Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Be Our Guest: Transfer to Vintage Tray

Be Our Guest

Hi everyone. I'm really excited because this is the second of our Be Our Guest tutorial posts. I'd like to thank Daena from Bad Rabbit Vintage for putting together this week's tutorial, which I know you're going to love. This technique is too cool! I'm so excited to learn it, now I just have to find the right 'project' to try it on.

First, a little about Daena.  Daena is a fellow etsy shop owner living in Southern Oregon. She is also a graphic designer and artist who has fallen in love with painting furniture. The great thing about Daena's passion for painting furniture is that she has used it as therapy and it has helped her fight a rare and aggressive cancer, and she hopes that she can inspire others as she continues on her journey.

Daena lives a happy, creative life on a small farm with her awesome hubby, a dog, a cat, 3 mini horses and a burro (a burro........can you stand it? too cute! as if the mini horses hadn't already upped the cute factor), plus whatever deer, turkeys, bears or coyotes that wander by.
Daena also blogs about all of this furniture painting-as-art-therapy, living with cancer, and shopping. Nix that. And 'junking'.

And now, Daena and her transfer/vintage tray tutorial. This is a must try!
I am so excited to be invited to Mercantile Muse to share a tutorial. This is my first tutorial feature, as well as the first tutorial I've ever done, so bare with me if the photos are a little "beginnerish". 

When I first read about ink jet transfers I was way too excited. I wanted to put a transfer on everything. It's an easy way to get a vintage look on wood, fabric and (so they say) glass. The ink jet-to-glass thing hasn't been a success for me, but I keep trying. For now, let's stick to wood.

PART ONE.  What you'll need: REVERSED print-out from an ink jet printer on transfer film, (laser prints won't work), gel medium, brush (I use sponge brushes), burnishing tool, paint and a surface to transfer onto. I chose a small wooden tray and an old advertising graphic. 

First, I painted the tray to compliment the graphic and let it dry thoroughly.

Don't forget to print your image reversed! For this first example I used transfer film.

Trim your print-out for easier handling.

Spread the medium onto your surface with a light, even touch, as you would spread mayonnaise on bread. Make sure to cover evenly. (Below I'll show you what happens when you have uneven coverage.)

Carefully place your print onto your surface, then burnish firmly with a steady hand, not allowing the image to slide. If you don't have a burnishing tool, the back of a large spoon works, too.

When your image has been burnished onto your surface, carefully peel back a corner of film. If the image is not transferring lay the corner back down and burnish some more. As you can see, not all of my image transferred over. In those spots the medium was either too thick or too thin (this highlights the importance of even application). This is not exact science, this is art. The nature of an ink jet transfer is to look rustic and worn. That is part of the appeal and little hiccups on the transfer are to be expected.

I had a large and very distracting missing area in my transfer. I felt it detracted from, rather than complimented, the design. I decided to paint the missing area back in. I left the smaller spots to add character. It is a vintage ad, after all, but I cleaned up the Louis Vuitton logo since it explains the image.

I added some crackle glaze in the corners and distressed the tray with a bit of sanding.

I used a spray sealer for added protection and the tray was finished! It looks old, weathered and torn. Just as I wanted.

PART TWO: A paper transfer

I forgot to take pictures until I had the image pressed onto my tray. Oops. But the instructions are the same as above, EXCEPT, when you burnish your (reversed) image on to your surface, you leave it to dry overnight. When it is dry you will be able to see a ghost of the image.

Carefully dampen the paper with a sponge, paper towel or your fingers. Then rub carefully in circles until you see balls of wet paper come off and your image gets more clear.

Continue to carefully rub the paper off the transferred ink. Dampen the paper as needed. As the paper dries it will turn white where you haven't removed enough paper. Don't worry about rubbing off part of the image. It's a rustic look we're after.

When you have rubbed off as much paper as you want you can further "distress" your project by adding paint to the image. I used light tan and ivory acrylic paint to create an aged poster look.

When you are satisfied with the image, let it dry overnight. When your project is completely dry I suggest applying at least 3 coats of water-based polyurethane to protect the surface.

When the finish is dry you can sit back and admire your work! Have fun!

Wow! I just think that entire process is so neat. I'm linking this cute video I found on YouTube by chance that shows the second part of Daena's tutorial. This video actually uses a picture printed on laser pictures, so I guess this is a try and see what you get kind of project! It's quick and fun and you can see Daena's tutorial put into action.

Have a super Tuesday. Take time to breathe and be grateful for all the good stuff in your life. I'm thankful for you being here today. 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow, it's the start of our next giveaway! Wahooli! Someone's gonna be a lucky winner.

Peace out


  1. That is SO COOL! I would like to make a lot of things around my home look vintage. I grew up with a lot of antique pieces. My mother and grandmother are avid collectors of the craziest vintage things. My mom has this old glass medicine cabinet full of vintage Tylenol and other remedies from the 1950's and even earlier. Now I've caught the vintage bug.

  2. That is so, so neat! Wonderful tutorial!


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