A person transferring an image onto a wood slice

Alcohol Transfer to Wood Slices

This tutorial will walk you through everything you need to know for transferring an image to the surface of a wood slice. This process can be used for fine art, crafts, and decorative pieces. The possibilities are endless.

What you will need:
Wood Slices
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer
Inkjet print on DASS Transfer Film
Rubber Gloves (optional)

All of the materials listed above are required except for the gloves. However, we recommend using gloves when working with any chemicals since many things in these products could be a skin irritant.

The first and most important thing when performing image transfers is to make sure that the image is printed onto the transfer paper properly. You will always want to flip your image horizontally before printing. This is especially important if your image involves text. If you forget to do this, your image and text will read backward once your transfer is complete.

We always recommend printing more than one copy of the image you plan to transfer. The reason is that image transfers don’t always come out the way we expect them to and they are not 100% guaranteed to work on the first try. This is caused by a combination of the difficulty of the chosen transfer process, the level of experience had by the person performing the transfer, and the environmental circumstances of each transfer. There are many outlying factors that change the way each transfer happens. That being said, no two image transfers are alike. That being said, do not feel discouraged if your transfers occasionally don’t turn out as you expect.

The first step is to cut your image out from the film and leave about a 1/4″ – 1/2″ border around it so you have enough to work with.

We always recommend laying the image with the transfer side down on the substrate so that you can decide where the film needs to be placed.

Before you continue with the next step, we recommend that you read the rest of this tutorial because this process is a fast one. The alcohol will evaporate quickly so there isn’t much time once the process has started.

Next, you can take the Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer and apply some of it to your gloved finger. The amount needed will depend on the size of your surface area so it will vary and you may need to do some test transfers if you are unfamiliar with this process.

Take the Purell and gently rub it onto the surface area where you intend to perform the transfer. You will want to cover the surface with enough that the surface is wet but not wet to the point that your image will blur once placed down. We recommend doing a once over the surface with your finger before putting the image down to ensure that any excess hand sanitizer has been wiped away.

Once the hand sanitizer is on the substrate, count to ten to let the alcohol start to disperse and then place the image carefully straight down onto the surface. Make sure the film is flat on the surface but do not poke or press it with your fingers. If you were to apply pressure too early on, your image could be warped. You will see the alcohol continue to evaporate. After about 45 seconds, you will follow the next step.

Carefully, without moving the transfer film, grab one corner and slowly start to lift it up from the surface. If the image is no longer stuck to the film then that is a good sign. If however, you notice parts of your image are not transferring you can place the film right back down and rub the top of the film in the spots that you need to force the transfer at. Since most of the initial moisture from the hand sanitizer should be gone at this point, it should not blur the image. You may need to lift and then lay the film back down several times before fully lifting it from the substrate.

Once you are confident in the results of your transfer you can remove the film. The surface will still be wet but after a few minutes of drying it will return to its natural wood state. The alcohol will not stain the wood. Once it is dried, your piece will be complete.

Once you have followed all of these steps, your image transfer should be complete.

If you have any questions about this process, please email us. As always, please share your image transfers with us on Instagram by tagging your work with #KCOPrinting.

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