The DASS Art alcohol gel process is the simplest way to learn how to create digital image transfers with very accessible supplies. This particular process allows you to transfer images from inkjet transparency film to porous waterleaf type printmaking papers. You are able to produce images ranging from beautifully detailed, rich, vibrant lithographic quality emulsion transfers to more uniquely faded artistic looks similar to old Polaroid image transfers. Any printer can be used to print on the transparency film as long as the ink set is pigment based. Make sure to select a media type that will use Photo Black when printing. A general Luster or Glossy setting will work.
- An inkjet printed image, in reverse, on DASS Art Dual Transfer Film or Arista-II OHP Ultra Clear 5-mil Transparency Film.
- Arches 88 printmaking paper large enough for your image. You can also use other unsized waterleaf-type printmaking papers with a smooth surface.
- Purell alcohol gel hand sanitizer. Do not use a substitute brand of hand sanitizer as the process may not work properly.
- Plastic protective cover (i.e. thin sheet or ziplock bag).
- Safety equipment: latex gloves, eye protection, respirator if sensitive to alcohol vapor.
- Foam brush and brayer
*Materials note: This process is very sensitive to fingerprints. Be careful when handling your inkjet negatives and paper substrates. Wearing latex gloves is recommended.
- In a well ventilated work area place the paper on a smooth, firm, waterproof surface. Work quickly, but carefully, as the Purell Hand Sanitizer gel begins to evaporate as soon as it is applied.
- Wearing gloves, pour/squirt the Purell Hand Sanitizer gel onto the paper spreading it evenly with the plastic scraper or brush. Add sufficient gel so that the paper is thoroughly wetted. Quickly work the gel into the surface then flip the paper over and repeat on the other side. Don’t leave excess, unabsorbed, gel on the surface it could lead to an imperfect transfer and or a bloom with white dust.
- Before handling the printed film, make sure your hands are clean of any remaining Purell hand sanitizer gel or leave gloves on. Body heat or any form of heat is a hand sanitizer's enemy in this process. A complete transfer will not happen if any form of heat comes in contact with the Purell. Your working space should be cooler than 85 degrees so that the hand sanitizer gel does not liquefy. The hand sanitizer can even be kept refrigerated until use.
- To place the printed image transfer film onto the paper, place it over the paper, without letting it touch the paper, and position it where you want the image to be. Then set one edge of the film down on the paper and slowly place the film in contact with the surface of the paper. Use glove-covered hands to smooth negative for even contact to paper. This method prevents air bubbles from being trapped under the film and causing defects in the image.
- Once the film is in complete contact with the paper, you'll need to lightly press it to complete the image transfer. To do this, cover with plastic sheet and use the brayer to lightly press the film down onto the paper. Just a couple of passes with the brayer will do. Allow the film to remain on the paper for about a minute.
- Carefully lift one corner of the film and visually check to see that the image has been transferred. If the transfer is not complete, press the film down and wait several seconds more. A very small amount of coating and ink may remain on the film. This is normal. Practicing the technique several times will tell you how long the transfer process takes. Once the image transfer is complete, slowly pick up one corner of the film and continue removing it from the paper, pulling/pealing back, not up.
- Allow the finished transfer to air dry for several hours or overnight. Don't try to accelerate the drying process as the heat may damage the appearance of the image. Don't move the imaged paper until it is completely dry. The hand sanitizer will evaporate leaving the transferred pigment print.