06 May 2012

Citra Solv vs Mod Podge for image transfers on fabric

So I am in the middle of plotting out a project for my mom's birthday that requires me transferring an image to fabric.  I know, I know use some product for the printer - pass, all of the affordable ones are for ink jet and we own laser and no we're not going to run off to buy yet another another electronic device and no I am not searching for some elusive laser jet alternative, they seem to exist but are rare and yes expensive.

I found that the two most common ways that people use to transfer images from laser were Mod Podge /gel medium or some cleaner called Citra Solv.

Both methods require you to have a printed copy of your image from either a laser printer or a photo copier (check), if there is text then it must be printed mirrored (check).

The Mod Podge method required you to apply a liberal coat of Mod Podge to the image, apply the image to the fabric, let it dry, then wet the image (it will show through) and peel the paper away.  I tried this first as I have Mod Podge at home seeing as how it is a good glue/sealer.

Le sigh.  It half worked.  I applied the stuff in what I thought was an equal layer all over the image, it was showing through just fine, I was trying to peel the paper away after wetting it once it had clearly dried.  Some did.  Some did not.  Some did take to the fabric.  Some did not.  This method basically turns the ink into almost a plastic and just I don't know, for a lack of a better term, binds it to the fabric.   I cannot post the whole image as it is a work in progress / present for someone who could see this, but here is the right side of that project:

You can see where I was still peeling the paper away, but notice how dark the black is (aka true to the image because it just basically taking the whole image from the paper).  Also look at how little is there.  A lot just did not take and this is after letting it sit to dry for quite some time (all night).

Now in the meantime I was frustrated and seeing people online showing off how easy and fast the Citra Solv method was.  Fast forward to tonight and grocery shopping.  My regular grocery store (Sprouts) does carry it.  I grabbed a bottle.  We had ordered pizza and after putting groceries away I only had about 5 minutes before it would arrive so I rushed.  This is the exact same spot of the project with no real effort put in, maybe 2 minutes allowing for clean up time:
You'll note that the black ink is faded (taken during different lighting conditions but you get the idea).  Still, the whole thing took (I did not color this version, instead planning to use inktense / fabric markers after).  It does not feel at all like plastic, just soft smooth fabric.  I would not get the black ink anywhere near the Mod Podge method but this method requires basically three steps after printing and taping or pinning the design (ink side down against the fabric)- 1. lightly paint the paper with Citra Solv 2. rub it in firmly with a metal spoon 3. iron - Still faster than the Mod Podge glue to the fabric, wait for it to dry, water it down, peel away paper (not as easy as it sounds).

If I were to spend a little more time on this I'd be HAPPY with Citra Solv results even if they will never be as dark as the Mod Podge method.  The darkest spot on the Citra Solv one is fine with me, even if it looks a little "faded".  It is so much faster and easier.  I still love Mod Podge for other purposes but Citra Solv has a new fan for image transfers.  More when I finish this project and someone's birthday has passed ;)

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