I just had someone come to my site asking about how I did my transfers, so I thought I would share the email I just sent to her.
You can get a good look at the final results by going here:http://www.supah.com/big2/oldfolks.html
Ok! I'll let you in on my technique, it's VERY inexpensive, and easy-though your fingers get a little tired.
What you need is acrylic medium- doesn't matter if it's gloss or matte, just that it's gloppy and thick. I'm currently using some type of liquitex, then some photo copies (I actually used the ones from work for the old folks- i'm sure they wondered why I had made a million copies of old people) anyhow-- you want laser photocopies on regular old office paper.
Then, take the medium and glop it all over your photocopy, if you want to cut out the background- you should do it before you glop the stuff on (obviously)- cover every inch in an even thick layer of the stuff. Then apply it to the canvas- face down. You then take something flat to get out air bubbles (you'll see what I mean when you try it for the first time) I like to run something like a jar lid down the center and then out to the sides (you'll have some medium coming out from the edges). Then- you allow it to dry. Once it's dry, take some water (I use a spray bottle that I use to spray my plants) and start scratching away at the paper- I use my fingernails, a little bit of pressure is fine, but if you rub too hard you can destroy the transfer. Once you get most of the paper off, you might see a haze of paper left over- sometimes i'll get the rest off by rubbing it off, sometimes i'll use some of the medium mixed with a little bit of water and the paper kind of disappears. There you have your transfer! You are basically floating the photocopy in medium.
You can also put layer after layer after layer of medium (allowing to dry inbetween layers) on a photocopy and instead of applying it onto a canvas, just take the paper off to have a translucent transfer.
It's a technique that an instructor at the school of the art institute of chicago taught me, and I've been using it ever since.
The old folks were all found in a church directory from like 1982- they were only like an inch tall to start with, so once you blew them all up they were really really cool. The finished size was way above the paper size, so what i did was tile the photocopies to get the larger size. Everyone i showed them to thought they looked a little worhol-ish.
As you may know, it's never recommended to use acrylics over oils-but the great thing for you is that you can start out with this technique and then oils are fine over acrylics!
I hope my directions are clear. It's really easy, but like i said, your fingers get tired-if you work smaller to start, it might be some help. All of this works with certain color prints as well, the ones that are not water based should work fine. Also, if you want to do straight out collage- the medium is an excellent adhesive, you still will need to get out the air bubbles. If the thought of putting a lot of pressure (rubbing the paper off) on a stretched canvas makes you cringe, you can do these transfers onto a wood base like this one washttp://www.supah.com/shop/_op_youarebeautiful.html
, or do this on unstretched canvas and then put it on a stretcher frame.
Let me know if you have any questions!