Image Transfer with Matte Medium

Did you know you can create your own Image Transfer in your Art Journal using matte medium? It’s a bit time consuming to do, but fun to try. You can transfer images to canvas or any other flat surface too. Why not let it be the start of a new art piece?

Peeking through - an image transfer how to by iHanna #imagetransfer #artjournaling

Do you have a bottle of Matte Medium in the house? I bet you do, because it’s almost a mixed media must have! It is an acrylic polymer emulsion that you can mix into your acrylic paint to increase its translucency and the paint flow. It can also be used as a liquid glue when you are making collage and decoupage, and that is why I buy it. And as an additional use to all of that, you can use it to do image transfers…

For my image transfer, I used a black and white copy of a women’s face, and transferred it using acrylic matte medium.  Here’s how I did it:

Let’s try this!

Pink paint brush used when making the image transfer - photo by iHanna

How to make an Image Transfer

You cover the image of choice with the matte medium and then turn it face down onto a prepped surface. It is like you are hiding the image by gluing it face down. Burnish to make sure it sticks but leave a few edges so that you have a starting point when you peal it of later.

Once the medium is dry you wet the image with water and rub away the paper by carefully rolling it with the tip of your fingers.

Woman not smiling image transfer by iHanna

Rub and burnish the paper away. If you are lucky all the paper will roll up and the black print colour will stay on the page…

Then that is what we call a successful transfer, and…

Liquitex Professional Matte Fluid Medium


The smooth paint surface that you create when you paint with a plastic card is perfect for an image transfer or some journaling. I don’t do image transfers very often because it is time-consuming, but I really like the result of this page.

What do you think, isn’t it a rather fun technique?

BTW, I am using this Matte Fluid Medium, but I believe any transparent matte medium will work – but giving different results perhaps. Plus, don’t forget it’s perfect to use as a light glue for napkin decoupages for example.

Woman not smiling close-up - a photo of an image transfer in the how to tutorial by iHanna #artjournaling

This is just one of many ways that you can do an image transfer. Let me know if you try it out!

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30 Responses to Image Transfer with Matte Medium

  1. pocketct says:

    TIP: Sometimes if you do this from magazines, the paper won’t come off all the way and the image is really cloudy. If you rub a little oil (jojoba or olive) the paper becomes translucent and the transferred image much clearer. Of course if you are adding layers on top or using markers the oil can ruin the marker so watch out. You can also add a layer of gel medium on top and then it won’t be oily.

    Credit for this is Rebekah Patnode, who unfortunately doesn’t have a blog or I would link here.

    • Jayne says:

      I have also found that putting a coat of clear nail polish gets rid of the cloudy image and helps protect the image from wear and tear.

    • judy stih says:

      can I transfer a toner copied picture onto a prepared wooden surface board?
      by prepared I mean it has a white coating already on it.
      I don’t want to waste either, the picture or the board so I wanted to ask first.
      yes I do use Matt med for transfers but so far I have painted the surface
      first, but I don’t want a paint around this picture.

      • iHanna says:

        Judy, it’s not a works-every-time kind of thing, so I suggest you practice a few times on other surfaces if this one is precious to you. But yes, it should work on wood too, painted or not, although the background might show through of course.

        Good luck.

  2. Regina says:

    Hi Hanna,

    Great transfer, thanks for explaining the process!
    Regina, St. Maarten, DWI

  3. jacquie says:

    wow, the painting and the transfer is a lovely combination. quick questions- does it have to be a photocopy or can it be a printed image- say from a home printer? If the later, does it have to be a laser printer?

    I would love to try this method! Thanks :)

  4. Great color and wonderful transfer!!

  5. iHanna says:

    Thanks for commenting! Just like CT says above you can do this with magazine images and also prints from your home printer! I’m not sure it would work with laster prints, so no, you don’t need a laser printer! :-) I hope you will try it out and let me know what works for you!

  6. Adrianne says:

    Really gorgeous. I love the look of black pattern on color, or black lines on color. Hmm, time to get to down to the basement and work on something! Thanks for the post, Hanna!

