I’m a mixed media artist, and I often use photo transfers in my work. I was excited to put “Mod Podge Photo Transfer medium” to the test. The first thing I noticed is that this medium is white in the bottle and dries white as well. My preferred products for mixed media photo transfer are initially white but dry clear, and allow me to layer to my heart’s content. I shifted gears when I realized that this product was not going to be something I would find useful for mixed media and set out to find out how to best utilize it.
The Plaid website states: “Create decals or appliqués from any original photo or artwork with Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium. Applies to hard surfaces. Hand-washable on fabric.” This is not exactly accurate. The directions on the packaging are much more accurate: “Do not use actual photographs. You must use images made from dry toner type copier.” The packaging also states that the transfers can be made on fabric or with a decal method for “hard surfaces such as glass, ceramic, metal or clay”.
There are two ways to use this product. One is the “decal method” which will allow you to adhere the transfers to any hard surface and the other is a direct transfer method for fabric.
DECAL TRANSFER METHOD
1. Applying the medium 1/8” thick on the front of your photocopy (color or black and white). Remember to photocopy in reverse if you image has any text. You will need to immediately pick up the decal to place it on the clean wax paper to dry. If you wait a few minutes it will get soggy and fragile.
2. Allow the image to dry for 24 hours face up on wax paper.
3. Dampen your image with a wet sponge or a spray bottle and rub off the paper background. You will be left with the photocopied image embedded into the rubbery acrylic transfer medium. You can then apply to any surface. As seen in the above photo this product had excellent adherence to glass, ceramic tile, metal and even wax candle.
Tip: I recommend using images that are simple shapes. A detailed image is much more likely to tear when you are moving it or when you are rubbing it to remove the paper layer.
* You can refer to the packaging for complete instructions.
FABRIC TRANSFER METHOD
1. Apply the medium 1/8” thick to the front of the copy.
2. Place the image covered with the medium face down on the fabric and rub it with your fingers to make sure it is making contact in all areas.
3. Allow the image to dry for 24 hours.
4. Dampen your image with a wet sponge or a spray bottle and rub off the paper background. You will be left with the photocopied image with the slightly rubbery look of an acrylic medium.
- This product makes clear photo transfers on fabric.
- The results are very consistent and predictable.
- The product worked with both black and white and color photocopies.
- This is a non-toxic water based product with virtually no odor and easy to clean up.
- The adherence to all the surfaces indicated (glass, ceramic, metal, fabric) was excellent and did not require any additional medium to attach. I even attached this decal to a candle and was surprised it even attached well to wax.
- It is hand washable on fabric after 72 hours.
- The text used for the directions on the packaging is extremely tiny & difficult to read.
- The product included a foam brush but is very flimsy so I used one of my own foam brushes. Even with a better quality foam brush it was difficult to get a smooth, even coat so the decals were often a bit bumpy and uneven.
- This product is quite thick so it’s a bit difficult to squeeze it out from the bottle. It might be better to package it in a jar. I had to use a chopstick to get the last 1/3 out of the bottle.
- The transfers had a distinctly rubbery look on both the fabric and the hard surfaces.
At the end of this review process I found myself scratching my head to figure out what this product could do that other product couldn’t do just as well or better.
In spite of the fact that this product did produce a successful transfer onto fabric it was a time-consuming and labor intensive process. Iron-on inkjet T-shirt transfers work really well on fabric and you don’t have go through the extra step of bringing your inkjet print to the copy shop. They are quicker than Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium because you don’t have to wait 24 hours for the medium to dry. You also don’t have to go through the extra step of rubbing the paper off of the background.
If I compare the decal method with decoupage using Mod Podge I it seems to me that the decal method is a lot more work for a very similar result. You can use Mod Podge to decoupage a paper image to any hard surface and another coat of Mod Podge will seal it nicely. Once again the Mod Podge Photo Transfer medium was comparatively very labor intensive but I didn’t see any clear advantages.
In the future I can see using it to transfer a full size photo copied image directly to canvas. I would recommend a cardboard backed canvas because it is was a bit difficult to rub the paper off on a stretched canvas. I scattered a few black and white images around and I will be experimenting with adding inks and collage paper for a mixed media piece (And maybe a bit of those yummy Jacquard Pigment Powders I reviewed recently). I’m interested to find out if the readers of this blog have tried this product. I’d love to hear if you have made any interesting project using it.
You can an example of my layered mixed media work on my blog: http://sustainablestudio.blogspot.com/2014/02/faux-encaustic-technique-using-tissue.ht
The list price for this product is $17.86 for 8 ounces on Amazon and they are selling it for $9.98. It is available at many national craft retailers as well. It is a reasonable priced product.
Disclosure: product provided for review purposes; all opinions are based on my first-hand experience with the product and are my own. No compensation was provided for this review.