I’ve been on a serious image transfer kick lately!* I just love the way you can create such a polished yet wonderfully original, handmade item using any photo, text, or anything at all! Since it’s the week before Christmas, you can’t blame me for sharing ornament tutorials two days in a row, right?
Image Transfer Christmas Ornament Photo Gifts
- Plain white Christmas ornament – 3″ diameter, unfinished or glossy
- Copier or inkjet printer
- Blender pen
- Pencil Draw free Photoshop action (optional)
1. Prepare your blank ornament by cutting off the ribbon or string it came with.
If it’s a glossy ornament, clean off the surface with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils. If it’s unfinished, just use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe away any dust.
2. Choose a photo with a simple background so that the focus is on the people/pet/whatever in the foreground. Shrink it enough so that it will fit onto your ornament. My ornaments were three inches (3″) in diameter, so I printed my photo sized at three inches wide and tall. If you have anything like text on your image, you have to print it as a mirror-image so that the transfer will come out in the right direction.
This is optional, but it gives an interesting appearance to the final image. You can use this free Pencil Draw Photoshop action or something similar to convert the photo to something more like a coloring book image. It simplified the images and gives you a cleaner transfer.
3. Print the image onto regular printer/copy paper using an inkjet printer or a copy machine. Laser prints won’t transfer.
4. Cut out the image, leaving some paper around the edges.
5. Center the printed image over the ornament, and fold the edges of the paper around to the back. Tape it into place to keep the image from sliding around and blurring your transfer.
6. Color over the back of the image with the blender pen. It’ll become more transparent, almost like there’s oil on the paper. That’s how you can tell where you’ve already marked. Color over it once; don’t oversaturate it, or you’ll have a blurry, smudged transfer.
7. Put the cap back on the blender pen, and use it to rub over the whole image. You’re basically rubbing and pressing the image from the paper onto the surface of the ornament, so try not to miss any spots.
8. Once you finish rubbing the image onto the ornament, peel away the tape and life the paper off the ornament. The image on the paper will probably be a little lighter now that you’ve transferred some of the toner.
If you’re making multiple ornaments, you’ll need a new printout for each. Don’t try to reuse a transfer page.
9. Your image is now transferred onto the ornament!
Glossy ornament: The one in the picture above is a regular photo transferred onto a glossy ornament so that you can see the different finishes you can get by mixing supplies.
Unfinished (bisque) ornament: The one in the picture below is a “coloring book” style photo transferred onto a non-glossy, unfinished ornament.
10. Now you can add whatever embellishments you like. You can paint the background or the subjects, like I did. You could also add glitter or glue rhinestones onto the ornament! Finish it off with a clear sealant (glossy or matte) to protect it for years to come!