How to: Make a Gigantic Solvent Transfer

created at: 10/24/2011

I've been on a “big art” kick lately. And when I say “big”, I mean gigantic (check out The World's Largest Wood Type for further clarification). There's something about a traditional art or craft done at a mind-blowingly large scale that just tickles my magic beans. So I'm going to file this 15' x 10' solvent transfer sign + tutorial in my enormous folder for all things awesome.

The creative folks at The Mandate Press applied this Beatrice Warde quote to a big ol' sheet of canvas that is, hands down, the largest solvent transfer I have ever seen. If you're not familiar with solvent transfers, the process is actually quite simple:  

created at: 10/24/2011

1) Print out an image with a toner-based printer (laser printer, not an inkjet) and lay it ink-side down onto a piece of canvas or paper or wood…the list goes on.

2) Coat the back of the paper with acetone and firmly burnish all of the inked areas with a spoon or brayer.

3) Peel the paper off and, assuming you used enough solvent and pressed hard enough, the ink will have transferred from your paper to the canvas.

created at: 10/24/2011

A coupleimportant things I should mention about solvent transfers: 1) The transfer on the canvas will be a mirror image of what was on the paper, so make sure you reverse your image/text before printing it. 2) Solvents are nasty, toxic stuff. Besides acetone, I know people who use Xylene, as well as wintergreen oil (for real…it's less toxic than a lot of solvents, and it makes your entire house smell like wintergreen). Regardless of what you use, make sure you do this in a well-ventilated room and wear gloves.

Now back to the huge solvent transfer: The tutorial that was written up by The Mandate Press is great, but if you've never tried this before, I'd recommend starting a bit smaller and possibly checking out a more detailed tutorial (like this one).

Double XL Solvent Transfer + Tutorial [The Mandate Press]

Bonus: Even more photos can be seen on Flickr.