Recently, I was looking through pictures of bird art I’ve made over the years. After the winter we’ve had, just seeing this bird building its nest on the flowering apple branch makes me happy! Spring has arrived (by the calendar, at least), and that means that even if it snows again, the wintry remains will soon melt away.
I made this little Robin with Apple Blossoms piece a couple of years ago. I scanned the image and printed it out onto Transfer Artist Paper TM or TAP for a client who was making a custom quilt for a new baby in the family. She wanted to use the image, but it had to be washable.
The transfer came out great. I’d not used the product before, but could tell that it is much easier than any other method I have used for transferring images. In the past, when you wanted to make a photo quilt or a memory quilt with images, you could use iron-on t-shirt transfers, but they made the fabric stiff and didn’t always hold up to washing.
Another popular way to make transfers on fabric is with gel medium and an inkjet printout. But the success of the transfer often relied on serendipity and they were only suitable for art quilts—you couldn’t wash them.
TAP is different. It’s an iron-on transfer paper, but the inks combine with the polymer coating on the paper. When heated, the inks fuse into the fabric and become part of it, rendering the image permanent and washable.
TAP works on all types of fabric plus paper, leather, and more. And, you can draw and paint on TAP using inks and acrylics, markers, and pencil. In the April/May 2009 issue of Quilting Arts, TAP developer and fiber artist Lesley Riley explained how to use TAP with other supplies to enhance your custom quilts and other fiber art.
For example, in the “Easter Bonnet” sample shown here, she painted a sheet of TAP with Golden® fluid acrylic and used Portfolio Series® oil pastels to create the lawn area. On a separate sheet of TAP, she printed a photo and some bird ephemera. After trimming the excess white areas around the images, Lesley used a glue stick to tack the images in place over the painted background, flipped it over, and ironed the composition onto fabric.
When you want to turn treasured photos and drawings into memory quilts, or just want to transfer an image onto fabric to use as a focal point or tell a story, I definitely recommend TAP.
In upcoming issues of Quilting Arts, we have articles on how to transfer your paintings onto fabric with fusible web and gallery quilts using photo transfers. You won’t want to miss anything, so be sure your subscription is up to date!
P.S. How do you prefer to make photo transfers? Leave your tips below.