I love TAP and use it pretty much every day.
Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) is photo transfer tool. It gives you a lot of flexibility because it can be transferred onto almost any surface and can be added at any stage of a design process. Fabric you print onto will always need to be stitched into the project, but TAP can be applied over layers at the beginning, middle or end of a project. It can be applied to fabric, paper, card, leather, tiles, wood and even glass. TAP is paper sheets coated in a polymer which catches and then binds colour to objects. You can print onto it with an ink jet printer or draw, stamp, stencil – basically add colour in any way you want.
Transfering images with TAP is not hard and the quality of the image you can get can be crisper than any other transfer process, but there are a couple of hints that will help you do this. Here they are:
- Use a high quality, large image. What you start with is what you get. If your image is not a high resolution and is pixelated or will become so if enlarged, then it won’t improve in the transfer process. You can increase the dots per inch and the colour saturation in most picture software.
- Reverse your images. This is essential with people you know, words and phrases and landmarks that are identifiable. If you create all your images, including any text as a picture, it is very easy to reverse.
- Print onto the white side. This is the right side. When ironing onto your fabric, the right side (white) goes face down onto the surface you are transferring it onto.
- The TAP is not A4 in size. Open up a Word document and change the Page Layout to Letter. Reduce the margins as much as you can.
- When you iron the TAP, use a hot dry iron. You are melting the polymers onto your fabric, so the heat must be sufficient to melt all of the polymer evenly across the whole piece.
- Remove the backing paper immediately. Do not allow it to cool down or your image will be damaged when you pull the backing paper away.
- MOST CRITICALLY – if, as you pull the backing paper off, there is grabbing or resistance – STOP. Replace the backing paper and iron again. The backing paper should slip straight off without any grab. Pulling when there is resistance will cause you to lose or damage some of your image.
- The surface that you apply the TAP too will determine the finish. TAP is semi transparent, so you will see colour, texture and patterns behind the image. This can be a powerful design tool, but make an informed decision about the finish you are after. See images below.
- A textured or uneven surface will result in a textured or uneven transfer. See the image of the TAP on Crash for an example.
- The finer the fabric, the harder it is to transfer onto. If in doubt, keep ironing. It will be okay.
Look at some comparisons on using it. This first image is the original photo printed on white card.
I then printed multiple copies of the photo onto the TAP ready to transfer onto different surfaces.
As the TAP is semi transparent, each surface that the image is printed onto looks different. When you know what the TAP is going to do on various surfaces, you can manipulate it to suit the finished effect you want for you project.
These next two are on a light coloured patterned cotton and a coloured (green) cotton. You can see that the colour and texture show through influencing the image.
The next transfer is on heavy weight Lutradur. Again, the texture influences the image. Next to it is a light weight Lutradur in Gold. Colour and texture influence the image significantly here.
When you iron the TAP onto an uneven surface, the transfer will only occur on the places where the top of the surface comes in contact with the TAP. Imagine photos on lace or white cord etc. This next image is on Lutradur Crash (now discontinued, sadly)
The final image I am going to show you today is the picture ironed onto a hand dyed silk georgette. This effect is lovely and has a lot of potential to explore.
So, dive in and play. The potential is unlimited.