On This Page:
- Selecting the Image
- Preparing the Image for Transfer
- Coating Image
- Soaking Transfer
- Drying Transferred Image
- Adhering Transfer to Support
- Using Liquitex Interference Colours
- Using Liquitex Gel Mediums
- Using Liquitex Texture Gels
- Using Liquitex Fluid Mediums & Texture Gels
- Tips and Techniques
- Additional Ideas

Acrylic transfers allow artists to transfer images generated from magazines, newspapers, photographs and laser printers onto any surface that will accept acrylic paint. It can be done with a wide variety of Liquitex Mediums depending upon your desired effect. This technique transfers black & white and coloured images. The medium is brushed, poured or troweled over the image to be transferred. After the medium has dried, it is soaked in water and the paper is removed from the back of the image. You are left with a transparent to translucent image that is imbedded within acrylic medium.

Use any of the following Liquitex Mediums: Gloss Medium & Varnish, Gloss Gel, Gloss Heavy Gel, Gloss Super Heavy Gel.


Selecting the Image

  1. Select image of your choice: newspaper, magazine, photograph or computer laser (not ink jet) print. Some images such as newspaper, laser print, uncoated magazine will transfer directly without the need of a photocopy. Some images such as photographs and coated magazine images will not transfer.
  2. Obtain a photocopy of your selected image either in black & white or colour. Since it can be unclear beforehand which image will and will not transfer, a Xerox of the original image is recommended.


Preparing the Image for Transfer

  1. Place photocopy, image side down onto scrap paper and spray back of image with a light coat of a spray adhesive. Use proper ventilation and facemask.
  2. Position photocopy, image side up onto glass palette and press flat. Image may be taped to glass palette instead of using spray adhesive, however a taped image will not lay flat once coating is begun.


Coating Image


Brushing Method:

  1. Using a 1/2”–2” wide, soft brush, coat image with Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish. For minimal brush marks, use Liquitex Gloss Varnish or thin Gloss Medium & Varnish with 5–10% Liquitex Flow-Aid/Water mixture (1 part Flow-Aid to 20 parts distilled water).
  2. Allow to dry 20 minutes to one hour, depending upon environment. While wet, medium will appear slightly cloudy. When dry, medium will be completely clear.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the medium coating is thick enough so that you can peel it off the glass without tearing; 5–12 coats will give you a thickness of 1/16”– 1/8”. Coat successive layers in different directions, horizontal then vertical then horizontal, etc. The thickness of the coating can vary according to your desired effect. Thin layers between 1/32 to 1/16 may be difficult to handle.


Pouring Method:

  1. Use a carpenters level to make sure the glass palette surface is level. If surface is not level poured acrylic medium will run toward lower edge and when dry will be thicker at that edge. Tape around image with masking tape in 4–5 successive layers so that a ridge is built up around image. You are building a dam to contain the poured acrylic medium.
  2. Pour Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish over image. Pour only enough to cover image. You may need several pours to build enough thickness. Spread around with soft brush, if need be, while wet. Pouring thick layers may result in cloudy transfers and shrinkage marks.
  3. Allow to dry completely: 48–72 hours. When medium is completely clear it is dry.

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Soaking Transfer

  1. Razor cut around tape and remove image from glass palette. Submerge in lukewarm water and soak 10–15 minutes. The longer the image is submerged in water the easier it will be to remove the paper from the back of image. Do not soak paper longer than 20 minutes. When submerged in water the clear medium may turn slightly milky.
  2. Remove image from water and using your fingers, gently rub off paper from back of image. Rub off top layer of paper only and submerge image into container of warm water. Repeat steps until only the image remains.

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Drying Transferred Image

  1. Blot with paper or cloth towel. Place flat between layers of wax paper, then paper towel.
  2. Weight top and allow to dry, insuring that image dries flat.

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Adhering Transfer to Support

  • Remove when dry (24–48 hours). Select support that transfer is to be adhered to.
  • Coat the side of the transfer that is to be affixed to the support with either Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish or Liquitex Gloss Gel. Quickly position the transfer onto the support (i.e. canvas) and press.
  • To insure uniform contact, dry transfer under weight. Cover transfer with a sheet of wax to prevent transfer from sticking to weight. Let dry 24 hours.

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Using Liquitex Interference Colours

  1. Follow directions for “Selecting Image” and “Preparing Image for Transfer”.
  2. Mix 5-10% Liquitex Interference Colour of your choice into Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish to produce an interference film.
  3. Follow directions for “Coating Image”.
  4. Follow directions for “Soaking Image”, “Drying Transferred Image” and “Adhering Transfer to Support”.
  5. Interference Colour Transfer will be opalescent.

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Using Liquitex Gel Mediums

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Using Liquitex Texture Gels

  1. Follow directions for “Selecting Image” and “Preparing Image for Transfer”.
  2. Coating Image: Using a palette knife, apply 1–2 coats of Liquitex Natural Sand, Resin Sand or Glass Beads Texture Gel. Apply each coat 1/16”–1/8” thick. If applying two coats, allow first coat to thoroughly dry before applying second coat (approximately 24–48 hours). The thicker the Texture Gel Medium coating the more opaque the final transfer film will be.
  3. Follow directions for “Soaking Image”, “Drying Transferred Image” and “Adhering Transfer to Support”.
  4. A semi-transparent, textured film transfer will result.

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Using Liquitex Fluid Mediums and Texture Gels

  1. Follow directions for “Selecting Image” and “Preparing Image for Transfer”.
  2. Using a soft brush or palette knife mix 5–50% Liquitex Natural Sand, Resin Sand, Glass Beads or Black Lava Texture Gel Mediums into Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish. The greater the percentage of Medium, the more transparent and less textured the final transfer film will be. For example, a Black Lava Texture Gel/ Medium mixture will result in a transfer that is transparent with black speckles. The amount of transparency and black speckles will be influenced by the ratio of Medium to Black Lava. More Medium, less Black Lava = more transparency/less black speckles.
  3. Follow directions for “Coating Image: brushing or pouring methods”.
  4. Follow directions for “Soaking Image”, “Drying Transferred Image” and “Adhering Transfer to Support”.
  5. A transparent-translucent textured film transfer will result.

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Tips and Techniques

  1. Choose an image and affix it to a non-stick surface using tape or a few brush strokes of Gloss Medium & Varnish. This will prevent any buckling of the image.
  2. Using a flat brush or palette knife, apply a thin, even coat of any Liquitex Gloss Gel or Gloss Medium & Varnish (approximately 1/8” thick), completely covering the entire surface of the image.
  3. Allow to dry until the medium is fully transparent. Detach the image from the surface and immerse in water for about 10 minutes until the paper is saturated.
  4. Gently rub the paper off the acrylic sheet with your fingertips or with a soft sponge. Set the transfer aside to dry. (The acrylic medium may become cloudy when wet, but will dry clear.)
  5. When the medium is dry to the touch, the transfer can be permanently attached to any support using Gloss Medium & Varnish or any Liquitex Gel Medium.

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Additional Ideas

An unlimited number of creative applications exist, in addition to fine art. Try placing acrylic transfers onto clothing (such as hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and shoes), decorate household or craft items (ceramic tiles, furniture, lampshades, cups, boxes, pillows, quilts), or even apply to mirrors, windows, or framed glass for stained glass effects.


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