Craft Parchment Paper Image Transfer Technique for Polymer Clay

Chef Select Parchment Paper

Testing Valerie Aharoni’s New Photo Transfer Ideas:

A few days ago I wrote about a fellow polymer clay artist, Valerie Aharoni, and her parchment paper method for doing photo image transfers onto polymer clay. Here’s a link to the article if you missed it: New Polymer Clay Image Transfer Technique That Works with InkJets

Well I finally restocked my parchment paper after using the last of it for Christmas baking, and got the chance to try out this cool polymer clay technique! Here are my results.

The brand of parchment paper I bought is from Costco. It’s called Chefs Select Non-Stick Parchment Paper. It comes in an enormous 15″ x 164′ roll for just over $5.

I had bought a box of it a year ago and loved it so much for my baking, that I wanted to buy the same brand again. I had heard of a few people having trouble printing on some brands of parchment paper, so I crossed my fingers that this brand would work since it is such a good value paper.

First I used my paper cutter to cut a 8.5″ by 11″ sheet of parchment paper so it could be run through my laser printer. [BTW: I’ve not yet tested this with an inkjet printer but will post another article when I do.]

Some thumbnail images were selected to print and the paper was fed into the front manual feed on the printer.

The paper started the printing process normally but before it was finished, it stopped and showed a paper jam on the indicator lights. Darn… was this not going to work?

I opened the machine and took out the paper. It had printed the images but hadn’t ‘heat set’ them yet because the ink was still dusty and smeared if you touched it. But by carefully lifting the sheet out of the machine, the images were still in place and perfectly clear.

This made me think it still might transfer, so I carefully cut off an image from the sheet and turned it over onto a slab of polymer clay. I lifted the paper off the clay and it was a perfect transfer!

Fast, easy and perfect… a little awkward to handle the sheet of ‘uncured’ images, but it worked!

Thinking that the parchment paper was possibly too thin and that was the reason for not properly finishing the printing process; I thought it might be good to attach the piece of parchment paper to a regular sheet of office paper and run that through the printer instead.

Cutting another sheet of parchment paper to 8 1/2 by 11 and I taped it to a sheet of regular office paper along the top edge only. Then feeding in the taped edge first, it was ran through the printer with good success!

A few of the images near the bottom of the paper were messed up but all of the images were ‘heat set’ and no longer smeared by touching them. The damaged ones were possibly due to left over ink from the last improper printing. I’ll have to see if this keeps happening and let you know.

An image from this ‘cured’ sheet was laid on a fresh sheet of polymer clay and very gently rubbed with my finger. The paper was lifted off the clay and Boom! A perfect image!… No rubbing off the paper under water like the toner image transfer technique!… No using valuable Gin to get the ink to transfer! … No expensive papers to buy!… How cool is that?!

Now to try the inkjet printer and get a little color into the process! I am super excited. Thanks “VAharoni”!


As far as availability here is a link for the Chefs Select website with a list of retail stores that carry this brand of parchment paper.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Sandy, 09 January, 2009

    Wonderful! We only have inkjet at home but I believe I can do the same thing with freezer paper and inkjets.

    Congrats on a successful experiment.

  2. Chris, 09 January, 2009

    Thanks for sharing that link. I bought yet a different brand of parchment from Wal-Mart to try with my ink jet printer. Hopefully will have some time this weekend to experiment.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 09 January, 2009

    Thanks for commenting Sandy! The one thing I’ve heard about the freezer paper is that it is too waxy and the ink beads up on it. The thing about using the right type of parchment paper is that it is a more matte finish and although it is non-stick, the ink doesn’t bead up on it. Let us know if you try either paper and how it works for you!

  4. David McNutt, 30 March, 2019

    I have tried the parchment paper with inkjet and it beads up. I’m not sure if it’s the brand of paper or what, but im seriously bummed out. I’m making wood signs and use the transfer so I have a guide for what I’m doing. It is the kirkland brand paper that I am using. please reply to me. I so need help.


