Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Using Transfer Artist Paper or TAP on Fabric

This is the next installment of my transfer technique tutorials. There are many transfer papers out there and the most commonly known ones are T-Shirt transfer papers. One that is fairly new and less known is called Transfer Artist Paper™ or TAP™. It is the latest technology among the transfer papers on the market today. It allows the inks to combine with the polymer coating on the paper and, when heated, they fuse into the fabric and become a part of it. Other transfers sit on the surface and will fade, peel, crack, and wear away over time or with repeated washing. TAP works on cotton, cotton blends, polyester, silk, paper, leather, and many other media.
There are many others that have done very nice tutorials on this technique so mine will be brief and discuss my particular tips for using TAP™.  Great instructions are included for use with the actual product. Lesley is Queen for writing tutorials on the use of her product! Her book on using TAP comes out soon - see below for the links.

Supply List:

Inkjet printer (optional!!)
Markers, crayons, pencil crayons, stamping with inks (pigment inks work well)
Transfer Artist Paper
Fabric (or other media to iron your transfer to)

1. Prewash and dry your fabric using a mild detergent.

2. Prepare and print your design onto the Transfer Artist Paper. Keep in mind that the image will be a mirror of what you see on your screen. (also note that text must be in reverse or mirror image. I do this in Photoshop and then look at my design in a handheld mirror - just to be sure I got it right!). The TAP itself comes with great instructions for printing. (Also note that you can draw directly onto the transfer paper with markers, crayons, and colored pencils too!)

3. Preheat your iron to the correct setting for the fabric you are using (ie silk setting for silk, cotton setting for cotton ect) and NO steam!

4.Trim the transfer paper close to your image.

5. Place the TAP onto your fabric, then the included parchment paper and place iron on top for about 10 seconds. Check to see if your transfer worked by gently pealing up a corner. If not continue to iron in short amounts of time of about 10 seconds. When the paper peels up easily then your transfer is done!

6. Lesley suggests waiting a couple of days before washing your item. I personally have used these in a project that required little washing so it was months before it was washed - Today it looks the same as the day I created it a year ago!

 Pros of this method:

Being able to place your image where you want it
Finished piece has a nice hand to it - nicer than a silkscreened image in my opinion!!
You can wash it AND iron it without fear of damaging the image
Fairly economical - The ease of use and quality of the final product make it a great choice over other transfer methods.

Cons of this method: 

You are limited to the size of the transfer paper itself (though there is software available for which you can split a large image onto several sheets - you would then have to iron these seamlessly together - a difficult task and would require some practice for most!)

You need to mirror the image for text when printing - not all printers or programs allow this option

More expensive than T-shirt transfer sheets

Source Links:

Transfer Artist Paper:

Links for more Information about using TAP:

Lesley Riley's New book due out this May 2001: Create with Transfer Artist Paper
(who better to learn from than the creator herself!)

Linda Matthews Website - a talented textile artist who explores the limits of what can be done with TAP on fabric!

YouTube Video - How to use Transfer Artist Paper

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