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.
- Pat Catan’s Craft Stores Acquired by Michael’s - February 2, 2016
- Vicki’s CHA Trend Sightings - January 20, 2016
- Vicki’s Favorite Picks from the CHA Top 20 Products - January 10, 2016
- CHA Show 2015: Behind the Scenes with Vicki - January 30, 2015
- CHA 2015 Day 2 - January 20, 2015
- CHA Show 2015 – New Jewelry Products to Watch For - January 19, 2015
- CHA Show 2015: Yarnia - January 15, 2015
- CHA 2015: Day 1 - January 11, 2015
- Craft Product Review: Mod Podge Furniture in 3 Finishes - January 5, 2015
- Trend Report for 2014-2015 – Home Decor - November 26, 2014
I do make transfers to craft foam with normal, classic Mod Podge and they work really well, I know many people make them to wood as well. The main difference is that these transfers are clear and go well only for light backgrounds, as in dark material they will hardly show. In fact, I wonder why this transfer medium says the images to transfer should be printed with a toner photocopy when I make my transfers with classic ModPodge out of Inkjet prints and they turn out absolutely beautiful. I have even tried to make these kind of transfers with gel medium and also with white glue and the White Glue (I suppose is like Elmers Glue) works as beautifully as the classic Mod Podge does.
And because I really liked what I could do with this technique, I even discovered a way to make transfers with white glue (or classic Mod Podge) to dark backgrounds. I have two videos in YouTube about these techniques on Craft foam, but they are in Spanish, if you are interested I can share the links if it is OK with you, I guess the images in the video are good enough to understand the process and see the results.
Thank you for the review. You have saved me some money. I won’t be needing this product.
Patti Robinson says
Thanks for sharing your experiences Fancylooks! I use Citrasolv (its primarily known as a cleaning product) to transfer B&W toner copies onto wood and fabric. It works really well and there is no need to scrub away any of the paper as only the toner is transferred. Works with wintergreen oil too. I did try the Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium on an inkjet copy. The medium melted and blurred the image from the paper– it was a real mess. I’ll definitely try using regular Mod Podge. I’d love to see your Youtube videos and would appreciate the link.
Oh, thank you very much!!!
The link for the transfer technique from color inkjet print to white craft foam video is this one:
Notice that I first set the inkjet image with acrylic varnish spray to avoid getting it blurred with the watery ingredient in either the Mod Podge or in white glue (Gel medium gave me the worst results). Maybe if you try this trick with your inkjet images before applying the Photo transfer medium you may also get a sharp image out of the inkjet print.
The link to the transfer technique to black or dark eva foam video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV0ilBH-Vjk
Basically you get the ink jet print, spray it with clear acrylic varnish, let dry, apply a layer of white glue (or classic Mod podge, both work well) let dry, then mix the glue with a very little amount of intensely pigmented white acrylic paint (I use scale models acrylic paint which is really opaque) and apply a second coat and this you put against the dark craft foam. Next day it is completely dry and you can rub the paper out with a little bit of water.The image quality is really sharp and the colors are very bright but it is important not to rub too much and rub the paper completely in two stages, first one you get most of the paper out, let dry, and second one you get the slight white layer of paper out, this way the results are better and you are less likely to rub away the transfer.
mare williams says
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU ABOVE FOR YOUR INPUT…ALL INFO YOU GAVE WILL BE HELPFUL TO ME AS I PURSUE MY PASSION IN “TRANSFERRING IMAGES” TO FABRIC, ETC.!!
i am trying to make photo mugs for my in laws and need any help or suggestion i can get. I’ve never do it before and thought that the photo transfer would be good but now it looks like a lot of work and i need something easy as i have to little kids running around. do you think regular mod lodge would be ok for every day use.
Not if you plan on using or washing them. Mod Podge will not stick to a smooth glass surface and tolerate heat or wet.