22 Easy Image Transfer Methods (Photo Transfers)
This is a comprehensive post about Image Transfer Methods and Photo Transfer Techniques! Some of these can be done with Inkjet Printers, some with Laser Printers and some only work with old fashioned toner from a photocopier or copy machines. We covered so many different ways to create this nearly magical process, and we’ve covered all sorts of surfaces, like Furniture, Fabric, Paper, Clay, Wood, Glass and more. While we mainly use graphics for these projects, as we are a graphics site, many of these methods will work with photos too. Time and time again, the question that I get asked most frequently by my readers, is “How can I transfer your images on to _____”. There are numerous Transfer Methods on this blog, and this post attempts to consolidate it all in one place so that you can easily find the method that you want to use for your particular project. Below you will find links to 23 different ways to Transfer onto pretty much any type of material. We are always trying out new products and new techniques on this site, so I have updated this post to include the new ones. I hope you find it helpful!
How to Transfer Onto Furniture
How to Transfer Typography onto Furniture : This is a two part written Tutorial showing how to blow up your image really big, using a free program, and an easy cheap transfer method, so that you can paint your image on large or small pieces of Furniture, Walls or Signs. Great for painted wood pieces or natural wood.
How to Transfer an Image onto Furniture Video Instructions : This is the Video version of the original Furniture Transfer Tutorial that I created several years ago. My friend Candice is great on Video and she kindly put this Tutorial together! The Video will show you instructions for how to blow up your image really big, using a free program, and an easy cheap transfer method, so that you can paint your image on large or small pieces of Furniture, Walls or Signs. Great for painted wood pieces or natural wood. Works best with simple designs like many of theFrench Typography Printables that I offer here on my blog.
Transferring onto Fabric
The Citra Solv Method : This method uses a cleaning product called Citra Solv. This one works well with Fabric projects, like Towels, Pillows, Chair Seats and Lampshades. This method will give you a slightly faded, slightly imperfect, transfer for an old world look.
The Iron On Method: In this Tutorial I show you how to do an Iron on Transfer, using my favorite Transfer Paper. I consider this brand to be the “Holy Grail” of Transfer Papers, as it completely blows away the other stuff out there. If you’ve tried doing Iron Ons in the past, with crappy results, you will love this stuff! Great for any Fabric Projects. Great for Image transfers or Photo transfers.
Printable Fabric Sheets Learn how to use precut Printable Fabric Sheets that are made specifically to be used in your Home Ink jet Printer. (Printable Canvas Sheets are another alternative) Fun and easy!
Printing on Fabric: This technique shows you how to cut out the middle man, and print directly onto fabric, with your home printer! For those of you that sew (or don’t mind gluing your projects) this is a really fun method!
The Iron On Method: In this Tutorial I show you how to do an Iron on Transfer, using my favorite Transfer Paper. I consider this brand to be the “Holy Grail” of Transfer Papers, as it completely blows away the other stuff out there. If you’ve tried doing Iron Ons in the past, with crappy results, you will love this stuff! Great for any Fabric Projects.
How to Transfer onto Paper
Transfer an Image to Paper Perfect for Junk Journal artists, collage artists and mixed media artists. You’ll learn how to lay an image directly onto paper, cardboard or bold books, to create gorgeous effects with this fun method.
Acrylic Paint Technique If you are a crafter you probably already have the supplies for this one in your craft room! Rebecca walks us through these simple steps for acrylic transfers, to add pictures to paper. She demonstrates on some cute paper gift tags.
Printing on Paper Bags Did you know that you could print on paper bags with your home inkjet printer? Learn how to make some cute custom bags, that are perfect for Holiday party favors and more.
Transferring onto Glass
DIY Packing Tape Transfers: This is a superfast and fun Technique! This works great with Glass, and although, we haven’t tried it, some of readers have mentioned that it’s good for shiny Ceramic pieces too! The effect is similar to a decal, so best used on Decorative pieces only, like Votives and Vases etc.
Clear Contact Method: Learn how to use Clear Contact Paper to transfer Color Images onto Glass!Similar to the Packing Tape method, only you can do larger pieces since the Contact Paper is so much bigger! Easy and fun!
Transferring onto Wood
Using Water Slide Decals Make some adorable Bee themed wood Coasters with Diana, as she walks you through the steps of using water slide decals. Such a cute idea! Use the Free printable provided or just follow the instructions to transfer photos onto wood that you took yourself, to make your own unique creations. You can purchase decals for inkjet image transfers or laserjet ones, just make sure that you buy the appropriate product for your home printer.
