My Fail with Transfer Gel – Back to Square One

Milk Painting Transfer GelBy now, you know that I am head over heels in love with milk painting. I have milk painted mirrors, picture frames, dining room chairs and table trays. But I decided that I wanted to take the creative process one step further with transfer gel.

Transfer Gel is a waterbased, thin, matte finish, clear drying, adhesive that is ideal for transferring printed images onto wood, paper or other non-oily or greasy, porous surfaces. Ideal for interior applications as it is water resistant and contains zero VOCs.

In short, what you are able to print from your computer  can now be applied to wood or paper products. Make your own signs, add a custom logo to your table tray or a quote of inspiration to the back of a chair.

Ahhhh. But not all creative projects are created equal.

It was my intent to add a simple design to the bottom of a tray destined for a coffee table.  I sanded the tray to remove some of the veneer finish. Then, I painted the entire tray with white milk paint, waxed it a bit, applied a layer of orange paint and then sanded for a distressed look.

I created the logo in photoshop and printed it in mirror configuration to preserve composition and text direction (read: you can read it when you are done!). I applied transfer gel to the image and placed the paper face down in the location I wanted it to appear.  Using a ruler, I smooth out all the air bubbles before allowing it to dry.

So far, the project looked like it was on the road to a successful finish.That was right up until the last step.

Milk Painting Transfer GelAfter 6 to 12 hours, I dampen the paper with a wet sponge. Allow the water to penetrate the paper pulp . . . and then proceeded to rub the paper, the image and even some of the paint off in the process.

Perhaps I applied the transfer gel wrong or too thick? Too thin? What was supposed to look like a Shabby Chic tray done by a professional artist had been transformed into something that looked like it had been sitting in the yard for about seven years or used as a makeshift litter box.

I was disappointed to say the least. Here was a project that I had envisioned, spent three days executing, only to see it fail within the last step. There was hope and time invested in something that ended up on the top shelf in my work room.

The beauty of art isn’t in the end product but rather the process it takes. Each project has the ability to teach us something new about our craft, our vision but also about how we can be a better crafter. Whether your medium is in the kitchen, with the written word or just painting furniture, be present in the process to further the creative end.

With that in mind, I sanded down my rough looking tray and picked up the paint brush for another go.

Here’s to the process and going back to square one.

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  1. Pingback: Nailed It: Vintage Milk Painted Signs & My Own Personal Symphony | Mike & Weegee's Random Creations

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