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Toner Transfer Method


This is a VERY easy technique and perfect for tags (as well as other papers).  Here's how:
Materials needed:
-copies of pictures you want to transfer (Remember they will be mirror images, so words/letters will not work.  Also, you may want to enlarge or reduce your images when copying so they will fit on a variety of target papers.)
target paper (tags, scrap paper, card stock, lg./sm. envelopes, etc.)
-lacquer thinner (32 oz. for $6-8 at hardware store) -- do NOT store this in any other container than the metal can it comes in
-cotton balls
-several layers of scrap paper to place under your target paper (I place these on top of my 12" x 18" cutting mat to further protect my desk)
Note: All copy toner is NOT the same.  My Kinko's has a large self-serve machine (model 5690) that uses the type of toner that transfers best.  All the other machines in the store use a different toner, which does NOT transfer at all!  Laser printers will work, too, so if you have one, you don't have to go to the copy shop.  Fresh copies will work best.
Once you have your image, trim around it.  I trim carefully on some images and leave a wide margin on others.  If the image is surrounded by white space, there's no need to trim carefully (unless you want to use the image to glue onto something after you transfer most of the toner -- this is also a very nice look and I do use some of mine for this).  Consider, too, that if the area around your copied image is noticeable, but still lighter than the image itself, it will transfer to the target as such, almost a halo effect.  This might be a desirable effect on some pieces, not on others.  Keep in mind, too, that you can trim carefully BEFORE you reproduce the image and effectively reduce the amount of cutting time spent on each image before you transfer it.
After the image is trimmed the way you want it, pour a *small* amount (a teaspoon or two for smaller projects) of lacquer thinner into a plastic / glass dish and dip a cotton ball into it.  This stuff evaporates quickly and a 32 oz. can will last a long time if you only pour small amounts each time.  Pour the leftover thinner back into the can when finished.
Place your image face down on the target paper.  Squeeze out MOST of the lacquer thinner from the cotton ball.  Apply the liquid to the back (top surface) of the copy by rubbing the cotton ball over the paper.  If you apply too much, it not only transfers the toner to your target, it then mixes it all up before soaking in and you get a dark blob instead of a mirror image of your picture.  You can determine your progress pretty well as you transfer the image: when you see details come through the top of the copy paper, the toner has been transferred to the target paper.  Copies can often be used with this method a second or third time, depending on how recently they were produced and how much lacquer thinner you use on each application.
If the image does not transfer correctly the first time, it's definitely worth a second attempt.  Keep this in mind for "older" copies (those not freshly made).  Sometimes the first attempt will be a dud, but the second will be beautiful.



That's about it.  You can remove the used Xerox copy immediately after applying the thinner.  The thinner dries almost instantly.  But you should do this technique in a well ventilated area because the fumes are rather potent.  It takes a little experimenting to find out what the right amount of lacquer thinner is (less is better!), so make plenty of copies of your image (s); this way, you won't run out of things to play with before you get the hang of it.
I like to finish my pieces off with gold or silver leafing pen (Krylon is my favorite), maybe a word stamp over the image, some stippling, sometimes glued words from old mags/newspapers.  After all this, I spray the piece with a fixative (Krylon Clear Acrylic).
BTW, you can do this technique with COLOR copies, too, but not on an average (home) color printer - toner must be used in the printing/copying process.  Home color printers use ink but color printers at copy shops use toner.  There have been several excellent articles in Somerset Studio over the last year explaining this process, so go through your back issues!!


This tutorial was contributed by: Anne Rogers
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