Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

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Summer is coming to an end and I have a perfect way to keep those summer shots and travel photos close at hand. Using the same method as the transfer image canvases, preserve those memories by creating photo transfer journals. Transfer favorite photos from summer trips, family events or shots of every day life (those are my faves!) The journals will be beautiful and can hold writings of your travels, adventures and memories.

This is our last Endless Summer Project post of the summer though it seems like we just started. It’s been so wonderful to work with Ali of Alexandra Hedin, Jen from Classic Play, Melissa of Lulu the Baker and MJ of Pars Caeli. They are creative, supportive, kind and hilarious women and it was a treat to collaborate. School starts in less than two weeks for us so our summer days are numbered. It’s been a good one. And don’t you worry. Our little group has a few fun things in the works.

Now back to the project.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

The cover of the white canvas journals is very similar to the surface of wrapped canvases and the process is almost identical. The journal is on the smaller size which makes the work process less but the results are just as rewarding.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

The journals don’t just have to be summer or travel related. I made up one with images of Love Bug and one with images of Sweet J. The children were tickled to see their faces on the book covers and I hope to use them as journals for this year.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Supplies

-journals with white canvas cover – I got mine here
-gel medium – Golden Gel Medium in Regular Gel (Gloss or Matte)
-high resolution, toner-printed image/photo
-foam brush
-spray bottle filled with water
-cotton rag – I use an old washcloth for the texture
-wax paper

***As I linked to in the beginning, I have expounded at length about the image transfer process. If you have any questions or concerns, please check this post. It might offer further direction/help.

The quality of the image or photo is key. Both full color and black and white images work, as would sepia and any other form of photo treatment.

-Make sure your image or photo is high resolution. High resolution means a clearer picture and a clearer picture means a clear transfer. If a favorite pic doesn’t look good in a big size, try scaling it down for a smaller canvas.
-Reverse the image, especially images that include text. Programs like Photoshop or Corel will do that.
-Size the image.
-Make sure the image or photo is printed on 20lb paper. If the paper is any thicker, the transfer won’t happen.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

First, to protect the pages from the dampness of the gel medium and water, wrap the page block in wax paper. Guess if you don’t care for warped pages you can skip this step but warped pages are hard to skip.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Spread an even layer of gel medium on the surface of the canvas cover with a foam brush. It needs to be as even as you can get it. Not too thick, not too thin, no globs and no blank spots. Inconsistencies in the medium will prevent a good transfer.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Close up of the gel medium.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Lightly spritz the printed side of the image and lay it face down on the prepared gel.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Smooth it down starting in the middle of the page and gently working outwards. Be careful. Damp paper rips easier. As the paper dampens further, more wrinkles and bubbles can appear. Just keep watching and smoothing. Repeat the process at this time if you would like an image on the back cover.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Let the paper and cover(s) dry completely. Overnight is a good length of time.

When the covers and images are dry, use the spray bottle to wet the paper surface until you can see you image. Carefully remove the paper. The first sweep usually includes large pieces, like the extra that is hanging over the edges and such. If you rush or try to do it too quickly, parts of the image can pull away with the paper.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

After the larger pieces are gone, begin rubbing and the wet paper will ball up and peel away. I use both my fingers and a damp rag to remove the paper. The rag has extra texture and really helps remove the paper. The transfer will probably rub away easily on the edges of the cover and spine and in the ‘hinge’ area between the cover and spine. If that bothers you, you can consciously avoid over rubbing that area or just accept it. I like the character it adds.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Repeat the process until you are satisfied. Know that it will never be perfect. There may be spots or bits of the image that pull away and leave white spots. When it looks just as perfect as it can, top it with a clear coat. The gel medium works, as will Modge Podge.

My little trick:

Before the final coat, spray the canvas again. Use a towel to wipe away the excess water leaving the canvas damp. The white paper is invisible when the paper is damp. It shouldn’t be dripping or soaking wet, just damp enough that the paper is not visible. Finally, apply the clear coat and the paper bits will stay invisible.

Rinse and repeat the process for the back cover.

Endless Summer Projects: Photo Transfer Journals | Classic Play - Pars Caeli - Lulu the Baker - Alexandra Hedin - this heart of mine

Happy end of summer. :)

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Amy Christie

Amy is a wife, mother of two and a maker. Making is her thing whether it is food, DIYs or photos of her children. Follow Amy on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Twitter, and through her once-a-month newsletter to keep up with the latest from this heart of mine.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Rose D'Angelo Designs August 20, 2014, 9:11am

    We’ve made several of these already this summer because I know we will enjoy looking back at all the fun times we had. It will keep our spirits up while we suffer through the frigid Northeast winter!! Hope you are enjoying your days!!

  • Jillian In Italy August 20, 2014, 3:03pm

    These are so fantastic. Can’t wait to try them out. I’m thinking they might be the perfect Christmas present for the grandparents as well…

  • Helen August 22, 2014, 12:18pm

    Amy, these are so lovely! I will be making some for my girls – what a great gift.

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