  7. Danielle says:

    Hope it works with laser printers. I’ll try & see. Thanks for sharing this process & love the how yours turned out.

  8. Orly Avineri says:

    That looks great what a nice and simple new way (for me) to transfer an image…very cool.

  9. Michelle says:

    I love this so much! I don’t have matte medium but I’m definitely going to give this a try!

  10. Barb Black says:

    Ahhh… thank you! A Portugese friend of mind had sent me some mail art using this technique. He tried to explain it to me, but our language barrier left it too ambiguous. Now I know!

    And thanks for stopping by MY blog! :-)

  11. Elisabet says:

    I sometimes use the technique on textiles, as a background or complement for embroidery. I use my own photos, cut them and mirror them in Photoshop and then print the image.

  12. iHanna says:

    Thanks for your lovely comment!
    Elisabet, I’d love to see your work sometimes and learn about your process of embroidery! Oh and yes, I’m thrilled to get a comment from you! How is it going with the blog? XOXO

  13. Elisabet says:

    Nothing has happened so far with the blog. I need your help! But as soon as I have a blog I will be able to show you what I do.

  14. Tamera says:

    What weight is your matte medium?

  15. Festive image transfer! It’s an effect that’s hard to get any other way. It’s fun to see the face mixed with you lovely painted surface; wonderful!

  16. martha lever says:

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your comment. And I LOVE this image transfer and you know I am digging those colors!!! I have tried image transfers before and I love the effects and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. You have an excellent transfer here!!!!!

  17. mimilove says:

    Hi Hanna!
    I got here eventually…so thank you again for your visit and lovely comments!

    I’ve never tried this technique before but I LOVE the effect, I definately will be trying this (if i ever get the time!)…so please be braced for lots of “HELP!!” emails! x;0)

  18. Chris says:

    Hanna, you did this SO well! I have never done one of these. I have thought about it before, but I am scared it won’t work for some reason so I’m just being silly. I love my matte medium. I use it all the time. I think it’s my favorite supply! You’ve made some beautiful pages, here.

  19. Jen says:

    Hi Hanna! I love this transfer! I am curious about what brand you use of matte medium, I live in Sweden so it would be great to get a recommendation. I have never dared to buy any in fear it would be the wrong kind for using as liquid glue…

  20. iHanna says:

    Hey, thanks for commenting!

    Tamera, I’m not sure what weight (it doesn’t say on the bottle) but one is fluid medium and the other one is gel medium, both works as glue/transfer medium! :-)

    Jen, the best thing about matte medium is that it doesn’t matter what brand you use – all of it is sticky like glue! I’ve used one from Liquitex and it says matte medium or matte gel medium on the bottle/tube. I hope you try it out!

  21. iHanna says:

    Hey Mimi, thanks for commenting on my blog too, and thanks for the flickr message, I was thrilled that you wrote me! I love your embroidery and have added you to my Link Love List. Your artwork rocks!

  22. This is such a great idea! I love image transfers and haven’t done any in a while! An image transfer is a great idea for a spread I am doing right now! I have the perfect image and I am trying it in a sepia tone to see if that works??? I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  23. Breeze Jerry says:

    i Remeber doing something similar to this at school but im not quite sure what the technique was. all i remember is putting a white thick paint like substance onto my picture than putting my paper ontop. i let it dry and used a damp rag to rub off the picture paper. i forgot what this technique was called? help

  24. Erinne says:

    Can you use Creative Inspirations Acrylic Medium Polymer Medium Matte as a glue? Its worded differently than what you described above……. Its just that I found it at a very reasonable price, I havent bought it yet because I was unsure. I am trying to find something to use as a glue as well as a sealer……….

    • iHanna says:

      Hi Erinne,
      I don’t know about specific brands, but to my knowledge any acrylic “matte medium” can be used as a glue, for transfers and as a sealer. It’s not the best glue in my opinion, but for thin papers like tissue paper and napkins it’s the best. I suggest you buy it and try it out.

      Good luck!

  25. Valérie says:

    Hi Hanna, I love your work. Which gel did you use exactly ? Thank you !

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