Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lessons learned - acrylic skin image transfers

A comment from Leslie Avon Miller to the previous post, prompted me to recall some of the pitfalls of creating and storing acrylic skin transfers. I would like to save everyone from these difficult learning experiences. These are the "do nots" of acrylic skin transfers. I've found all of this out the hard way.

Do not...
  • leave a wet acrylic skin transfer on your countertop- as it dries, it adheres very well. Then you have to be extremely creative getting it off. Alas, a visit to my kitchen will let you see that removal is not perfect! I used a sponge pad with a slightly abrasive side (too abrasive) that left scratches on my counter. I still have three drops of gel there that dried and I can't get it off. The lesson I learned from all this- get a piece of laminate and a plastic pan and and make your transfers in your studio.
  • lay one acrylic skin on top of another when wet. Even a wet skin overlapping itself is difficult to separate. Part to the problem is that I like very delicate skins (4 layers of medium) for my collage work. If you create skins with 7 or 8 layers of medium, this would not be such a problem. They are difficult to get apart when wet, but if they dry while together they bond beautifully! Perhaps there is something creative you can do with this new couple, but I haven't found it yet.
  • lay one acrylic skin on top of another even when dry. Over time they get sticky (especially if it is hot) and bond together in parts. I have managed to use some of the parts I've separated, but never the whole image. I use deli paper (you can get it by the box) to keep each acrylic skin separate. You can store several on one sheet. These deli papers can be reused many times. With a 1000 in a box, look for an artist friend to share with- cost per box is about $20.00. When I've stacked my set of left- overs, I store the pile in large zip lock bag and label it by project name .
  • lay an acrylic skin on top of work that has layers of gel (even dry) on it. If it is warm, the transfer skin will stick on and something will get ruined.
  • dry a wet transfer on regular paper. When the skin dries it is often difficult to separate. While it can be done it is not worth the effort. Wax paper works better (but I've had some disasters with it), but refrigerator paper works best of all. It can be torn off in large sheets and taped on the two ends and then reused again and again. I like the fact I can roll it up again for storage.
I would love to hear any other advice on this topic.


Mary Buek said...

Margaret, before I get into this transfer process, does it work on inkjet printed paper, too?

Unknown said...

Mary, I have never tried it on ink jet printed paper but I seem to recall reading somewhere that this process doesn't work for ink jet copies. It is the toner from photocopy or laser printing that the acrylic bonds to. Ink jets don't use toner. Here is a reference you can check that deals with ink jet transfers . I think this link will answer your question well.

Jo Reimer said...

I've cleaned acrylic medium and paint off my laminate counter and glass palette using alcohol. Alcohol also removes acrylic paint from fabric if you tackle it while it's fresh.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Jo. Somewhere in the far reaches of my mind, I did know this but it obviously hasn't surfaced lately. I guess it's a trip to the drug store tomorrow. Now I get to explore your blog, a much more appealing thought than cleaning counters.

Gina said...

Hello Margaret,
Thank you for the great tutorial about acrylic skins…just the thing I’ve been thinking about doing. I’ve been reading your entire blog and am enchanted with your art and style. Love the fact you spent two weeks at the garden in Ireland and really absorbed the area. A few years ago I rushed around the country; ‘twould be lovely to linger! Thank you for sharing your vision and techniques; I’ll return often!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Margaret! Just what I need -- another fun process to explore!

I'm accustomed to paint skins peeled off my palettes and incorporated into paintings, but haven't used them for transfers.

Oh! And my kitchen counter has been subjected to many similar challenges.

Unknown said...

Margaret, thanks for your comment on my blog. It's true, we have similar interests, and have obviously learned similar lessons when it comes to acrylic skins. I had to laugh when you mentioned your counter...I am forever scraping bits off my own! (even though I cover everything with plastic sheeting or flexible cutting mats).