Polymer Clay Image Transfers with Gin

©2002 - 2007 by aisling d'art

Many of us are always looking for new, better, and innovative ways to include images in our art.

After Artfest 2002, there was a lot of buzz about using gin as the alcohol of choice, for image transfers to polymer clay. (The subject came up during one of my classes, when I objected to the archival risks related to some solvents.)

When I returned home, I was eager to experiment with gin on a Premo project I'd had in mind.

My earliest results:

Image 1 is the back of each of the pages/covers. I used black, pearl, and a little translucent Premo, mixed with the pasta machine.

Image 2 is inside one cover, where the lining layer of Premo was an imperfect mix of Pearl and Translucent. Yes, the translucent turns out really clear but kind of yellow-y. (It looked well-blended before it was baked. That was today's first lesson!)

Image 3 is the inside of a cover, lined with translucent. Yes, it's an icky color. Ignore that; this was an experiment. On that cover you can see one very good image transfer, and (maybe, if you have sharp vision) one that didn't work.

The process is simple: Print whatever you want on paper with your laser printer or photocopier. Inkjet images do not work (you may see a very faded attempt towards the top of Image 3). Remember to reverse the image, as the final version will be backwards from what you see on the paper.

Place the printed image face down on the uncooked--but otherwise prepared--Premo (or Fimo, or Sculpey) polymer clay. Rub the back of the paper with a gin-soaked towel, until the paper is saturated. Burnish with a spoon. Let it sit for a few minutes.

Remove paper. You can gently remove any remaining paper with the gin-soaked towel, but if you rub too hard, it'll start smearing the image.

Bake the clay as usual. The image is now permanently part of the clay.

-another set of transfers, with gin-
mini-shrine bookcovers: "art as alchemy"

For more information about gin transfer to polymer clay, visit BearingBeads.com, where the technique started.

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