Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fabric Transfer with Citrasolv

Lots of words in this post.  Bear with me.  It's worth it.
I've been looking for a way to transfer a design from paper to fabric.  There are the iron-on transfer papers, but they leave a plastic-like residue on the fabric.  I really don't like that.  Stencils are a good way to get a design onto fabric and they're fine, but you're pretty limited to larger shapes and letters, plus they're expensive to buy and difficult to cut yourself.  

You see, I wanted to try to make my own "french laundry bag" looking fabric.  The Graphics Fairy has so many great designs and old ads and I wanted to put those onto fabric . . . and then use the fabric for pillows, towels, or fabric buckets.


 I read about using Citrasolv to accomplish this.  It says you need to use copies that have been made on a toner based copy machine - not your typical home printer.   I went to Kinkos and asked.  Yes, all their printers are toner based.  So I pulled some art off the Graphics Fairy, and then combined them with some ideas of my own and printed them.  (Remember to print any letters, words, and numbers in the mirror image or you won't be able to read anything you transfer!)

Then, off to Kinkos with my copies.  

Next, to find Citrasolv (it's NOT readily available but I found some at our local health food store).  The large bottle was about $10.00.  It is very concentrated but you use it full strength for this project.  I figure what I don't use for transfer projects, I can use for cleaning!   


So I got started.  I folded a towel in half on the bathroom counter.  They say you need a padded surface under the fabric and paper so there's some "give".  On top of the towel I placed my 100% prewashed cotton fabric.   On top of THAT, I placed my printed paper design from Kinkos, face down.  Then use masking tape to hold it in place so your design transfers neatly without moving around.

Use a rag or cotton ball, dip it into a little bowl of Citrasolv, and wet the paper surface.  You'll see the design through the paper right away.  Don't douse it, just get it wet.  I let mine sit for about 3 minutes to let the Citrasolv really soak the paper and loosen that ink.  Then start to burnish the design using a big spoon.  It works best if you use the edge of the bowl of the spoon.  Just keep rubbing all over on the design, pressing hard, and pretty soon you'll be able to see that the paper is getting a little blurry.  That means the ink is coming off the paper and going onto the fabric.  That's good!  Be patient.  It takes a couple minutes.  Once the design has transferred (you can peek, but be careful you don't move the paper in case you need to burnish some more), you're supposed to set the ink on the fabric by ironing it, wash the fabric to get out the Citrasolv (it's kind of orangy colored), and iron it again.

Ta! Da!  You're done!
 I didn't really think it would work, because after quite a bit of rubbing nothing was happening.  But, again, be patient, because all of a sudden it starts to transfer.

I combined a few things for my pillow design.  I used a Paris postmark from the 1830s (The Graphics Fairy), and then added the house number, 601.  It makes a nice "thank you pillow" for Jan and Bob in McKinney - since that's their address!

The postmark part of the transfer.
And the house number.

Now you have a really neat little pillow that could very well be made from some old, antique, french laundry bag that you bought on your last visit to Paris for $129 from that pretty little antique store around the corner from your hotel after you enjoyed your cafe au lait and baguette with peach jam. 


It could be your very own imitation of the same.  

No one needs to know!

This post is shared on:
Transformation Thursday,

Thrifty Thursday,

White Wednesday,




Anne said...

Hi Nan, interesting post! I really like the faded look of the transfer on the cloth, wonderfully 'worn.' Did you know you can print right onto fabric? I just made a pillow that way using a Graphic Fairy image. Here's where I learned how to do it...http://myrepurposedlife.blogspot.com/2010/08/printing-on-fabric.html

Junker Newbie Stephanie said...

Great post! I've been wondering how to do that. thanks!

Swampgirl said...

Good job! I've had my eye out for Citrasolv, now I will double my efforts to find some!

Amanda said...

Thank you for your detailed instructions on how to do this fabric transfer method! I have been wanting to try it but had a lot of questions about the process...all of which you answered here! I also haven't been able to find the product in any stores. I think I will go ahead and order some from Amazon now! Your pillow turned out lovely!
Best Wishes and Blessings,

Judy said...

What an interesting process. I love that pillow...it looks so french. I am your latest follower. I would love for you to come and check out my blog and follow me back. Thanks so much.

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

Beautiful work. I just transferred my first image onto fabric, just for practice, and I LOVE the way it looks. I love how you used several different graphics all at once.

Laura said...

I'd like to know if it is safe to wash the fabric after you made the transfer with CitraSolv, does the ink come off?

Tammy @ Type A said...

you can buy it at whole foods.

La Maison Reid said...

This is also something I have wanted to do for a while. Just have to shop for that Citrasolv! Just love how yours turned out. You inspire me.


La Maison Reid said...

Oh...I forgot to ask...does this work with color prints of just black and white?


Susan Hanson said...

Thanks for your tips. I just tried this process on fabric last night and it wasn't a success but maybe I didn't rub long enough. I've had good luck doing Citrasolv transfers on paper so maybe a little more practice with fabric is what I need.

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