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Topic Transfer Image Onto Metal Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By VoodooToaster On 06/20/03  

Does anyone know of a good way to transfer an image onto metal?

By ursonate On 06/20/03  

I'd been wondering about that myself. There is some photo etching method, but I never got that deep into the research. There is a way to transfer an image onto gel medium or fluid sculpey and then attaching that to the metal. Depending on the image and the surface, silkscreen would probably work too.

By VoodooToaster On 06/20/03  

Liquid Sculpey sounds feasible, thanks. I'm still curious about silkscreening for metal, but can't find any info online.

By badriya On 06/20/03  

I know of a technique that actually just uses a photocopied image usually onto copper, but I haven't tried it myself--there was a write up of the process in the June 1998 Lapidary Journal but their online archives aren't free. Maybe a google search on metal photoetching would turn something up?

By appledog On 06/20/03  

ok I have done this two ways using acrylic transfers.

The first way is kind of tricky and involves taking your image (preferably on clay-coated paper---like a magazine image), spreading a lot of acrylic gloss medium (like liquitex acrylic gloss medium)on the imgae, and then smoothing it out onto the metal surface. Once it dries, you just rub the back of the paper with a wet cloth and it peels off. That's the tricky part---getting the paper off without scratching the transferred image. It can end up looking kind of distressed, which can be cool.
(if you've ever used a medium like Plaid Picture This! to transfer an image onto fabric you've pretty much done the same thing with wetting the paper and geting it off.)

The other mathod is (in my opinion) easier, but it requires mad polymer transfer skills. If you spread the acrylic medium on the front of the image (in maybe two or three good layers) and let it dry, you can rub the paper right off, leaving the ink from the image embedded in the gloss medium. With great care you can produce a perfect transfer: sort of like a transparency, but soft and pliable. You can stick the transfer to the metal suface like a decal using a little more acrylic medium---because the tranfer is even more flexible than a piece of paper, it can conform easily to the curve of a can or a ridged surface---you can even stretch it out and distort it.

I hope that wasn't too confusing. I'm sure there is other information on the web about polymer transfers that can explain it better than I. This technique is usually used by artists for a mixed-media or collage element.

By BubbleDragon On 06/21/03  

Appledog, that was a wonderful write-up! Thank you so much! I hadn't even thought of doing this until I browsed the thread!

There's also a way you can transfer images to clear contact paper, much the same way. I've done it before and gotten some fun results, so I may have to try this to see what else I can stick it to.


By ursonate On 06/21/03  

I'm thinking Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant) silkscreens some of his work on metal, but I could be mistaken. Oh, if I weren't too lazy to actually look it up...

By flipper On 06/21/03  


Can you elaborate on the contact papaer transfer????

Transfer lover -Flip

By BubbleDragon On 06/22/03  


It's real simple!

Cut out the picture you want from a magazine. The shiny sort of pictures are the only kind I've tried, and I'm told that black and white is best, because then you can put a nifty colored background behind it.

1.) Cut out picture
2.) Stick picture side to sticky side of contact paper
3.) Get a mechanical pencil, and rub on the plastic side of the contact paper until all those little white air bubbles are out. Not just the big ones, but the ones that make it look faded -all of them!
This is the most important part, because anything that doesn't touch the adhesive part won't get transfered.
4.) Fill a shallow pan with hot tap water. (Doesn't need to be boiling, just as hot as your tap gets.)
5.) Put contact paper covered picture in water, so the paper backing is facing up.
6.) Let it sit for about 3 to 5 minutes, then gently peel the paper from the contact paper. I find it best to sort of rub my finger against the paper until it balls up off of the contact stuff. You want to get everything up, and the end result will sort of be transparent.
Things to watch out for is not to 'scratch' or rub to hard, because it'll rub or scratch the adhesive from the contact paper, and the adhesive is what holds the ink picked up from the picture.

I found out how to do this on the CraftGrrl livejournal community, and I've done it a few times since. I store them on those page protectors for notebooks, as they still have somewhat of a stick to them.

Haven't found much of a use for them yet. I've been decorating notebooks, and stuck a few to my wall - lol. The stick is just enough that you can remove it and replace it sorta like window clings. :o)

Have fun, and post if you get pictures!

By flipper On 06/22/03  


Kick Ass! Thanks for such an in-depth description. I will give it a try....

By meguiar On 06/22/03  

I found this on the HGTV website:

Basically, you sand your metal, clean it with alcohol to remove any oil, brucsh Pebeo Vitrea 160 gloss medium glass paint over it in both directions, press your color photocopy into it, press out any bubbles, let dry, then bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Then you soak it to remove the paper, then apply clear finish.

I definately want to try this method - I went to the guest's website,, and the metal transferred objects that she had made look great! She also does glass transfer using the same method: >,1789,HGTV_3352_1820442,00.html

Anyway, hope this helps and good luck!

mary i

By ursonate On 06/22/03  

Oh, that's that glass medium that I could'n't remember the name of in some discussion ages and ages ago!

gromcocontact infofreelance bbs