A recipe for Inkjet Gelatin Transfer

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by sk_arts, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. The following post is a letter describing the process which I used in
    my current uploaded photographs, and the Arrhenphobia series which can
    be viewed as a presentation.

    I was not sure where to put this, alternative process or digital. I
    finally decided on alternative process, because the process itself is
    not in the digital darkroom. If the Mod feels that this is
    inapropriate, please note my disagreement and relocate.

    I also want to point out that I am not trying to replace polaroid! the
    results an process is similar, but not at all the same.


    The reason that you did not find much is because I am only one of two
    people that i know of anyway that have any sizeable body of work. A
    NYC fashion photographer I knew named Jessica worked with a solvent
    based inkjet transfer, I used water. My process is paper specific,
    hers was not. Mine looks more like a polaroid, hers have a more
    "flaked" apperance. Both our processes were more successful than
    previous experimenters as the coating, or "emulsion" was lifted and
    transfered, and not the ink alone, so, more ink is transfered more
    accuratly and evenly, resulting in rich blacks, something most
    alcohol/turpintine/acetone processes lack.

    Jessica kept her method top secret, I don't.

    I will tell you how I did it, I do not know if the paper is still
    available, and if it is if it has or has not been reformulated.

    In college I was for a period trying new papers, I found the
    strathmore line of inkjet papers. These papers had a very thick
    coating. One particularly so, Strathmore Photo Matte, which appeared
    to be made from a gelatine.

    When I printed on it, the blacks became very buldged with lots of
    gain, resulting in a speckled appearance. To remidy i tried washing
    the print under the faucet. It worked to some degree, and gave it an
    interesting bleached effect as well, though, I was not satisfied with
    the results.

    However, I did notice that the gelatine coating was swolen and appeard
    to lift from the page. It had a slippery, slimey feel and appeared
    thicker than it was when it was dry. If scratched with a fingernail,
    the coaiting and ink would come off onto your finger in what looked
    very similar to household gelatine.

    In the previous semester John Paul Caponigro brought out a acetone
    transfer from a color laser print. I was not impressed, but i knew
    instantly that it had potential.

    A few days later i went to the hardware store to buy a heavy
    galvanized pipe to use as a rolling pin, a rolling pin would work too,
    but i did not think of it at the time. I also bought a black
    rubber/plastic tub, about five gallons.

    I brought them back to my dorm, soaked a print for about 5 minutes and
    pressed it to some inexpensive hot pressed water color paper of fairly
    high density.

    The transfered image was very dim, and appeared that the gelatine did
    not adhere to the paper properly. For some reason it occured to me
    that the paper would become more available if it were soaked as well,
    along with the print. So I put a peice of the paper in the water and
    let it soak until it became soft.

    I then removed one of my windows and placed it on the floor. I also
    took the stand which held up my laundry basket and placed several
    window screens on it to use to dry the print. I soaked the paper and
    the print together for about eight minutes. I got kind of bored just
    sitting there, so i started to adgitate the tub gently, and found that
    this further lifted the gelatine but removed some of the magenta ink.

    I placed the wet peice of water color paper on the peice of glass. I
    noticed that the print kept sliding around, resulting in smudgy
    images. I also noticed that the back of the print slightly stuck to
    the pipe I was using.

    On the next transfer I stuck the bottom of the back of the print on
    the pipe and pressed it firmly against the water color paper. The
    print adhered to the paper, and I was able to roll without problem.

    I noticed after a while the gelitin stopped oozing from the sides, and
    I figured that was enough as all the gelatine was transfered into the
    water color paper.

    I pulled the paper apart, it was suprisingly stuck together, but not
    so much that the original would rip. The result, a perfectly
    transfered print on the water color paper, and a very, very faint
    image on the original with virtually all the gelatine coating removed.

    The transfered image has very fine patterns where the two were pulled
    apart, and the results can be very depthy and rich, but fine detail is
    completely lost in the process. The image is waterproof, and has not
    faded in four years, but is kept in a box at all times.

    I found that if you take a brush gently over the entire image, little
    is lost, but a color cast will be applied to the frame. The quality
    also changes somewhat, the texture is smoothed out, and sometimes
    brush strokes are left behind (Self Portrait Six)

    The transfer is then left to dry face up, on coastal maine this took
    about twelve hours. The transfer is then pressed and matted.

    If you try this, PLEASE let me see what you come up with. It may be
    possible to coat your own paper using multiple coats using household
    or photographic/laboratory gelatine.
  2. I just remembered that I used dilluted india ink over the entire image to tone it (Self Portrait Two and Seven in particular), this is actually how the background was shaded, and not by pulling ink from the image...
  3. The process sounds interesting but you should attach one or two examples to this thread. Sometime in the future you might wish to change your existing photo.net portfolio and, lacking examples, this text-only description would be of lesser value.
  4. Lex- Good idea, I did not think of that, I will post now ;)
  5. I've taken the liberty of attaching this image from your folder to this thread. It's a very striking example of the technique you've described. (If you prefer I'll delete it.)
  6. lex- That is the image I wanted, though i selected the wrong one.
  7. I have been doing "color transfer" as I call it for about a year now with great results (www.hubcaparte.com).

    I also started out doing Xerox transfer using acetone and wondered about doing it with inkjet prints. Most papers, especially matte papers won't transfer at all. I found the cheaper and glossier the paper, the better it works.

    I only wet the paper the transfer is going to, not the inkjet paper. I also use Matte Medium as a transfer agent with GREAT results. You have to play with it though because to much medium will wash out dark colors. I use a borrowed etching press to make transfers, as well as using brayers.

    Also, unless using archival inks, teh transfered image will fade quickly, especially the magenta. Use BullDog spray (available at inkjetart.com or something similar to "seal" teh image. I use the matte version of the spray. Can't even tell its there.

  8. I'm dabbling in transfer prints right now using digital images and I think one of the
    three transfer methods will give a new look to an old series of prints of mine.

    I like the easy brush on gel, transfer color xerox to fine paper method.
    How long do I leave the gel on before turning over onto the good paper, or do I need
    to turn it over on the paper and apply pressure and for how long?

    I also like the easy acetone print from a color xerox. Should I try to tape the xerox
    down first to prevent so much smudging? Should I brush the acetone on or pour on?
    Is pressure needed?

    A third method you'll probably all like.
    You use T-Shirt transfer paper on the inkjet, and just heat transfer onto any fine art
    paper. A friend tells me it has a funky texture when you peel it up, I guess depending
    on what you ironed it onto, and has a super nice fine art feel thats a sure thing every

    Finally, what would you call these types of prints?
    They should have a snazzy method oriented name, but I don't know what I would call
    them specifically when I display them. People seem to like that the method be called
    something. Any ideas?

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