Thanks Elizabeth of MaryElizabeth Originals for this wonderful DIY guest post. Read on!
Hi everyone! I’m so happy that Jayne asked me to walk you through how to transfer images using a blender pen. It’s a really great process and once you get the hang of it — it really is quite straight forward to do.
The star of this show is the blender pen. I use the Chartpak Colorless Blender pen. They can be purchased at Chalk Mercantile and are also available at art supply stores.. A few things to keep in mind with this type of image transfer:
- The blender pen reeks, so use it in a well ventilated area
- It’s best used for a softer, more distressed look
- You’ll need an image from a laser printer – not ink jet or a copy machine
While this process isn’t hard, I would suggest doing some test pieces first just to get the hang of it. Or just be prepared to paint over any first attempts that fall a little short. With that, let’s dive in and meet the fashion victim I will be tackling.
I picked up this box the other day and thought the dark wood would look great peeking out from behind a nice light gray. Two coats of Maison Blanche Franciscan Gray later and a little distressing, and the box is ready for image transfer.
As I said, you’ll need an image printed out from a laser printer, not from an ink jet or from a copier. If you’re working with an image with words, you need to reverse the image on the computer before you print it. This way, when you transfer it to the piece, all the letters will be in the correct order.
You’ll want to experiment with the size of your image. Using your computer’s printer settings, you can change the percentage size the image is printed at. Work with it until you have the image to the size you want. The paper the graphic is printed on is irrelevant, so be sure to focus on having the graphic the size that you want.
As you can see from the image, I wanted this graphic to fill up most of the top of the box. I’ve also made sure to print it out so the words are reversed. This particular graphic is from the Graphic Fairy website (amazing site, if you’ve never been), and she usually provides reverse images of the graphics she offers.
Now that the sizing is done, flip the paper over so the graphic is touching the surface, arrange it exactly where you want to have it, and then tape it down. It’s important to secure the paper because you don’t want the paper to slip as you’re working on it. That could lead to blurred images or a skewed graphic.
For the transfer you’ll need the blender pen and a spoon as well. The spoon is used to burnish the paper right after you’ve run the pen over the graphic. Actually you can use almost anything to rub the paper, but I find the back of a spoon works best. I have a few plastic ones around the workshop, so I just grabbed one of those.
As the pen chemical dries quickly, I find it’s best to work in small sections and make your way across the graphic. It’s as simple as:
- Run the blender pen across the paper so it is wet
- Rub that same area with the back of the spoon, pressing down fairly hard
See? Told you it was straight forward. I know, nothing’s ever that fool proof. So here’s the trick to it and where the transfer might go wrong:
- You need to saturate the paper just enough to detach the ink, but not so much that the blender pen starts to push the ink around.
- You also need to rub hard enough with the spoon to transfer the image but not so hard that the paper rips or you miss sections of the graphic.
I find it best to run the pen over the paper once, maybe twice quickly. Rub with the spoon. Then if the ink still looks fairly solid – not smeared – I run the pen quickly over again and rub with the spoon once more. You can pick up the paper and look beneath it to see how the transfer is going as long as you don’t change the position of the paper.
You’ll have to find the balance with the saturation level and the burnishing gusto, but once you get it, I think you’ll find this a wonder transfer method. This is where a few practice transfers come in handy.
I hope this tutorial helps and that you give this method a try. Be sure to pick up a blender pen next time you’re at Chalk Mercantile and start looking for your next project. Happy transfers!
Have you tried blender pen transfers? I’d love to hear about your experience, or if you have any questions of comments, please leave them below.