Wednesday, May 9, 2012

applying my graphic transfer

Last week I showed you my armoire redo with homemade chalk paint.  Today I'll give you a little more detail about the graphic transfer I did on the doors.

For the transfer I chose this vintage French advertisement from The Graphics Fairy.  After researching various transfer methods, I decided on the Citra-Solv method.  To do this kind of transfer, I needed a laser  or photo copy (it has to have toner for the transfer to work).  So, I emailed the link to our local FedEx Kinko's and had them print it out at the dimensions I wanted.  It cost less than a couple of bucks.  I also had an extra printed on regular letter sized paper so I could test the process before I got going on the real thing.

I couldn't find a tutorial that explained whether I should apply the transfer before or after waxing.  On one hand, it seemed to me that the graphic would adhere better to the paint rather than the wax.  But on the other, I was afraid that waxing over it would cause it to rub off.  So I tried a test:

In the photo above, you can see my "Zep Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser".  Home Depot didn't have Citra-Solv, so being a lazy bum, I decided to test with this stuff and see if it would work before I ran around town  looking for the product that is the title (!) of the method I was going to do for the first time (!).  Thankfully, it worked like a charm.  You can see that the no wax side was the clear winner.

To do the transfer, I laid my graphic face down on my door.  Using a small art paint brush, I applied a thin even coat of the citrus degreaser over the entire sheet of paper.  Then I used the back of a cheap spoon to burnish the design - this just means rubbing over the whole thing with a small circular motion using medium constant pressure.  You don't want to rub too hard or you'll tear your paper - you are just sort of smooshing it down really good.  You can lift up a little bit to see how it's going, but don't move too much or you'll have trouble getting it lined back up right.  I repeated the brush/burnish steps again over stubborn areas till I got it how I wanted it.  My larger copy was harder to work with than my smaller one (difference in toner?).  Finally, I let the paper dry.  Then I just sort of peeled and flaked off as much as I could and wet it a bit with plain water to help remove the pieces of paper that were left.  

I was really scared to wax over it, afraid that it might get grainy.  So I waited till the next morning to let it set up and the wax went on fine.  I used a thin Sharpie to touch up a few places where the graphic didn't transfer as well.  And ta-da! 

It was a fun thing to do - I'm already thinking of what project I can do next.  I'd like to try a transfer onto fabric.  When I get to it, you'll be the first to know!


Laura from Top This Top That said...

love this. Do you put the degreaser on the front side of you image? I will have to try this.

Heidi @ Decor & More said...

I'm so glad you posted this -- I have a table I'm working on for my booth and want to do a transfer, but haven't had a chance to play around with it. Thanks for doing that step for me!!
xo Heidi

debra valiante said...

ooh thank you I have been wanting to try this but to lazy to order citra solve the local store has zep and getting kinkos to enlarge th the pic didn't think of it

Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design said...

I love this! You always find creative ways to save money! :)

thistlewoodfarm said...


What a fun idea! I just pinned and tweeted this :) Thanks for the inspiration.


Amy@BuffaloRoam said...


Kelly @ View Along the Way said...

Turned out so cool! I just love that armoire.

Bliss said...

Your new favorite method you think?


Lynn @ UpCountry Olio said...

Thank you so, so much for this tutorial! I've been watching for it, I loved how your armoire turned out and I'm hoping mine will turn out half as good.

Tisha said...

You need to use a mirror image of the way you want it to look, but the Graphics Fairy had already done that step with the graphic I chose. Then you lay your copy face down on the furniture and brush the degreaser on the back of the paper. This causes the toner to be transferred off the paper and stick onto your furniture. It's really pretty neat to do!

Tisha said...

I did enjoy the project and would like to try some transfers on other pieces. Plus I have a huge bottle of that degreaser. It works wonders on cleaning stainless appliances too.