Saturday 20 July 2013

Mixed media art tutorial, text transfer

I love the look of text in art. 
This is a tutorial for a technique that I've used for the background of one of my recent canvases (below). 
It's simple to do (though a bit time consuming!). You'll need:

A canvas or other substrate 
Paper with some text or image you want to transfer
Medium (medium, e.g. gel medium or Mod Podge)

  Here are the steps -

1. Apply a generous coat of medium to your canvas.
2. Press the page/s down firmly onto the medium, and burnish a little on the back, to help the ink transfer. I've used dictionary pages, but any printed black/dark text or strong coloured image should work.

3. Once it's completely dry, wet the paper again slightly and start to gently rub away the top layers with your finger. It's a bit of a labour of love this and can take a while, though I find it strangely relaxing!
4. You're left with a slight impression of the print on the canvas. As the paper dries, you'll see any bits you've missed so you can add more water and rub them away.
5. Important note: your text will transfer backwards. This wasn't really an issue in my piece as I just wanted to give a vague impression of text. If you need the text to be the right way round, you'll need to use a printer to print it out in reverse first.
6. Once dry, the canvas can be painted over further if you like, and/or varnished as normal. I've used the technique as a background for this found object collage. 


  1. Wow ~ you've certainly taken your paintings to the next level ~ loving this SO much!

  2. This is really nice. I've done that type of transfer but never with is beautiful.

  3. Thanks Gemma, I'm pleased with how it turned out :-)

  4. Thanks for this tutorial.The writing does add that extra layer, and looks good.

  5. This is amazing! Thank you for the tutorial!!

  6. Thanks for your kind comments Judy and Martha, I'm glad you liked it :-)

  7. I completely adore what you've done with this. I quite like the idea of reversed text because it makes it less readable and then it's more about the look of it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks Wendy! I like the reverse text too, though it's possible to print it out in reverse first on a printer if you need it to be the right way.