Three Things; Treasury – Acetone Prints How To

Acetone Prints How To

We are adding a technique to the treasury today that is super simple to do.

There are two crucial things you will need;

Black and white images made with a toner based device. i.e. either printed using a laser printer or photocopied by a machine with a toner cartridge. Please note this will not work with an inkjet printer or ink based all in one photocopier printer

Acetone, this can come from acrylic nail remover, which has the highest concentration of acetone. You can get this from pound shops and high street chemists.

Using acetone and laser jet printed images

This technique will transfer the toner from your image onto another surface. The other surface could be an ink jet printed image, fabric, wood or other porous surface.

If the item you want to print on is in any way precious to you then test it will withstand the acetone by dabbing a small amount on an inconspicuous area before proceeding.

Ultima Forsan by Laura Heath (detail)

The image you print will be a mirror image of your starting image so you may need to allow for this when you print your images. In this example Laura reversed the text she wanted on the image using photoshop before printing.

High contrast images work best for this technique as the acetone simply transfers the toner particles from the print.

To transfer your image…

Place it printed side down on top of the item. Make sure it is exactly where you want the final image to be.

Depending on the surface you are transfer printing on to you may want or need to masking tape the image down at the corners making sure not to cover the printed part you wish to transfer.

Soak a cotton wool ball or piece of clean cotton cloth with the acetone nail remover.

Rub the soaked pad over the back of the image making sure to cover the entire area you want transferred. Rub evenly over the image to ensure good contact with the surface underneath to make sure the entire image is transferred.

Take care not to move the image paper as you are rubbing otherwise the image will be smudged.

Once you have rubbed all over the image carefully peel back the image paper leaving behind your transfer print.

Each image paper can only be used once, the image will not transfer a second time so perhaps print or photocopy a few to practice with before making your final piece?

Memento Mori triptych by Laura Heath Mixed Media

Laura has used this acetone transfer print process to complete her Memento Mori mixed media triptych. This work was featured in earlier Works in Progress blogs on fragile fused glass which focussed on the fused glass parts, finding beauty all around which focussed on the urban photography and here you can see it finished.

We’d love you to have a go at using this technique this week and see what you can come up with. Why not send us a picture of your acetone transfer prints and we’ll add it here to the treasury. You can email or tweet us a picture or post one on our Facebook wall.

Laura runs both Fused Glass two day workshops and Photographing Natural Texture and Detail two day workshops here at Shore Cottage Studio.