  5. Cindy Lietz, 01 April, 2019

    Sorry David, but the parchment trick is very tricky… I have used the Kirkland parchment and had it work ok, but it does bead up on the surface a little and smears very easily. The only image transfer I have had any real success with is toner images (photocopies & laser printed). Is there a different way you could transfer your designs? I found a link on Amazon to some Inkjet Transfer Papers (affiliate link). Maybe that would work better for you? Good luck!

  6. Amanda, 10 January, 2009

    I’m fairly sure we call this baking paper here in Australia. I associate parchment with something you write on. I’ll have to add using baking paper to my list of things to try out.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 10 January, 2009

    @Chris: Do let us know if it works! The more choices everyone knows about, the better!

    @Amanda: You are probably right, baking paper would make the most sense! We have that writing paper here too only we call it just ‘parchment’. The kind we use for baking is called ‘parchment paper’. Can you imagine how confusing that is? But hey, confusing is how we do it here in North America! Confusing is how we roll! :)

  8. Valerie Aharoni, 11 January, 2009


  9. Candy, 11 January, 2009

    I tested this with my inkjet printer and reynolds parchment paper…it worked but the image was not sharp and very dull…not gonna give up though… I do believe this technique works with the right printer and papers…almost tempted to buy a laser printer just for this…I have tried so many different transfer methods..and if I can make this work.. this will by far be the best!!!!

  10. Cindy Lietz, 11 January, 2009

    @Valerie: It is exciting isn’t it?!

    @Candy: Since parchment paper is so cheap, I’d try a few different brands before I bought a new printer. Why don’t you try this Chef Select brand or the BAK-O-MATIC by Dixie that Valerie suggests. It is worth the effort to find the right stuff since once you do its the easiest and cheapest method of image transfer you’ll probably ever see!

  11. Lupe Meter, 11 January, 2009

    Thanks for sharing Cindy. Now all I got to do is head over to Costco and buy me a huge roll of parchment paper. I haven’t attempted transfers yet because there are so many tutorials out there but I am definitely going to try this one.

  12. Candy, 12 January, 2009

    I am waiting for the Bak-o-matic papers to come in the mail..I just remember reading how the inkjet transfers were not as vivid :( we’ll see.. thank you so much for this information you have given us all.. I feel like a mad scientist over here!!! I’ll keep you posted with my results! Thanks, Candy

  13. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2009

    @Lupe: It’s really fun! Don’t be afraid to give it a try! Let me know how it goes when you do try it.

    @Candy: Did you order the paper from VAharoni? Let us know how the transfers work out. Good to hear the Mad Scientist is coming out in you… I have a soft spot for Mad Scientists!

  14. Candy, 12 January, 2009

    Hi Cindy! Yes I ordered the paper from Vaharoni, got it today… I printed out an image today which printed out pretty good..paper went through my printer with no problem..image transfers a very light colored transfer..not very vivid as I read I think she stated befor…I also get a tiny bit of ink beading up on me in some places..remember I am using an inkjet printer…I also tested out the Reynolds new improved baking parchment paper which worked out..but had some beading of ink again..does the beading also happen with the laser printed images or just inkjet???? Are the laser printed images sharp and crystal clear??..Thankyou Candy

  15. Candy Steve, 13 January, 2009

    anybody out there?? I know my questions sound repetative..if that’s a word…but I am considering purchasing a laser printer and want to know if the image transfer is truly a perfect transfer…I have been experimenting for about a year now with different techniques..Thankyou Candy

  16. Cindy Lietz, 14 January, 2009

    Hi Candy1! I haven’t tried this technique with an inkjet yet. I have only done it with a laser printer which worked really well with no beading. From what I hear there can be issues with certain inkjet inks beading up where others don’t. It may be the ink rather than the paper that is causing the problems but perhaps if you tried the chefs select paper it may work for you.

    Candy2 (not sure if you’re the same girl or not) I had great success with this technique with a laser printer, but I would suggest you try it on someone else’ printer to see if you like it before buying one solely for that purpose.

