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Topic: Tutorial: Duct Tape Image Transfers (InkJet)  (Read 9953 times)
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microjivvy
« on: October 17, 2012 02:43:29 AM »



If you’re sitting around puzzling about the basic premise behind image transfers using a InkrJet printer (and, wow, who isn’t), let me put your mind to rest: it’s all about “floating” ink on a non-porous/semi-porous surface and then using some sort of burnisher to transfer that floating ink to a porous surface where it will sink in and dry, effectively “staining” the porous surface.

If you've read my blog, you know I’ve had my issues with image transfers, so when I was working on yet another project requiring a transfer, I decided that until I found a quick and easy transfer method, I would not rest.

Which is, of course, when I realized that the answer to my puzzling was the familiar and comfortable answer to so many of my puzzlings: duct tape.

This realization led me to experiment with a wide variety of tapes (two types of duct tape, clear packing tape, tan packing tape, blue painter’s tape, white artist’s tape), and, frankly, all of them work to a certain degree.

Any of them would do in a pinch. Okay, not the white artist’s tape, but all of the others.

After way too much experimentation, there were three tapes closely ranked as the top performers: 1) Standard Silver Duct Tape (I happened to use 3M brand), 2) Nashua brand Transparent Duct Tape, and 3) Blue Painter’s Tape. These three tapes had the least amount of problem with the ink “beading up” and causing blotches in the transferred image.

The #1 limitation to image transfer by tape is the width of the tape. If you butt strips of the tape together, you end up with tiny strips of no ink (at the butting). If you overlap the tape, too much (and even a little might be too much — this is highly dependent on the image), you end up with hills and valleys of ink making an extra dark or light strip.

Which may be why the blue painter’s tape did not win in this experiment — it works extremely well, but I only had a very narrow roll and quickly became irritated by the inability to print even a small image without attempting to compensate for the “hills and valleys”.

Besides, duct tape is inherently cooler than painter’s tape.

SUPPLIES and INSTRUCTIONS


- InkJet Printer
 - Ordinary Printer Paper
 - Image to be transferred
 - Duct Tape
 - Burnisher (for the most part, I used a wooden tool designed for sculpting clay, but a wooden clothes pin, a credit card, and an acrylic roller also worked)



STEP 1: Print the image(s) you wish to transfer. This gives you a guide for placing the tape and will help with lining up the image when you wish to transfer it to a new surface.

STEP 2: Cover the image with duct tape.

STEP 3: Print the image(s) again, this time on the duct tape covered paper. At this point, I’m compelled to offer two bits of advice and a caution: 1) always leave a border of plain paper (no duct tape) on all edges (particularly the lead edge that feeds into the printer; 2) before placing the duct tape covered sheet of paper in the printer, remove all other paper from the loading bay — this prevents the duct tape (even the non-sticky side) from “grabbing” the paper below it; and 3) Odds are that all InkJet printer manufacturers recommend against running duct tape through your printer… do so at your own risk.



STEP 4: Place the printout, duct tape side down, on the surface you wish to transfer to — in this case, orange and white checked cotton fabric. Hold the paper down with one hand and rub the back of the image with a burnisher of some fashion.

That’s all there is to it. Here are some examples of duct tape image transfers:



Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the duct tape as a quick and easy way to get digital images onto fabric as a pattern for embroidery, needle felting, fabric paints, etc. Sometimes, as with the pumpkin images on the wool blend felt, image adjustments are needed for a solid transfer (in this case, thicker lines).







While both the silver and Nashua transparent duct tape worked well, the transparent tape repeatedly edged out the silver for transferring small details in photographs.



I’m pretty happy with this quick and easy transfer method — after all, who isn’t happy when using duct tape?

All right, one last transfer image:



Now if I could just suss out a way to use WD-40 for image transfers…
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012 12:33:26 PM by microjivvy » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012 04:51:25 AM »

Thank you so much for sharing your experience!!! This is so bookmarked for future use. Thank You MicroJivvy!
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012 05:13:21 AM »

awesome sauce!  thanks so much for sharing this...i'm adding it to my list of things to try Cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012 05:48:35 AM »

Thank you! I'm going to pin this!
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Dr. Craft
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2012 05:57:29 AM »

Fabulous job of explanation. It's great that you clearly explain the "why" in addition to the "what". Thanks so much. I'm definitely going to try. By the way, while in the store a few days ago, I noticed duct tape is now producing sheets (they look close to standard paper size).
As well, have you ever tried using the transparency blanks that used to be used for overhead projectors? Those are made to go through printers and are less porous than paper.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012 06:23:29 AM »

This will totally come in handy!  Thanks for the info!!
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2012 06:37:46 AM »

hey thanks for this great tutorial!  I have also been a bit obsessed with image transfer lately, learning to use gel medium to do it, mostly onto painted layers.

I can't believe how great these look.  I don't have a printer at home and think it might be too dangerous to try putting odd things through the work printer lol.  But I have seen the sheets of duct tape which should work, and those feel a little less crazy to run through a printer.  Must try.

Can't wait to see more projects from you using this method!

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microjivvy
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2012 07:10:40 AM »

duct tape in sheets!  I had no idea. A quick pop around the net and they look a bit pricey ($1-$2 per sheet), but for some projects, it would be absolutely worth it.

