 3 pm at The Village Shops and Galleries, 10330 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito (between Stockton and Eureka). Free parking and wheelchair accessible. $40 plus a materials fee.

Swallowtail butterfly tile

Swallowtail butterfly tile

This is a versatile, clean, and inexpensive way to place your photos and images onto things that you can’t fit through your printer. I’ll show you tips and tricks to get great results from transfers, and introduce you to the best-quality products, including Transfer Artist Paper (TAP), which I used to make the collage box in the photograph at the top of this post.

Another heat transfer product I like is made by Lazertran, a company that makes the waterslide decals I use in many of my art pieces.  The top of this box is a Lazertran heat transfer.

Lisianthus box heat transfer

Lisianthus Box: Lazaertran transfer

Want to learn more? Here are some of my blog posts about using heat transfers:

Photos on wooden boxes, part 1

Photos on metal, part 1

Photos on tiles, part 1

Photos on tiles, part 2

Pre-registration is required for the workshop because I’m limiting the size, so please email me at heidirand@gmail.com.  For the complete list of my workshops and other events, go to the workshop page on my website.

If you’re not in the Bay Area, you can learn the techniques at my online workshop at CraftArtEdu, Decorating Wood With Image Transfers.


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Image Transfer to Wood

I’m putting the finishing touches on my latest online class for CraftArtEdu, which is all about using heat transfers to decorate wood with your own images.

Pocketwatch owl boxUsing inkjet heat transfers (also known as t-shirt transfers) is my favorite transfer technique for wood. It’s easier than most other techniques, the results are usually more predictable, and it doesn’t require special equipment or obnoxious chemicals.

Transfer to wood veneerThere are a lot of different inkjet transfer products. I usually use Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) or the Epson iron-on  paper (using the brand manufactured for your printer gives better results than most of the generic products). You can experiment, printing the same image onto two different brands of transfers.

Reverse your file

The first rule of transferring is to reverse your file. There are some exceptions, but for most transfer processes you place the transfer face down onto your surface, so you need to flip the image.

In the class I go step by step through the process, give you lots of tips and a troubleshooting guide, and discuss many different iron-on products. I’ll let you know when it’s finished and live on CraftArtEdu.com.  Have you used heat transfers onto fabric or any other surface? Ever try it on wood? Let me know what you think! If you’re interested in seeing a preview of the class, click here.

Inkjet Heat Transfer Techniques : One-day workshop

Learn to make creative and unique artwork, crafts and gifts using heat transfers and your inkjet printer. We will explore several products and techniques to transfer images and text to a wide variety of surfaces. You will complete at least two transfers at the workshop.

Masdevalia orchid box

Masdevallia orchid box

Sunday February 21, 2010, noon to 4.  Canyon Trail Park & Art Center, 6757 Gatto Ave., El Cerrito. $40 plus materials

Swallowtail butterfly tile

Swallowtail butterfly tile

You can use heat transfers on fabric, wood, tile, metal, and many other surfaces.  It’s a versatile way to place your photographs and images onto things that you can’t fit through your printer!  For best results, I usually recommend using the  iron-on transfers that your printer manufacturer offers.  There is an exciting new product though, Transfer Artist Paper (TAP), that works very well for transfers.  You’ll have a chance to try TAP at the workshop. I made the frame for this lutradur piece with TAP transferred onto a canvas board.

Butterfly window collage lutradur and TAP

Butterfly window collage lutradur and TAP

Another heat transfer product I like is by Lazertran, the company that makes the waterslide decals that I use in many of my art pieces.  The top of this box is a lazertran heat transfer.

Lisianthus box heat transfer

Lisianthus box heat transfer

Here are some of my blog posts about using heat transfers:

Photos on wooden boxes, part 1

Photos on metal, part 1

Photos on tiles, part 1

For more information, or to pre-register, email me at heidirand@gmail.com.   For the complete list of my workshops and other events, go to the Calendar on my website.