  17. Candy, 15 January, 2009

    Yes both Candy’s are me..I just recently switched to highspeed..I have a new email address so I guess that’s why it changed things..I don’t know anyone with a laser printer! Everybody is inkjet..or would have tried this..laser printers seem to have alot of advantages compared to inkjet printers..besides just the transfer method..thankyou for your response and answering my repetitive questions! Candy

  18. Cindy Lietz, 15 January, 2009

    Yeah I thought there probably wasn’t more than one Candy dropping by! I do like having a laser printer. The downside is only having black and white for transfers. A color laser would be fantastic but the cost is a little steep for me right now!

  19. Margaret, 15 January, 2009

    I tried this with parchment paper and it worked very well, but then I looked around and decided to try some other things. Amazingly, I got even better results with my inkjet printer and plain old wax paper.

    I don’t recommend wax paper in a laser printer because of the heat, but the inkjet worked well. I taped a small piece of wax paper to a plain sheet of paper and fed it in the printer.

    Another use for this – since many of us have more than one hobby – it to rub the image from the parchment or wax paper onto scrapbooking pages – the ones that are too big for the printer or to fill in spaces after you’ve laid out the pictures.

  20. Candy, 15 January, 2009

    Hi Cindy! Thankyou for informing me of this laser printer information!

    Hi Margaret..thankyou for sharing this..what type of wax paper are you using..if you don’t mind me asking..this would be great if it worked out that good for you..thanks,Candy

  21. Candy, 16 January, 2009

    One more question..if you have a color laser printer you can also print black and white prints as well..right?? Probably a stupid question..but I didn’t know if you you would need two different printers??? Thanks,candy

  22. Cindy Lietz, 16 January, 2009

    @Margaret: Wow thanks for the info on the waxed paper! I’ll have to try that! Not on my laser printer of course… wouldn’t that be a sticky mess!

    @Candy: You can definitely print in black and white on a color laser printer. You just can’t print color on a black and white printer. Does that make sense now? If you get color you will only need one printer.

  23. Margaret, 16 January, 2009

    “Hi Margaret..thankyou for sharing this..what type of wax paper are you using..if you don’t mind me asking..this would be great if it worked out that good for you..thanks,Candy”

    The wax paper I have is just plain that I got at the grocery store. I live in Canada so probably would be a different brand here.

    I suggest just trying with whatever kind you have. I can’t guarantee that it will work, but thought I’d mention it in case anyone else wants to try.

    Again – do not use in a laser printer. The heat in the laser printer would make an awful mess.


  24. Candy, 17 January, 2009

    Cindy, thankyou that makes perfect sense!!!

    Margaret, thankyou.. as soon as I get some I will try and let you know my results!!

  25. Tamar, 17 January, 2009

    I’m not familiar with this type of paper. Is it a standard baking sheet? Can you describe that “parchment paper” ?

  26. Cindy Lietz, 17 January, 2009

    Tamar, baking parchment paper comes on a roll like tinfoil or in large sheets and is meant for baking food on. It is a light tan color and is semi-transparent. The surface is silky but not waxy and has a matte finish. It is thinner than regular paper but thicker than tissue paper. People from other countries sometimes call it baking paper. I hope that helps.

  27. Laina, 20 January, 2009

    Hi! I can’t wait to try this. Unfortunately, my inkjet is out of ink right now :-/ But for those who are using inkjets, what kind of printer and ink are you using?


  28. Candy, 21 January, 2009

    Hi Laina, I am using a Lexmark printer and inks. I too was so excited when I saw this technique!!! Goodluck to you!

  29. Cindy Lietz, 22 January, 2009

    Thanks Candy for helping Laina! I’m sure she really appreciates it, as do I!