@DrCraft: I have not used the image transparency sheets, but being inspired by that method, I tried running a sheet of "shrinky dink" plastic through the printer.  I got some decent results, but the ink really is prone to "beading up" and I had a tough time getting consistently decent results.

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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2012 07:47:46 AM »

What a great tutorial! Thanks so much for the info. I just had to share this on Craftster's Facebook page. Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2012 09:59:18 AM »

Wow! This is both intruiging and extremely useful! And something even european me can try Grin Oh, can't wait for the weekend to give this a go....
Thank you for putting so much effort into the description and instructions!

You just rock Grin
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microjivvy
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2012 10:48:38 AM »

It's somewhat of a relief to know that duct tape is global.   Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2012 11:05:05 AM »

This is awesome. Thanks for sharing!!
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2012 12:05:30 PM »

I am speechless! Awesome results! Thank you for explaining the technique so well! Can't try it out right now, but I need to give it a try one day!
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wwrich
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2012 12:18:18 PM »

I saw a wide variety of regular masking and blue tapes at Dick Blick's in a mind-boggling variety of widths.  I was fascinated by both the extremely narrow and very wide versions, but couldn't justify buying any at the time...

Their web page offers 1.5, 1 and 0.75 inch widths in the blue stuff (http://www.dickblick.com/products/scotch-painters-tape/)  The regular stuff goes up to 3 inches wide. (http://www.dickblick.com/products/masking-tape/)


The 3M page shows pictures of blue tape in what appears to me to be about the same width as duct tape, but nowhere will they divulge the actual widths that might be available.
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microjivvy
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2012 12:42:14 PM »

Thanks for the links -- I do think the blue tape warrants further research, I just couldn't stand to do any more.  Cheesy

ooh, just discovered that amazon has a 3" wide blue tape:  http://www.amazon.com/3M-ScotchBlue-Painters-3-Inch-2090-3T/dp/B001EJMS4M/

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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2012 03:07:42 PM »

Yes!  I think that was one of the ones they had in the store the other day.  Like I said, I couldn't justify buying it, but I did fondle it for a few minutes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2012 03:45:18 PM »

Yeah, I looked at the price then looked at the volume/variety of tape I already have and ... did not one-click...

It was hard, though.  Wink
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« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2012 07:50:38 PM »

This rocks! Thanks so much for sharing!
 Wink
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2012 07:38:18 AM »

thank you so much for putting together such a well done tutorial.  I will need to try this.
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2012 10:00:14 AM »

This is a valuable tutorial for me, as I have a hard time understanding the more complicated image transfer ideas like printing it out on a printer onto fabric, or screen printing. Sometimes I just want a simple way to put something on something else, lol. I will definitely be using this technique, it's very homegrown. Love it!
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« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2012 10:42:21 AM »

This is a superb tutorial. Now if I only had a laserprinter...  Smiley
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microjivvy
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2012 11:47:08 AM »

This is a superb tutorial. Now if I only had a laserprinter...  Smiley

Oh crap... now that you say that... I wonder if my printer is actually an inkjet... I guess I should figure that out.

*crap*

*runs off to figure it out*
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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2012 11:51:50 AM »

Okay, does anyone know what the HP Photosmart is?  I'm thinking it's an INKJET, not a LaserJet...

I'm pretty sure, having had a laserjet in the past, this method wouldn't work at all with laserjet.

But right now I"m having a brain spasm and can't think straight, lol.
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« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2012 12:28:55 PM »

LOL - it's an inkjet.  Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2012 12:31:29 PM »

well that's embarrassing.  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2012 12:33:52 PM »

let me know when you figure it out cause i have a home laser printer that I don't want to destroy  

Edited to Add: I guess I won't be trying this then. 
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« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2012 01:02:55 PM »

I don't think it would destroy the laser jet (I used to do all sorts of horrible things to my laserjet and it was much more robust when it came to handling my torture)... but I also don't think it would work. At all.
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« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2012 03:18:24 AM »

Awesome - I usually use the laserjet/toner method, but am always looking for other ways to image transfer - am bookmarking this!

BTW - is the tape reusable - like if you need to make many transfers, can you run the same sheet through again, after using it the first time?
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microjivvy
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2012 07:42:08 AM »

BTW - is the tape reusable - like if you need to make many transfers, can you run the same sheet through again, after using it the first time?

Yes, I should have mentioned that!  Even if you let it dry (there's always some leftover ink on the tape). squirt a paper towel with window cleaner (water might even work, I just had window cleaner next to my work bench) and wipe off the ink.

I only experimented with one reprint (because for most of them, I was cutting the sheets apart to work with the transfers), so I don't know for certain how long it would last, but I would expect you could get several prints at least...

Who knows? Since it's the Magical/Mystical Duct Tape, maybe one sheet would work Forever and Ever, Amen.  Cheesy
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« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2012 03:24:10 PM »

Amen to that! Cheesy
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« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2012 07:32:31 PM »

That's great! Thanks for the tut!
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« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2012 11:05:07 AM »

I love this , I am going to try this for my wood designs. Thanks so much!!!  Cheesy
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« Reply #32 on: October 29, 2012 01:31:19 PM »

I just saw this one for transferring images to wood.  She used glue instead of tape, but the idea seems about the same...

http://matsutakeblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-transfer-inkjet-images-to-wood.html
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