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Our Top 5 Recommended Books about Image Transferring and Alternative Printing Processes

Photo of Books on a blurred background with Mark Twain figure

Finding literature that is helpful and inspiring to artists wishing to pursue alternative digital printmaking is important. The perfect art guide book is one that not only teaches you the ropes but gives you the knowledge base needed to excel in any given subject matter. Even more important is having the ability to go off on your own and experiment by combining your own previous knowledge with that of which you have just learned. In this article, we will share with you our top 5 recommended image transfer books. We have ranked them from 5 to 1 with 1 being the most recommended.

5. Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes: Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques (Alternative Process Photography) 2nd Edition

We recommend this book because it walks you through traditional image-making methods while introducing modern techniques in printmaking. Some older techniques can be swapped out for newer techniques using computer software and this book does a fantastic job of showing this. Learn how to combine digital manipulation techniques with traditional photographic processes to create work that pushes the boundaries of image-making.

4. The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition

This book is on our recommended list because we feel that having a strong foundation in traditional image-making will help inform you when you are creating works with newer techniques made possible by recent improvements in technology. In the modern era, it can be quite refreshing to find yourself in a dark room and mixing materials in ways of the past. Combining these methods with modern ones can be powerful as there is so much room for exploration.

3. The Last Layer: New methods in digital printing for photography, fine art, and mixed media (Voices That Matter)

This is one of the books written by Bonny Pierce Lhotka who is a pioneer in the image transfer and alternative print community. This book is a great reference that includes details on new methods in alternative printing techniques. This is one of three books by Bonny which are all recommended by us!

2. Digital Alchemy: Printmaking Techniques for Fine Art, Photography, and Mixed Media by Bonny Pierce Lhotka

Digital Alchemy is another book by Bonny Pierce Lhotka and is perfect for someone just getting started in alternative printing techniques. She goes through step by step, explaining safety, materials, and methods. Be prepared to get supplies and really start experimenting with the multiple methods available. This is a great read and will be sure to inspire you with the examples provided within this book. You can really tell Bonny is an expert and you will feel as though you have a mentor right beside you to help!

1. Hacking the Digital Print: Alternative image capture and printmaking processes with a special section on 3D printing (Voices That Matter)

Hacking the Digital Print is for those of us who read Digital Alchemy and just couldn’t get enough! Bonny goes into further detail in this book as she shows you have to make your own tools to create your images. Going way beyond our imaginations, she introduces 3D printing techniques as well. This is truly an inspiring read that you must have. This book will surely get the gears turning in your head as you think of all of the possibilities these techniques will bring to your work. Be ready to experiment. Even Bonny herself says “Don’t bother reading this book unless you’re ready to get your hands dirty.”

We hope this article has helped you find the next excellent read on alternative print techniques. We know that all of the information found in these books is so valuable and will keep you preoccupied for weeks, months and maybe even years. These books aren’t something you read once and put on a shelf. They are a tool that you can revisit from time to time when you need to brush up on a technique or research ways to complete your next creative project.

Do you know of any other amazing books that we didn’t talk about? We want to hear about them! Comment below to let us know about these or what you think of the books we included in our list!

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Holiday Gift Ideas Using DASS Transfer Film: Alcohol Transfer to Wood

Alcohol Transfer to Wood Banner

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Making handmade gifts for your loved ones can be a fun and rewarding process. Receiving a unique and personalized item can feel amazing and really add to a gift recipient’s holiday cheer. This tutorial is part of a DIY holiday gift idea series where we teach you different methods of using Inkjet Prints on DASS Transfer Film. Today, we will show how to perform the alcohol transfer, which is great if you are a beginner.  Once you complete this transfer method and decide you are looking for a challenge, we recommend trying the super sauce transfer.

Preparing the Images for Transfer: Images must be printed to DASS Transfer Film using an Inkjet Printer. Through our company, Kirkpatrick & Co. Specialty Printing, we can print your images to this film for you. Order your print today.

If you have your own inkjet printer, make sure that you flip your image horizontally before printing. If you don’t, your image will be flipped the wrong way when you transfer it. Also be sure that the ink is printed on the rough/textured side of the DASS Transfer Film. 

Think about how you want your images to be presented. Will it be a wood ornament? They have wood slices pre-drilled with holes on Amazon which would be perfect for this! You could even make a wood block that hangs on the wall. 