The Wax Paper Method: I have yet to try this method, but it looks amazing! The only supplies you need are your Printer and a piece of Wax Paper and the super simple Tutorial from Angela at Unexpected Elegance! I’ve seen this one used on Painted and Natural Wood and Painted Metal.
The Projector Method: Marian from Miss Mustard Seed shares her Sign Making secrets, using an Overhead Projector to transfer images onto wood! This method can be used for Painted or Natural Wood.
Transfers onto Clay
Transfer onto Clay Pots Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage came up with this simple and innovative way to transfer an image onto a Clay Flower pot.
Easy Clay Image Transfer: You’ll find this one over on my pal Johnnie’s blog! She’ll walk you through the steps of Image and Photo Transfers onto Polymer Clay so that you can make the cutest Vintage Image Jewelry ever!
Multi Surface Image Transfer Methods
The Omni Gel Method: In this Tutorial I explain how to use a liquid substance called Omni Gel, to transfer images onto Tumbled Marble Tiles for Coasters. I’ve also used this on Painted Wood.
Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium: In this Tutorial I test out a new product by Mod Podge made specifically for image or Photo Transfers. There’s also a Printable and a fun DIY Project for making your own customized Furniture Knobs! This Medium works great for Small Wood Projects or Light or Dark Fabric Projects.
Image Transfer Product Comparison: In this post Rebecca compares 3 popular products used for this technique. Lots of great info here and you’ll be able to see all of the results! The comparison includes Matte Medium, Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium and a product by Deco Art.
How to Make Gel Medium Transfer Skins Rebecca teaches us how to make Skins from Gel Medium that can be applied to a variety of surfaces.
Gold Leaf Technique Combine Transfers with Gold Leaf for stunning results! Heather will walk you through this process to create a gorgeous Antique Typography Sign.
More Info on Transfers
How to Mirror Image: Learn how to easily Mirror Images in Paint! You probably already have this free program installed on your PC.
Top Tip for Transfers: This is a great post to read before you get started! This tip will save you some headaches and frustration!
Favorite Transfer Products: These are my favorite all time Transfer Products rounded up into one place.
Well hopefully that will clear things up and you will find lots of inspiration for your projects. Feel free to grab my Transfer Printablesto use in your DIY projects. Have fun working with Image Transfers and Photo Transfers!
Be sure and check out our Premium Membership site HERE, for loads of PNG images, with transparent backgrounds, these types of images are perfect for Transfer Projects!
And if you really want to dive in and do professional looking transfers, check out our amazing Online Image Transfer Workshop with Heather Tracy HERE!
Kim @ One Peoject Closer says
Really nice collection of articles. I haven’t done any art transfers yet, but the two examples you gave are fabulous. Now we need to find somewhere to work the concept into our house!
First time I’ve visited your site. Awesome!
Karen- The Graphics Fairy says
Anonymous, For mirror you would want to use the same method as for glass. So try #9.
What is the best way to transfer an image to a mirror? Thanks!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Debra
Thanks so much Karen – you’re a doll!! Just ordered my CitraSolv (not easy to find over here in the UK and very expensive when you do!!!) but looking forward to trying out all these great methods. Thanks also for the wonderful graphics you share.
Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says
Love it! Now I can get rid of all my bookmarks and just use your post- thank you!
La Miette bricole says
Merci Karen pour ce superbe travail, bises de France, Miette
Karen- The Graphics Fairy says
Wow, thanks so much for all the nice comments everyone! I’m so glad that you guys are finding this useful!
Rosemary, You are so welcome. Your project is so lovely!!
Suzanne, Yes, please post it here in the comments! I have one of those tools, but haven’t had much success with it. I could use a Tut for that!
Regina, Thanks for sharing this! I really appreciate it!
Misty Meadows says
I have spent many hours perusing the net looking for this information. But I just ended up frustrated, and there sits my projects!!
Wow, what a wonderful listing! Thank you 🙂
Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says
I’ve seen your other posts, Karen, but I’m glad you put it all together in one. This will not be saved in my Favorites so I can access it easily for the tutorials. Thank you! : )
[email protected] says
Thanks for mentioning my transfer method, Karen. I’ll have to check out some of the others.
Your information is just fabulous. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Not only do you provide the world with the most beautiful images, but now you also generously give your time to help others in finding tutorials for transferring your gorgeous images!
You have my great appreciation and my thanks!
You are wonderful! Thank you so much!