  30. Laina, 23 January, 2009

    Yes, thank you Candy! I have an all-in-one Epson, and so far I haven’t had any luck getting the parchment to feed through without making a mess…. even though I tried taping it to regular paper. Will keep working on it though…

  31. Cindy Lietz, 24 January, 2009

    Laina are you making sure to only tape the top edge so that the two papers don’t buckle up as their going through the rollers? Also you could try using double stick tape along the top edge instead. Let me know if these ideas work for you.

  32. Candy, 12 February, 2009

    Hi just wondered if anyone has tried this technique with their laser printer?? Thanks, Candy

  33. Cindy Lietz, 15 February, 2009

    Candy, the printer I used in this post was a laser printer. Are you having problems with yours or something or are you wondering how it went for others?

  34. Jade, 25 February, 2009

    Great info! I realllly want to try this but would have to go to a local printer to do so– Office Max, Kinko’s, or a local friendly one I go to. Do you think there’s any chance they would agree to having parchment paper put through their machines and is there any risk of damaging the printer? I want to try this so badly but am worried about causing problems in someone else’s printer!

  35. Cindy Lietz, 28 February, 2009

    I’m sorry Jade but I have no idea what they will say. I haven’t heard of anyone who has damaged their printer with this technique but I can’t personally guarantee that.

    If anyone else has had experience with getting Kinkos to print on parchment paper, do let Jade and I know. This could be quite helpful for her. Thanks!

  36. Connie Clark, 28 August, 2018

    I have used King Arthur brand parchment paper (maker of King Arthur flour and other cooking items online) and printing with a laser printer both in Black& white and color for image transfers on to Premo clay with success. I had heard previously when trying to have images printed at an Office Depot store that they no longer will print on to various “transfer papers” when I was talking to a store employee when I was having images printed on overhead film to use for making my own silk screens. The laser toner can get gummed up on the fuser causing issues if the paper is too slick.

    So when I took in my parchment paper sheets cut to size I just had them print them on my parchment paper stock. When they store employee asked me what type of paper it was I told her “Parchment Paper” and she proceeded as normal. It is problematic if you try to have them darken the image (which I tried the first time since that was how I would instruct them to print my overhead film for my silk screen art work). After that first time I have always told them just print as normal for a colored or black and white image. It is best if you limit the number of copies you print at one time and run paper supply through the by pass so there is less twist & turns of the paper through the machine. Some times the paper will jam, but as you said earlier that might be lessened by the tape on to the regular copy paper. Not sure I’d do that at the copy store as that may waive a “red flag”. I have had others try copy stores and been told no, they will not make the copies. My suggestion to folks has always been to try around at different stores, limit quantity printed at any one time, and just honestly tell them it is parchment paper. I’ve found that most people have no clue what parchment paper is. King Arthur parchment paper is more expensive, especially when adding shipping but I do know it works. I now need to see if I can try some other brands of paper to see how well they might do.

  37. Cindy Lietz, 28 August, 2018

    Connie, THANK YOU so much for your detailed process! I am sure everyone will appreciate this information!

  38. peggie, 23 October, 2009

    hey cindy!

    i just got some of valerie’s paper in the mail and am eager to try it. i forgot to ask the most important question: how do i make this permanent on the clay? i am painting studio by sculpey glaze on my non transfer pieces and then baking the clay.

    do i have to order that preserve your memories stuff to get this to work? i haven’t tried any of this yet, just want to charge ahead.

    there is a kinko’s here with a color laser if i have to use that. i have inkjet. is the laser permanent, therefore i could do the sculpey directly over it and then bake it? thanks cindy!

  39. Cindy Lietz, 29 October, 2009

    Good questions Peggie! Just transfer the image to raw clay and bake. The protect with either, Future floor finish, Sculpey Glaze or PYMII (Preserve Your Memories II) and all will be good!

