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Gel Transfer

Applications & Techniques:
Gel "Skins" with Patti Brady, Director
Working Artists Program

Gel transfers are a great way to create translucent images that can be incorporated into your artwork as a collage element. Once you get the basic concept down, you can go off in all sorts of directions with these transfers.
A gel transfer derives its name from the transfer of an image from paper onto the surface of acrylic gel. Before we get started: this is a rather experimental process, no guarantees. You will have to play around to find out what works for you.

Gel "Skins" with Image Transfer

Step 1. Coat a laser copy with a clear gel. Polymer Medium, Gloss, a thin medium will take several coats. Allow each coat to dry. Other options, Soft Gel Gloss, Self Leveling Gel or Tar Gel will only require one coat. Coat image directly. Let dry thoroughly. Thick applications of gel will take longer to dry. The image of the lady lamp was coated with Tar Gel. Note: work on wax paper or a plastic garbage bag. Acrylic won't stick to these surfaces.

Step 2. Wet or dampen the paper side. Carefully rub off the paper. Use sponges, scrubbies or a soft cloth. This usually takes several rubbings to remove the paper. Allow to dry. When dry you will see the spots where you have not completely removed paper. When the dry gel is completely saturated with water it will turn white, but this will clear when the skin dries.

Step 3. Use the "skin" as a collage element. This sample was painted on the backside of image skin with Golden Fluids. It was glued down with Soft Gel Gloss Gel.