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Hand Sanitizer for Image Transfer?

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

I have been revisiting various techniques I've tried previously as I am organizing a few binders to hold all my samples.....about time! Hopefully I can remember the process for all these techniques. The binders will be really useful, once I get them finished!

Portrait of a Man by Luca Signorelli

One technique I decided to try again is using a spray hand sanitizer for transferring images to fabric. Several years ago, I saw an art journalling video using this method to transfer an image to a carving block to make a stamp. At the time, I searched the internet, but found no articles or videos using this method for image transfers to fabric. Many were using the gel sanitizer but not the spray.

I decided to try using the spray to transfer to fabric. It worked! The image had a very interesting indistinct, blended quality to it that I thought was fabulous. I concluded the spray blends any colour or shading together. I put the images onto cotton canvas and the texture of the fabric was evident in the transfer.

Dover copyright free image

Looking at these samples, I wanted to try a different fabric for my base. So, into my photos and find an image.....

The process:

Print your image onto an inkjet overhead transparency film sheet with an inkjet printer. Print in either colour or black and white. Just make sure that you print onto the rough side of the transparency otherwise the ink will smudge as soon as you touch it. Also, don't forget to flip your images, particularly if they contain text.

Let the transparency dry, They work best if used within 24 hours. Cut around the image if you are using only a portion of the transparency sheet so you don't waste the whole page. In fact, you can print several images on one transparency and cut them up separately.

Be sure you have your fabric ready, as this works really quickly. Your fabric needs to be washed so any sizing is removed.

Next, spray the image with the spray hand sanitizer and immediately place it, sprayed side down, onto the fabric. Burnish it with your hand, spoon, or bone folder. Hold it in place with one hand while you do this to make sure the transparency does not move. Once you have burnished the whole image, check it by lifting up a corner, while still holding it, to see how the image has transferred. If it has not transferred completely, or as much as you would like, just spray that portion and push it down onto the fabric again. Continue to do this on all portions of the transparency until you are satisfied with the transferred image.

So, I thought I would experiment a bit more today on white cotton muslin.....

My question to myself is always.....Why would I do this rather than just print the image on fabric?

Inkjet printed image

As you can see the printed image is more crisp, whereas the transferred image has more blended colour throughout. It does bring possibilities to mind.

Layering the different images also comes to mind....

Hand Sanitizer transfer

A final note - if you have trouble finding spray sanitizer, look for a liquid (not gel) sanitizer and pour it into your own spray bottle.

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