  40. Julie Amey, 19 October, 2010

    I am trying to make those elusive transfers onto polymer clay. I cannot obtain either Canon or HP transfer paper here in Ontario-have tried everything. I tried the parchment paper technique but the paper jams in the printer and the images that came out were very poor. How do you stop the paper from jamming?? I tried to tape it to a piece of regular paper but it didn’t help. I haven’t tried the Costco brand of parchment paper but I had 2 other brands on hand and neither worked. Help!! I am in a craft show in 3 weeks and really want to have some transfer items available!! Thanks so much! Julie

  41. Cindy Lietz, 23 October, 2010

    Hi Julie, sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your transfers. As far as trying to figure this out before your show, that sounds pretty stressful to me. In my opinion it is always better to go with the items you have made many times, before trying to sell them at a show. You never know what kind of problems you could run into or that your customer may have with your product unless you’ve worked with (and worn) the products yourself for awhile. Just a little ‘Tutor-ly’ advice for ya.

    Have you tried the Toner Image Transfer Technique? I’ve done a tutorial on it. (I’ve linked to it by my name.) This is a great tried and true technique that may work better for you. Also, although I haven’t yet tried it myself, there is a product out there called Magic Transfer Paper, that is supposed to be pretty good. You’ll have to Google it, to see who sells it.

    Good luck and have Fun at your Craft Fair!

  42. Nancy S, 11 July, 2016

    Wow! Thank you.. I had been trying for a very determined 2 hours and was just about to give up when I read about your taping the upper edge method. Even though the tape didn’t want to adhere to the parchment paper too well….but it was good enough to fool my printer. :)
    I love your tutorials too!

  43. Cindy Lietz, 12 July, 2016

    That’s awesome Nancy! I’m happy it worked for you!

  44. Lolla N, 15 July, 2016

    Hi All, what an interesting method. Thought i’d give it a go, here’s my results:

    I have an inkjet HP 8600 AIO printer and used a “glossy Paper” setting and “Matt Paper” setting in my printers properties. I used 3 different methods of paper type.

    1. parchment paper, “no name” brand from Real Canadian Superstore (I’m in Calgary) – Glossy side up
    2. Same parchment paper as 1. but this time, Matt side up
    3. Wax paper (cut-rite brand) from the dollar store.

    I’ll start with the fail first. WAX PAPER. Jammed the printer. Too waxy for the rollers I am guessing.

    Results with the parchment paper had varying results:

    “Glossy side up” had more beading than the “Matt side up”, in part probably due to their being more of a glossy coating.

    Image 1 had the most beading of ink and was not true to colour. The design was of a blue swirl (Gloss side up)

    Image 2 had less beading of ink but the colour was not true either. The design was a light pink zebra stripe (matt side up).

    I did notice that what ever colour was on the heads of the image I printed first (image 1) I got a huge smear of that colour above the image of the one I printed 2nd. I am thinking to maybe put some text a few lines above a design in the lightest colour to get any of the prior colours ink out of the heads if you have a totally different colour that you are using on a next design (gosh – hope that made sense!!)

    So I guess you could say it worked but as Cindy mentioned if you want best results a colour laser printer would be best or B&W one.

    Whilst it did not print a true colour, what I liked about the finish was a pretty cool distressed look. I did put some pearlex mica powder over the top and that made the colours seem to ‘pop’ a little more.

    def worth experimenting some more. I also flipped the clay over and did a second rub of the image on the back. Whilst it appeared a little lighter again, you could easily get two rubs (for front and back) off the one image. I had my ink quality set to normal and think I will try “best” setting next.

    I also tried the image on translucent clay (fimo). I am going to try it again on while clay (which may have a better result for colour)

    long winded, sorry – thought i’d chime in my experience :-D

    Cindy – thanks so much for all your awesome tutorials and sharing your knowledge with us all… I’m not new to PC but am learning about a lot of new techniques through your site and your Utube site too.

  45. Cindy Lietz, 16 July, 2016

    No problem with the long comment Lolla, I love it when people come back here and write such detailed information! Thanks you so much for sharing your results! I just got a new inkjet printer so I should revisit this idea. Thanks again for sharing!

  46. Dawn B, 17 July, 2016

    Lolla, I also appreciate very much you sharing your process and results.

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