Traspasar foto al lienzo. Transferring photo to canvas

Transfer image to canvas

Let’s go today with a new technique. Those of you become accustomed to serach  this kind of stuff online aybe you have already seen, it seems to have become populae lately, so I will not be the first nor the last to explain how, but here I tell you our experience .

In this case we will transfer a photo to a canvas. Some might say that why, if it’s easier (and let’s be honest, is better) send it to any photo shop (almost all of them do it), but it’s about exploring the possibilities. Now is canvas, but it could have been any material. Wood for example I have in mind the picture of leap of faith (for fans of Indiana Jones), but it could be anything. And playing with texture and brushstrokes can give different effects. This, as I say, has been a first contact.

Let’s start with the materials:

– Brush, or whatever we want to use to spread the gel.

– Gel Medium. It’s an acrylic substance whose function is to enhance the technical capacity of acrylic paints, but in this case it  “catchs the toner image” to be attached to the stand you choose. It can be purchased at craft stores or fine arts. They are different types, matt, gloss, etc, in my case the one I found was sold specifically for image transfer.

-The  photo you want, laser printed but inverted (now you will see why). And on paper as thin as possible.

– Water.

– Varnish.

– Patience.

Impregnate the image with gel. In my case I gave three passes on the recommendation of the instructions, (I fear that what they want with those instructions is to use more than the necessary amount) waiting for it to dry between each one.

At this point we must keep in mind that the last of the brush will be felt on the bottom so unless you want that effect, you have to be careful not to give wildly past.

In this case gave the strokes horizontally. Care must be taken to cover with a generous layer the complete surface, since at points where is not any gel, we’ll lose that piece of the final image. We can also play with this, as with the order of the strokes when we want to get different results.


As soon as we finish the last coat and before it dries (it dries very quickly, at least the one I have). We place the image face down on the cnvas, hence the need to print in mirror, since the final reproduction will be reversed.

We extend the paper so that there are no wrinkles or bubbles. You see that there have been some bubbles?we have to remove it by hand or helping us with a sponge or cloth. If not, in that area we’ll miss the photo.

Although it’s dry in a couple hours, I noticed that the longer you let it dry was better, so if there’s no rush it’s better to leave even a day.

This is where patience involved. The way to remove the paper on which we print is moistening and rubbing it with your fingers until it disappears, hence I specified that the paper should be as thin as possible, although laser prints are often made as minimum of 80gr paper and in much of the copy shops (if you have no home laser printer) they use 100gr paper.

I think you could easily make it  printing on transparency, since the image will remain in the medium and the acetate will peel off, but I can’t assure you, because I have not tried.

At this point I have to point out how cute this girl was dressed as a bride …


When the paper is wet it’s hard to know if everything is peeled, so despite you  having been a long time scratching, once dried we can find a “veil” of paper still attached.

It’s a matter of keep rubbing and wetting, it ends up taking off, but be careful not to take the falso the gel with the image. You can see in the left and right margins of the picture some imperfections because it raised  the photo and center of the dress is a part that has not sticked well.

Of course, I could have repeated the work to do a perfect job and it will seem that the first time everything is wonderful, but no, this post is to show you the first test with this material, with its successes and failures.



Of course, when something goes wrong, try to take advantage, so to make it appear that stuck defects were purposely sanded other areas of the image.

The idea was to leave blank margins, but there were remnants of paper and had been a little dirty, so I decided to give it a bit of paint. (Though not think it was a big hit).

To protect the table we apply a satin varnish, matt or gloss, as we want, and this is the result:

I encourage you to do the test, in the material you can think of. It can be done, such as a collage, by hand, (without resorting to Photoshop), and if you have kids, they will surely entertain some fun scratching the paper until they see the photo appear as a sticker … but bigger.

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