Mod Podge is an acrylic-based glue and sealant that can also be used to make transfers. It is odorless and non-toxic, and is waterproof when dry. Like acrylic paints, it is water-soluble, so clean-up is easy. You can use Mod Podge to make transfers onto different surfaces. Some kinds of transfers can be done instantly; others require you to wait while the Mod Podge dries.
Instant Transfers to Cloth or Paper
Select your image and digitize it by scanning, if it isn't already in your computer. Print it out on a desktop printer on glossy paper. Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on a piece of cotton cloth. Lay the photo print face down on the moist cloth and press it lightly into the Mod Podge. Wait 45 seconds. Lift the edge of the photo to see if the transfer is complete. If it is, loosen all four corners, then gently lift the photo off the cloth. The emulsion on the paper should transfer to the cloth.
Transfer to a Gel Skin Layer
Make a color or black and white photocopy of your image. Brush a layer of Mod Podge onto the image. Let it dry. Brush another layer on and let that layer dry also. Turn the paper over and lightly mist the back of the paper with water until the paper is soaked. Use your fingers to gently rub the paper off the backing off the gel transfer. You may need to spray again to get it off. You can then use Mod Podge to attach this gel skin to paper or canvas.
Direct Transfer to Wood
Coat the wood piece with Mod Podge. Lay a photocopied image face down on the wet Mod Podge. Allow it to dry. Wet the back of the paper with water and rub the paper backing off the image. You can coat again with Mod Podge and/or paint the image with acrylic paint.
Transfer to Tiles
Make a photocopy of your image. Cut it to a size a bit larger than the tile. Coat the image with Mod Podge and put it face down over the tile. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to make sure the image is in good contact with the tile. Let it dry thoroughly. Wet the back of the paper with water and rub the paper off. Work from the center out to avoid tearing the image. Transfering to tiles is a bit trickier, as they're less porous than wood or paper, but with patience, you can do it.
Shannon Stoney holds a B.A. in English and comparative literature from Princeton University, as well as an M.F.A. in visual art from the Maine College of Art. She has been a fiber artist since 1985 and a fine artist since 1998. Stoney is also a writer and editor, with work published in magazines such as "Cite," "Spin-Off" and "Permaculture Activist."