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Home Office Decor Series #4: Ink Transfer on Canvas

Hello! I’m back this week with the fourth installment of my Office Series.

Office Wall Decor

In today’s installment, I will talk about the topmost piece in the center – the black/white canvas piece. I’ve been down with the flu this week, so I will try to refrain from rambling on as usual!

If you are interested in another item in the series, skip to that post: DIY Magnet Board & Magnets Painted Corkboard & Thumb Tacks DIY Chalkboard & Craft Stick Chalk Tray Owl String Art

This piece involves an ink transfer from paper onto canvas. It was my first time doing an ink transfer, and I will admit the process had seemed far more complex in theory than it actually turned out to be. As always, I read up as much about the process as I could in a day; this was a very helpful starting point, along with others. Most of the articles I read stressed upon the use of a good ink transfer medium such as Liquitex Heavy Gel Medium, Golden Gel Medium, and Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium. However, I try to avoid buying uni-purpose items as much as possible, so I wanted to give it a go first with some plain Mod Podge Puzzle Saver I had lying around somewhere… and, it worked! Finally, although I haven’t tried it yet, here is a recipe for making your own Mod Podge.

Some of the articles I had read also mentioned that this process does not work very well if you’re not using a laser printer. While this may be so for photos (I have not tried that), I had no issues with using an inkjet printer.

Finally, before I start discussing the steps in detail, I apologize for the lack of pictures. This was all done in my pre-blogging days, when taking pictures during the crafting process hardly ever crossed my mind! (I still suck at it, but I try to remind myself as often as I can!)

You will need:

  • Blank canvas
  • Paints (optional)
  • Sheet of paper with mirror image of text or art printed on it
  • Image transfer medium or plain Mod Podge
  • Thick paint brush
  • Water
  • Facial tissues (optional)
  • And, most important for the last step, lots of patience!


1. Paint the canvas in the colour you want as the background of your image. Let dry completely. I wanted a plain background, so I skipped this step.

2. Print out the mirror image of the text or picture you want on your canvas. If you look again at my image, it consists of a picture and some text. I first pasted the image onto a Word document, then added in the text inside a text box.

If you use Microsoft Office 2007 and beyond, flipping images/text is very simple. Right click on the picture, select Format Picture → 3D Rotation → X Rotation → type in 180º in the box. This will give you the mirror image. For my image, I did this in two steps: first for the picture, then the text box. I had to move my text box after flipping it in order to align it properly with the picture above. If you want to know about other ways to flip images or texts in Microsoft Word, read this article. To learn how to do the same in Microsoft Paint, read this article. You can also choose to flip an image online using websites such as this.

3. Using a paint brush, paint a thin layer of ink transfer medium or Mod Podge on the canvas. Make sure to cover the entire surface, but keep the layer thin or you will end up with creases in the paper and a tacky mess. This can dry out, so work as quickly as you can manage.

4. Immediately, place the printed image upon the canvas, with the ink side facing down. Smooth out any air bubbles with a credit card, or some other hard plastic card. Let it dry completely, for 8-12 hours. Do not try to realign or move the sheet of paper once it has started to set.

5. Once the sheet of paper has dried completely, place some water in a container. Using a brush, rag or sponge, moisten the entire surface of the paper with water. Do not use a lot of water, just enough to dampen it. Using your finger, start at one corner and begin to rub off the damp paper. The principle here is that you will soften the paper and rub it off, leaving the ink layer suspended in the Mod Podge or transfer medium layer. Be as gentle as you can because you do not want to rub off the layer of ink as well. I found that the paper peels off in layers, so rub off one layer, moisten it again very slightly and continue to rub off the paper. As soon as you notice some ink coming off, stop. This step may require a little bit of patience, but take it slowly and I promise you, all the paper will eventually come off.

You can see now why it is important to print out the mirror image; when you place the sheet of paper face down on the canvas, the ink transfers onto the canvas and you end up with the image facing the right way up on the canvas.

6. I will confess that I did manage to take off quite a bit of the ink in one area of my canvas. Don’t fret if you’ve done the same; just go back over it with a pen the same colour as the text and pretend it never happened!

7. This next step is completely optional. I wanted to give the surface some texture, so once the ink transfer step was complete, I let it dry once again. I first pulled apart single layers of facial tissue and crumpled them tightly into balls. Next I laid them flat again, but of course they now had creases all over. Then I painted another thin layer of Mod Podge all over the surface of the canvas, and carefully laid down the creased pieces of tissue over the surface. Creases give the surface texture, and the tissue, which dries to a clear finish, does nothing to alter the colour of the canvas. I let the surface dry completely, and finished off by painting the surface with another thin layer of Mod Podge just to make sure everything was set in place. You can achieve the same result with the kind of tissue paper used for gift-wrapping.

Ink Transfer Canvas Wall Art - texture

And, that is it! Because most of the other pieces on the wall are bright colours or patterns, I wanted a bit of relief with this one. I really like the plain, distressed finish of this piece, complete with the vintage typewriter font. It is also a nice little reminder to have, especially during those times when I’m feeling a little low on morale and/or self-esteem.

Stay tuned for upcoming additions to the Office Series. Have a good weekend, folks, and keep crafting!


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