A gin transfer is an artistic technique for transferring an image, such as a photograph, to polymer clay. The image is rubbed with gin and then burnished. Alternatives include T-shirt transfer paper. The process and technique is simple and non-toxic but requires a high quality paper to be effective.
1. Condition the clay by putting it through the pasta machine until it has softened, and become smooth and pliable.
2. Place the clay on a smooth ceramic tile covered with parchment paper and gently smooth it flat. Use your finger pads to flatten any ridges and smooth the surface.
3. You can cut or, stamp and cut the clay to project sizes now or wait until designs are transferred to the clay.
4. Trim excess paper from your transfer. Remember the image will be reversed once transferred, so your photocopy should be a mirrored image of your original.
5. Place photocopie s where wanted, TONER SIDE DOWN ON THE CLAY. Use your fingertips, and starting in the center of the paper, smooth out towards the edges of the paper. Use a light touch so as not to distort the clay or gouge the clay with fingernails. The ink will not transfer to the clay if the paper and clay are not in contact with each other. Body heat helps this process.
6. Trim away any excess clay.
7. Next, dampen the back of the paper with a thin coating of Transfer Liquid. Dab it on sparingly with your fingertips or a fine sponge brush that has been squeezed until nearly dry. Cover all parts of the paper that have ink on them. It is important not to use too much of the Transfer Liquid so always blot with a paper towel immediately after applying.
8. Next burnish with a burnishing tool of choice, metal burnisher, bowl of a teaspoon or the edge of a bone folder. Start in the center and work your way to the edges. Do not use heavy pressure or you'll gouge or distort the clay. Be thorough, and burnish over all of the paper. While burnishing, you will see the image fade away even more. Cover the whole area and spend time on the edges. This should take no more than one minute.
9. To remove the top layers of the paper start in the center and use the pads of your fingertips. Roll the top layer of paper off the clay. Use a side to side or up and down motion. No circular rubbing. The paper is going to start rolling up from the clay into small, balled bits. Sometimes if the piece is large or a vent is blowing on the piece, the Transfer Liquid dries too quickly and the paper is no longer damp. If this happens, dampen your fingertips with Transfer Liquid and continue to remove paper. Again, watch the amount of liquid you are putting on the clay, blot the excess with a paper towel and allow the piece to dry slightly. If you continually apply too much Transfer Liquid in this process it will cause the transferred toner to feel tacky and smear or cause bubbles to appear in the clay during the curing process.
10. Gently brush away any loose lint and paper rolls from your clay. Do this frequently with a large soft bristle brush. This clears the work are of paper bits that can get stuck in and contaminate clay.
11. To remove the last layer of lint and paper, slightly dampen your finger pads with the Transfer Liquid. Starting in the center of the image that has been revealed, use a circular motion to rub the lint and paper away. Some lint will remain, especially on very dark transfers. That is fine; we will have one final cleaning of the transfe r after the curing.
12. Allow the image to air dry a few minutes.
13. Do any final pattern cutting or trimming. Slightly dampen any section to be trimmed or cut with Transfer Liquid, the toner can crack slightly when dry.
14. Square any corners that need it.
15. After you have finished transferring the image, resist repeatedly touching the surface while you are completing any other steps for your project before curing the clay. Your fingers can warm the surface and distort the clay or lift off a little of the toner. The toner is at first embedded into the clay but as it sits, it tends to rise on those containing a lot of dark toner.
16. Finish any steps required for your project and cure the clay as previously instructed.
17. Remove clay from oven and tile to cool.
18. The last bit of lint can now be removed from the transfer by wetting the surface of the transfer with water and rubbing with a lint free towel in a circular motion.