Polymer Clay Image Transfers – Some Mistakes To Avoid

Polymer Clay Image Transfer

Video #079: Special Feature (Plus Transcript) About the Toner Method for Transferring Photos onto Polymer Clay:

Probably one of my biggest strengths as a teacher is what a lot of people would consider to be a weakness. And that is making mistakes. I make lots of them and that is really the way that I learn and have taught myself how to do things.

You know a lot of people make mistakes and they feel bad about that and they won’t continue on and learn from it.

A perfect example of how I learn from mistakes is how I learned how to do image transfers.

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I had seen some beautiful work done where people had transferred photographs and drawings onto polymer clay. And I wanted to give it a shot.

I tried all kinds of different methods. There are many methods out there. Some include special papers which I had trouble finding. You had to have the right photocopier. You had to rub the paper just exactly right. And I was running into a lot of problems.

And then I found one method that seemed quite simple. And if it’s done right, it is extremely simple. But I still was making mistakes.

And here’s a big stack of examples of what I did wrong to prove that I had tried to give it a shot.

Anyway, some of the things that went wrong were things that the demonstrator never mentioned. Things like having the right temperature of water. If it’s too hot, it will smear like in this example here.

I laid some parchment paper on top to bake them like I always do. And I ran into all kinds of funny smudges and things that I wasn’t expecting.

If you rub too hard or you leave too much paper on when you do the technique, you’ll get weird little splotches which the person who was demonstrating would not have done, because they knew how to do it right.

So by showing you some of the examples of how to do it wrong, I can save you a lot of trouble and show you how to transfer a photo to polymer clay the right way.

I have also the example of how to do it right. One of the things I wanted to do was to make some image transfer beads of my cousin’s new baby girl so I could give her a necklace.

This will be a wonderful necklace that she can treasure and pass on down to her baby when she grows up.

You know that’s the beauty of doing image transfers because you can do an exact photograph of your child’s drawings or of their pictures.

I did some wedding anniversary transfers and all kinds of things.

So it’s a wonderful technique to learn and I will show you how to do it – what to do and what not to do. You will really enjoy the process.

<< Slides Shown In Video >>

>> Title: Image Transfers On To Beads

>> Book Cover: Image Transfer on Clay by Paul Andrew Wandless. Book Contents: Numerous image transfer clay photos by leading contemporary artists provide inspiration. Includes decal, stencil, stamping, monoprint, silk screen, glaze, photo transfer beads and relief block techniques. This how-to book for contemporary ceramists shows you how to transfer a photo to polymer clay in your home studio. Light-sensitive emulsions to mark polymer clay transfer surfaces. Images of finished polymer clay photo transfer pieces.

>> Book Cover: Images on Clay II by Barbara McGuire. Book Contents: Polymer clay photo transfer bead projects. Image transfer clay, stamp, tint and color. Step-by-step photos and innovative polymer clay photo transfer methods. Working with polymer clay transfer motifs is fun and easy.

>> Photo: Eight polymer clay photo transfer beads showing unsightly mistakes.

>> Photo: A baby face photo transfer bead where the polymer clay image transfer onto the clay did not go so well.

>> Photo: Finished polymer clay image transfer beads on an adorable baby necklace. The picture shows 2 image transfer clay pendant beads and a gold clasp with a polymer clay pillow bead.

>> Picture: Child’s drawings perfect for image transfer clay projects.

>> Photo: Children’s photographs can be transferred onto polymer clay beads.

>> Photos: Anniversary keepsake ideas for polymer clay photo transfers.

>> End Screen: Click here for 3 Full Polymer Clay Tutorial Videos

  1. Cindy Lietz, 01 April, 2008

    If you have had experiences with other types of image or photo transfer techniques, I’d love to hear about them…

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Polymer Clay Ideas from Ancient Petroglyphs

  2. Keri Lee Sereika, 05 July, 2008

    OK so I now am left wondering how to do this? Is this one of the video tutorials that only VIP have access to?

  3. Cindy Lietz, 05 July, 2008

    Yes Keri, that is correct. But I have posted a written tutorial that covers the technique in general over at this link: Photo Transfer Beads and Pendants

  4. Lisa, 05 August, 2008

    If I use the iron on paper method for photo transfer, which paper is the best to use????

  5. Cindy Lietz, 05 August, 2008

    I have no idea Lisa. I have not tried iron on transfers on polymer clay. If I did though I would probably try it on a baked piece rather that a raw on to avoid squashing it while I ironed.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Memorial Jewelry – How To Make Rose Petal Beads with Polymer Clay

  6. Kristelle, 07 September, 2008

    Cindy, how do we become a “vip” to have access. I’m definately appreciative of not having to reinvent the wheel or make the mistakes while doing so:-) I’ve already signed up on your site, do I need to purchase a specific video course?

  7. Cindy Lietz, 07 September, 2008

    Hi Kristelle,

    Thanks for your interest in the “vip” or membership part of this site. I am just in the process of installing some software now that will allow me to open up the doors again soon.

    The announcement will be going out to everyone on the Guest List, which I see you have subscribed to.

    In the mean time if you are just getting started with polymer clay, my basics course will definitely help you out a lot. The link by my name will take out to to the information and order page for this course.

  8. Andrea, 09 September, 2008

    Hey! your now blond, very pretty, this colour suits you [nothing to do with transfer I know].

  9. Cindy Lietz, 13 September, 2008

    Well actually Andrea right now I am about half and half blond and brunette. I like to change my look from time to time!

  10. Brenda, 25 September, 2009

    When we become a library member will you add any of the past video’s to the new members weekly library? Or will we have to pay for access? I was a bit confused.

    Have you ever thought of selling them on DVD? I just purchased two on wire wrapping. Ha… I figured out how to do it before I recieved them though :)

    I love your video’s and tips. Another Question I have is when I do the picture transfers and bake them Why do the pictures bubble? its driving me crazy!!! Thanks Cindy.


  11. Cindy Lietz, 25 September, 2009

    Hi Brenda,

    I see that you already went ahead and signed up to become a member at the Polymer Clay Library. Welcome!

    1) In regards to understanding how the back issues work, it would be best if you re-read the information on the library sign up page. It is all explained in detail there (see link by my name above).

    2) Putting the tutorial videos on DVD is definitely something that I am considering. However to date, there has not been an overwhelming demand so I haven’t been making it a top priority. I’ve provided some bookmarks to where this DVD topic has been discussed, in the comments section of this article post: Polymer Clay Tutorials

    3) And about image transfers, the Volume-006 Back Issue Package has two videos that walk you through the steps for doing Toner Transfer Method (that links takes you to the Library back issue order page). There is also lots of free information (articles and follow up comments) here at the blog about image transfer techniques. To find the information you can use the search box at the top of the page, entering keywords like: ‘image transfer’, ‘photo transfer’, ‘inkjet’, etc. etc.

    Hope this helps you out.

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