by Annette Husband aka Annette in OZ
See this technique and many more using Opals embossing enamels in the new book, Opulent Opals, published by Pride Publishing.
Also featured in Stamping and Papercrafts Magazine
Volume 10 issue No.8 published by Express Publications
I had an idea early last year(2004)that you could do heat transfers with the Franklin clear Opals embossing enamel by Pipe Dreamink. Given that you can heat transfer some images by many methods, then the hot melted Opals would act as a transfer medium. After Christmas I had a play and was delighted with the results. I have been able to transfer toner based photo copied images in black and white and colour, Lasar copied images both black white and colour, serviette images, magazine images, wrapping paper images and more. They are transparent when complete so can be put over words, backed with nice cardstock or made into items where light shines thru for extra effect like sun catchers, paper weights and so on.
- Photocopied images on computer paper or cardstock. Can be photos that are toner based copied images in black and white or colour, Lasar copied images both black white or colour, serviette’s, magazine images, wrapping paper images, copyright free clip art images copied on toner or lasar printers etc. Will not work on water soluable Inkjet printed images.
- Tuskineko Versamark watermark ink pad
- Pipe Dreamink Opals Franklin embossing enamel
- Clear slow melt glue sticks 100x7mm or Flex by Ranger Industries
(both are optional but can be used to decrease cracking on larger pieces)
- Melt pot designed by Suze Weinberg and manufactured by Ranger Industries or craft dedicated skillet lined with Glad Bake, mug warmer or even a milk warmer on the stove may be used
- Non stick heat resistant sheet or Glad Bake
- Warm water
- Optional; heat resistant cookie cutter shapes or metal frames
Colour can be added afterward with Ranger Adirondack Alcohol inks, Pinata inks, chalks, paint washes, Tombow markers etc.
First off be very careful with the melted Opals as it will burn you if spilt or touched while still molten. I only do this when none of my kids are around. If you are sensitive to smells or concerned about fumes wear a craft face mask and always work in a well ventilated area. If you are using metal frames and metal cookie cutters do not touch them till item is completely cooled. The metal will take up heat from the molten Opals and can stay hot for some time. If you need to move item slide it off the craft mat still on the heat sheet, to a heat tolerant surface or if set but still hot use a peg or tweezers to move it.
1. If you are using photos or own personal images then I found this worked best by scanning images into the computer. Use your preferred graphics programme and adjust the contrast so background pale or white and image more defined. Add sepia tone if you wish. Print these onto computer paper if you have a toner based or Lasar printer or take to a copy place and have them print it out.
If you are using a serviette glue only the top image layer carefully to cardstock with craft glue, Mod Podge or Gel Medium first. Trim images to desired size but leave a few cm around as the Opals spreads out and may go over side and then under the paper and trap a section of the paper as it sets and you won’t be able to remove it.
- 2. Pour the desired amount of Franklin into the melt pot. If you are concerned about cracking which may occur on large pieces as you rub at back of image or work with it you can add thin slices or grated shards of clear glue. I used approx ¼ of glue stick to a three quarters filled melt pot and cut it into pieces with my craft scissors. Do not stir the glue in just leave it on top to melt. Alternatively Flex may be used following recommended amount proportions on side of jar. Turn melt pot up to Utee setting and put lid on. Once completely melted gently rock the pot to mix the glue if used. Using glue sticks or Flex will not guarantee that cracking wont occur but does make the piece more durable.
3. While Opals are melting tap Versamark ink over the image so a wet coverage is obtained. With some glossy magazine images the Versamark is not needed at all. Place a non stick heat sheet or Glad Bake over your craft mat. Place image side up on the heat sheet or Glad Bake. Pour Opals over the image and leave to set and cool. Alternatively you may place a metal frame over the image and pour Opals thru that. If you want to use a cookie cutter rub cutter edge with Versamark ink and immediately after pouring place cookie cutter in place around image and leave till set. When hard either push the image all way thru cookie cutter or break away the edges leaving the cookie cutter over the image and then remove the cutter. If the cookie cutter stuck at sides just run a sharp craft knife around the edge to release it.
- 4. When piece is set and cooled fill a container or sink with warm water. Immerse the image with Opals on it in the water and turn it over so paper side is up. Leave a few minutes and then rub away paper from the back with your finger gently. Photocopied images, magazine and wrapping paper images can usually be peeled off quite easily with little or no rubbing needed. The image heat transfers to the back of the molten Opals and as you rub the paper away sections that were white or light become clear. Leave to dry. Once dry if you notice fuzzy areas on parts the backing paper has not come off completely so repeat soaking and rubbing at the area as above to remove.
5. Colour if desired and place over writing, stamped images or nice papers. In my samples I used Alcohol inks rubbed on with my finger for the black and white copier image transfers. Some I then made more subtle by removing some of the colour with the Adirondack blender solution on a small paint brush. Once coloured they are still see thru so can then paint with Lumiere’s or attach to card stock as desired. Magazine, serviette, colour copied images and wrapping paper images that are already coloured will transfer the colour but still be transparent.
When rubbing at back do not press too heavily or the piece may crack. If cracking occurs before soaking or you notice there is a lumpier area of Opals in one spot that you wish to spread out more then you can use a heat gun to remelt it BEFORE the backing paper is soaked or pulled off. If it occurs after this step it will distort or get holes if you try to remelt it. If you have laid the cookie cutter in the wrong spot you can also remelt with a heat gun while image still has backing paper on and remove it with a peg or tweezers and replace it where desired.
If you pull up a section of paper image too early or rub back too harshly and some of the image comes off you may be able to save the piece by cutting a small section of a copy of same image and lay it in place at back. Use a Clover mini quilt iron to heat transfer piece missing by putting the setting at half heat and briefly and gently rubbing over the back of the replaced piece on the rear of the Opals transfer. The Opals melts slightly and the piece will stick in place and heat transfer the missing section as before. Leave to set and soak of backing as before. You can use the mini quilt iron at half heat to even out edges of finished pieces by gently rubbing at edges. It will melt the Opals and let the drops drip onto the non stick heat sheet below.
Ink jet images do not work unless a dura-bright ink is used as they are water soluble so image disappears when soaking in water.
Try the same technique by stamping images with your permanent non porous inks. I had some success with Stewart Superior India ink black but the result was very washed out looking even with heat setting the ink first with a heat gun. Of course other inks may work fine so just play. Using your heat gun only and building up layers of Opals on the copy paper images doesn’t work as it soaks into the paper too much and not all of the backing will come off as the Opals embeds in the paper.
If you make mistakes, dislike the completed piece or it cracks keep it and remelt for another project. While it will be no good for clear glass like tiles or work as the image parts that did transfer will muddy the Opals when remelted you can sprinkle other Opals colours on top to hide this or rub on Pearl-ex once melted stamped and cooled. If paper is embedded and can’t be removed also keep for other projects and then when remelts just pick out the paper with tweezers once it is melted again.
I have so many ideas for this technique and have thought of sun catchers, glass slides, altered books, cards etc. You can even make glass like paper weights by using a muffin tin and part filling it with melted Opals and place image side down at back immediately after pouring. Let set and soak off backing as before. Put back in muffin tin and pour more Opals over the transferred image. Add some little charms and glitter that will be seen thru the transferred image when it sets to the second melted mix or do another transfer to add depth to the piece. Let set and then remove.