Over the weekend I tried something I’d been wanting to do for a while. I transfered an image using Citra Solv orange cleaner onto wood. A super easy process yielded interesting results.
You can read about doing image transfers using Citra Solv cleaner (a non-toxic, natural cleaner made from citrus oil) all over the web. You can do these transfers onto paper, wood and even cloth, as long as your texture is somewhat smooth. You simply need an image printed from a laser printer or a copy machine that uses toner based ink. That is the important part, otherwise the ink won’t transfer.
Here’s what I used for my experiment:
An old wooden cutting board
Images printed from a laser printer
Citra Solv Concentrated Cleaner & Degreaser
Newspaper to protect your work surface
The images I used for these transfers (as well as many other images) came from The Graphics Fairy. You can also read more about this and other transfer methods there. Chicken Image and French Chocolate Cacao Image.
If you know your printer or copy machine print will work with this method (try smearing the printed ink with oil to see if it smears — a good indication that the ink will transfer), the next step is to make sure the image you want to transfer is flipped backwards — especially if it has any text — before you print it. The transfer will reverse the finished image.
I’d also recommend doing a test print on paper before you experiment with cloth or wood.
Are you ready to try this?
1.) Gather your materials on a protected surface and wear a rubber glove if you are sensitive to the cleaner… it has a strong, concentrated smell.
2.) Carefully place your printout face down on the surface you want to transfer to. You may want to tape it down to help ensure it does not shift while you work.
3.) Wet the corner of a paper towel or rag with the Citra Solv and, using circular motions, rub it directly onto the back of your paper. You should immediately see the image come through the paper. Work quickly (try not to move the paper!) and rub your paper towel around all over until you see the whole print showing through.
Here is where some like to ‘burnish’ the image using the back of a metal spoon for a minute or so to help the ink transfer fully, however, since I was working on wood for this image, I rubbed it again with a dry paper towel and it seemed to work well. You may have to experiment to see what works for you and your materials.
4.) At this point you can gently lift a corner of your paper to peek and see if the image has come thorough. You will be left with an oily stain around your image, but it seems to dry and fade away on most of the paper I tried and on the wood as well.
So a chicken on one side…
…and a lovely french advertisement (for chocolate!) on the other. No reason, I’ll just have two different sides depending on what I’d like to see. I really like how it looks like printed text on the old, weathered wood. I’ll just pretend it’s an antique.
I should note that I DO NOT intend to USE this cutting board for food purposes, only as a decorative item. I DO intend to try this easy transfer method for some other projects, namely on fabric. I’ll let you know how that goes later on.