Photos on wooden boxes

I find boxes so compelling.  The old “I wonder what’s inside that box”, I guess.  I start with plain boxes.  I have gathered several wonderful empty cigar boxes, which are so popular with mixed-media artists, but I’m stymied by working around the design that’s already there.  I prefer an empty surface to start with.  Anyway, my first transfers to wood were with the regular Epson t-shirt iron-on transfers.  If you’ve read my other posts, you must be sensing a theme.  I use those iron-ons for so many things!  If you came here from the inkjet transfer yahoo group, you know that the listmom, Lesley Riley, has invented a new iron-on transfer that’s supposed to be incredible.  I ordered mine and can’t wait to get it.  It’s called transfer artist paper and you can get the instructions and order it from Lesley at  http://transferartist.com/

But back to my past experiences with iron-ons and wooden boxes.  Here’s one of the first ones I made,

Irises box / Heat transfer

Irises box / Heat transfer

This is a photograph of a stand of tall bearded irises in our garden.  I printed the photo onto the Epson iron-on transfer paper.  I placed the transfer face down onto the top of the box and held the iron in one place, picked it up and placed it down nearby, until I had covered the whole transfer.  It doesn’t take nearly as long to transfer to wood as it does to metal or tile, but as with those, you just have to peel up an edge and check to see whether the transfer has adhered.  I place the box on a hard surface rather than an ironing board, because you do want to press down hard on the iron.  I also always place a piece of parchment paper between the transfer and the iron, because a bit of the ink squishes out the sides and will get on the iron.  Sometimes the transfer leaves a little nubbly finish on the box – which I don’t mind, it adds texture to the piece.  I varnish over the transfer to protect it and add a bit of gloss. I finished this box by painting around the photo with some white paint.  I made the letters in front by printing the letters on inkjet paper, and gluing them to the clear flat-bottomed pebbles.  I think I attached the pebbles to the wood with very strong double-sided tape, but glue would work as well.

Here’s another:

Masdevallia orchid box / Heat transfer

Masdevallia orchid box / Heat transfer

I love this box.  The photograph is of a deep red masdevallia orchid.  I painstakingly excised the background so all you see is the great shape of the flower.  I did the transfer the same way as above.  The color and texture of the wood shows through.  I glued a ribbon around the sides at the top of the box, you can see a bit of it at the left side of the box.

This is one of my favorite boxes:

Zebra box - Heat transfer

Zebra box – Heat transfer

I took my photograph of a zebra at the Oakland Zoo and gave it an artsy effect by taking out some of the detail.  I cut the photo into pieces to fit the top and sides of the box.  I was amazed that it turned out great on the first try!

I’m adding this instead of starting a new post because it fits in.  My TAP paper, Lesley Riley’s brand new product, arrived yesterday!  http://transferartist.com/  It’s a polymer-coated sheet intended to be used with inkjet printers, and is ironed onto your surface.  I picked out a wooden box to print on first — told you I love those boxes!  I chose an unpainted rectangular box and then sized one of my new designs to fit on the entire top of the box.  I wanted to use it because the colors are very intensely saturated and it has good detail.  It’s a collage of a butterfly and a lily flower.

Golden butterfly and lily collage

I read the instructions included with the TAP package, which were pretty basic.  I had read on Lesley’s yahoo group that there were more instructions online, so I quickly logged on.  One detail that isn’t on the instructions with the package is which side of the page to print on.  It seems obvious once you realize that the side that has slight grooves in it is the coated side, but I’ve printed the incorrect sides of so many products that I wanted to be sure.  She does include that information online – actually she says to print on the white side — she made the back side slightly greenish to distinguish, which is helpful.

Lesley’s instructions say to print on the plain paper and medium quality setting.  I did use the plain paper setting, but deviated slightly and chose the best quality setting (“fine” on my Epson 2400).  I watched it emerge from the printer and was very happy — the colors were fully saturated and the detail was very good.   One of my ink cartridges is low and at first I thought that had caused some banding, but it turned out that it was just the grooves of the polymer coating.

I set the iron for the highest setting.  I cut the image out, put it face down onto the top of the box and covered it with parchment paper to protect the iron.  When the iron was ready, I placed it down and pressed.  I could hear what I guess was the polymer bonding or transferring to the wood very quickly.  I moved the iron to another spot and did the same, until I had covered the whole box.  I have an iron with holes in it, so I had to do some overlapping to make sure the entire transfer bonded.  The entire transfer (about 8″ by 5″) was done quite quickly, faster than I’m used to with the Epson iron-ons.   It turned out so beautifully!  The colors are really vivid, the detail is good.  I’ll try to get a picture up soon to show it off.