I recently brought home several cabinet doors from our local home salvage store. I wasn’t sure at the time what I would do with them, but at just a couple of dollars each, I decided I couldn’t pass them up.
Weeks later I found myself dusting those cabinet doors off with the intention of creating some seasonal art to sell in my booth at Camas Antiques using Artisan Enhancement’s Image Transfer Gel. I discovered a few copyright free vintage images I loved on The Graphics Fairy website and began to devise a plan!
The first step was to choose the images that would fit well on each door. I emailed the images and the sizes I needed to the UPS store. I asked them to print a reverse image of the graphics that had text on them. Image Transfer Gel works only with laser printed images. Most businesses use laser jet printers, but I learned the hard way that you can’t always assume so. Be sure to clarify that your images are being printed on a laser jet printer when you order prints for image transfer.
Once I had my prints in hand, I chose the paint colors for the doors that I thought would best compliment each image. For the “Winter Girl” that I am sharing in this tutorial, I layered
I then trimmed the image so that it fit exactly onto the raised part of the door where I wanted it transferred to.
With my standard paint brush, I brushed on an even coat of Transfer Gel where I wanted my image to be.
I immediately laid out my printed image, face down onto the wet Transfer Gel, smoothing out any air pockets with my fingers. Once the paper is completely adhered to the surface, it must dry for several hours. I find that it works best to let it sit overnight.
The next day I wet the back of the paper with a damp sponge and began to carefully and slowly work away the paper pulp with my fingers.
It’s important to know and remember that the image is supposed to sit on top of the Transfer Gel, so if you rub too hard and rub away the gel, you will also rub away the image. I strongly recommend practicing this process once or twice on a sample board before attempting to transfer an image onto a surface that you have gone to a lot of work to prepare. As tempting as it may be, don’t use the scrubby side of that sponge to remove the paper! Just roll the paper pulp gently with your fingers, and do your best to be patient with this process. It will be well worth your effort!
I took several breaks during the paper removal process, allowing the leftover pulp to dry now and then so that I could see which areas still needed work without going back over places that were complete. Eventually the image dried and there were no more cloudy white areas.
I did end up with a few spots where I overworked the surface and rubbed away a bit of the image. I actually didn’t mind it and added a bit more of that wear intentionally around the edges to make it look as if the image had been painted on the door ages ago and was naturally worn and distressed.
I decided to do add a little gold to the recessed area of the door to offset and frame my image. I applied Artisan Enhancement’s Leaf and Foil Size to the areas where I wanted to see the gold. This product is extremely sticky and not easy to wash out of brushes, so I have designated this small brush specifically for Leaf and Foil Size.
After waiting about 20 minutes for the Leaf and Foil Size to set up, I cut a strip of ArtisanEnhancement’s Brushed Gold metallic foil and laid it over the Size, shiny side up! Let me say that another way, because people have a tendency to do this the wrong way. Put the dull side of the foil down onto the tacky Leaf and Foil Size.
I then used a dry paint brush to burnish the foil into place.
Next, I peeled the foil away to reveal a lovely stripe of Brushed Gold. Because I wasn’t absolutely precise with the application of the Leaf and Foil Size, I ended up with a bit of gold in a few places where I didn’t want it. I was happy to find that it wiped off easily with a damp cloth.
The areas that I wanted to remain gold then needed to be sealed. I chose Artisan Enhancement's Clear Topcoat because I wanted an overall matt finish on my board. If I would have been looking for a shinier, glossy finish I would have used Artisan Enhancement's Clear Finish. With my Top Coat brush, I applied a very thin layer of Clear Topcoat over my entire board, including the transferred image and gold foil. The following day I brushed on one more quick, light layer of Clear Topcoat and my cabinet door turned Christmas art was complete!
Obviously this project could easily be created for any time of year. In fact, even a laser jet printed copy of an actual photograph could be transferred onto a prepared board for a very unique and special way to display family memories! What a wonderful idea for a handmade gift!
I just had to include this piece in my post as well because I loved how it turned out. This cabinet door needed another element in addition to the image transfer.
Using a beautiful stencil from Artisan Enhancements and their VP Antico product, I created a raised relief and accented it with a tiny bit of brushed gold foil. I walked through the process of creating a relief with a stencil and VP Antico in my Artful Storage post if you would like to read more about that technique.
This was such a fun project and one I can’t wait to do more of! With a discarded cabinet door, any laser printed image and a few great art mediums from Artisan Enhancements, you can create your own unique work of art! Consider the possibilities!
Now, go create something beautiful!
Disclosure: This is an Artisan Enhancements sponsored post, however the opinions and ideas expressed here are mine and I will only ever promote products that I enjoy using and feel may benefit my readers.
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