Thursday, February 26, 2015

Packing tape transfer tutorial

I learned this neat technique from another blog post, so I was just going to reference it in another post I'm writing about upcycled journals, but a quick web search showed me it wasn't particularly unique. So I thought I might share a quick tutorial here, as well as my tips I've learned from trial and error. Sorry, there aren't very many photos!

The book page is from an old book of fairy tales & children's stories and I thought it was perfect to decorate this journal cover. It just needed a little embellishment. I found the castle print online and decided to use it.

Here is a link to my Pinterest board that contains some of my favorite graphics. Note: not all of them have a high enough resolution to be suitable for all projects. 

The castle graphic was originally very light, so I uploaded it to Picmonkey and increased the exposure until I was satisfied with the result. Then I saved it to my computer. I opened it in Paint in order to resize it to fit my project. You could probably do this in any number of programs, but Paint seemed to be the easiest for me.

So...find an image you like.

Print that image on a laser printer. Every tutorial online that I find seems to require one. We have one, but if you don't, you might check out your local library - I think ours has one, and they do prints for a small charge - 10 cents for black and white, 25 cents for color. We don't have a color printer, so I may have to stop by sometime and do some color prints to decoupage!

Trim around the image. The less extra paper you have, the less time consuming the process will be.

Cover the image with packing tape. We have a nice extra-wide roll that does the job, but you can use several pieces and lay them side by side. The easiest way to avoid wrinkles is to lay the packing tape out upside down and then place the paper on top of it. 

Trim around the packing tape, but not too much. If you have a long, skinny strip of packing tape it will easily tear.

Soak the paper in warm water until it starts to soften. You can then start rubbing the paper off. The image will remain behind on the tape. Rub all you want, but don't scratch it very much - that starts to remove the image. Make sure you get every last bit of paper off or the image will appear cloudy later.

Be careful how you blot it dry. It will be less sticky than before, but will still easily pick up lint.

Now you can (very carefully) trim closer to the image, if you like.

Ta-da! You now have a fantastic, clear sticker of whatever you like to decoupage on...whatever you like!

Tips: The packing tape wrinkles VERY EASILY when you Modge Podge it. I've tried a number of things, but these ideas seem to work best:

Wet the packing tape slightly. (Or just never dry it.)

Start with a smooth surface on which to decoupage.

Spread a thin layer of Modge Podge on the surface you will adhere it to, and then a thin layer on the packing tape. Lay the image down on the surface. Smooth it, pushing as much as you can of the water/Modge Podge mixture out from under the edges. It'll have a hard time drying under the plastic, so don't leave much under there!

Wait a few minutes, then apply a coat of Modge Podge over the top.

Add successive coats, at your discretion (to help camouflage the tape edges, which really don't show too much.)

And you're done!

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