Alcohol Transfer to Wood (Beginner Skill Level)

Materials Needed:

 Alcohol Transfer to Wood
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer
Rubber Glove
Inkjet print on DASS Transfer Film

Transfer Directions

  1. Since this application does not require a brush, we suggest that you wear a rubber glove to avoid getting splinters. Using a gloved finger, apply the hand sanitizer evenly to the surface of the wood. If there is too much, the image will run and if there is too little, the image won’t transfer.
  2. Quickly position your print face down above your wood surface and once you have it lined up, lay it straight down onto the surface. Avoid rubbing the print as it can blur your image. Just make sure it has made full contact with the wood surface. 
    DASS Transfer Film laying print side down onto the Purell covered wood surface. Gloved finger gently applying pressure to make sure that the print has made full contact with the wood surface
  3. After letting it set for about 30 seconds, slowly begin to peel the film back at one corner. If the image has transferred to the wood, keep removing the film. If it is still stuck to the film, press it back down. Then try again until it is ready. If it refuses to transfer, that may mean you did not apply enough Purell hand sanitizer to the surface. If this happens and your print is not damaged or unusable, apply more Purell and try again. If not, you will need to get a new print and start over. 
    Hand slowly peeling the DASS Transfer Film up from the wood surface. Hand slowly peeling the DASS Transfer Film up from the wood surface.
  4. At this point, let your transfer dry for at least 6 hours before spraying it with a protective finish. Leaving the extra time will make sure that your image has set into the wood. At first, the wood will look dark because it is wet. Once it dries, the color will go back to normal. 
    Image transfer immediately after the DASS Transfer Film has been removed. The wood is still wet and looks darker. The image after it has successfully been transferred. It is still wet and needs to dry.
  5. Once the wood has dried you will want to put a protective finish on it. We recommend using Krylon Crystal Clear spray.
    The image transfer after the wood has dried.

This is the end of the first tutorial in our holiday gift idea series. Our next tutorial will teach you how to complete the super sauce transfer. Consider signing up to get notified when it is out! You can also see all of the posts from this series here.

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Transferring Your Images to Metal Surfaces with SuperSauce

Inkjet Prints Transferred to Aluminum

Here you will find the steps needed to complete the Super Sauce Transfer Method to a metal surface. This tutorial will show how to transfer an image to an aluminum sheet metal which is a non-porous surface.

Creating the Transfer Solution: The Super Sauce mixture will need to be made using the following directions.

Ingredients: 4 oz 91% isopropyl alcohol (must be 91%)
1 TBS supersauce gloss concentrate

Mix these two ingredients in a mason jar. Let the jar sit for at least 6 hours, periodically shaking the jar vigorously during that time.

Preparing the Images for Transfer: Images must be printed to DASS Transfer Film using an Inkjet Printer. Through our company, Kirkpatrick & Co. Specialty Printing, we can print your images to this film for you. Order your print today.

If you are printing the image yourself, It is important to be sure that the image is flipped horizontally before it is printed because once the image is transferred, it will flip back. This is especially important when text is involved.

A good metal to start with will be the one shown below.

Performing the Image Transfer:

Step 1: Rub the metal gently with a scrubby pad and spray the surface with degreaser.

Step 2: After leaving the degreaser set for a minute, rinse it off in the sink and dry it with a paper towel.

For Step 3 (Please note this is only really needed when using the Gloss concentrate and non porous surfaces; example: metal). I use a 1:1 ratio mixture of the Supersauce Concentrate and water. So for example take one table spoon of the SuperSauce Concentrate (WITHOUT THE ALCOHOL mixed in) and take one table spoon of water and mix them together. You will apply this to your surface with a brush and let it dry. Then you can continue on to the next step.

Step 4: Tape the surface to the table below and then tape the film with the print side down to the table, ensuring that the print is lined up properly to the surface.

Step 5: Using a brush, apply the super sauce mix evenly to the surface. If there is too much, the image will run and if there is too little, the image won’t transfer. It’s a good idea to do a practice transfer first. Kirkpatrick & Co. Specialty Printing can print test prints for you to practice with. Email us for a quote! Do not wash off the brush in a sink. The Super Sauce mixed with water will cause issues with the plumbing. Instead, put the brush in a cup filled with isopropyl alcohol and cover it with plastic wrap so that the brush can be kept for future use. After letting the super sauce sit for 1 minute, move on to step 6.

Step 6: Flip the film down so that the image is print side down on the surface. press lightly to ensure that the film is making contact with the entire piece. After 3 minutes, move on to step 7.

Step 7: begin to lightly pull up on the bottom corner of the film. If the image has stuck to the surface, continue to remove the film carefully. if it hasn’t transferred, put the film back down and press lightly. Repeat this process until the entire image has transferred to the surface. This step should take about 2 minutes.

Step 8: Once the image has been transferred, it takes two days for it to dry and cure. Once two days have passed, spray the piece with crystal clear fixative. For this, we highly recommend using Krylon Crystal Clear spray.