Alternative Lomograph Printing With Emulsion Transfers!


Ever wanted to do something different with your photographs? I will give you a step-by-step processes to make black and white Lomograph prints in a creative, messy and alternative way!

If you have a good memory (or surfed the archives) you may recognize a tipster from the Creative Diarist.

And normally I’d stop there since it’s pretty much been written but I haven’t found anyone on here who has done it successfully. Most of the comments I’ve seen has been of people who have made a mess than a cool Lomo print. So I set out to chronicle the process step-by-step, making note of the things I found out while going along.

Some notes before you start

What is emulsion paint? Yeah, I felt kind of dumb googling that only to find out that it’s the British term for standard latex based house paint. Because it’s made of an emulsion of paint and water (since it’s water based) is why it’s called “Emulsion Paint”. I personally use an Indoor/Outdoor acrylic latex enamel, but you could probably use regular house paint too.

Another is the transfer image. The previous article stated it needed to be a photocopy of you’re print. This is a big one. The reason this is important is that a photocopier (or laser printer) creates the image on the paper using a powder like ink (like a powder paint). This is the stuff that will be transfered when all is said and done. Typical home ink jet printers use ink that runs when water gets on the paper and won’t work. At best you might get some ink transfer but not sure if it will even be your image after you remove the backing paper.

About the image you choose. From my work, it seems to work best with a high contrast image (for black and white). The photocopy with make it mostly high contrast but it’s best that the image is already high contrast to begin with so it will look best when it’s done. Also, remember it will be a reversed version of your image. So if your image has text you with to preserve in it’s proper form when the piece is done, you will need to mirror the image in a photo editing program.

What can you put it on? Well, anything you can successfully apply paint to. Wood, paper, dry wall, I’ve even tried it on and egg once (just scrub the paper off lightly, or you’ll have a mess…a runny, runny mess.) Though for this tutorial used cold-rolled watercolor paper.

Now that we got that established (or if you skipped all of that), here is what you will need:

1. Latex (emulsion) paint (I use white, but sure other colors would work too since the paint is more of a bonding agent for the ink.)
2. A photocopy (or laser printed) image of your Lomograph.
3. A surface of your choosing.
4. A paint brush
5. A sponge (I use one with a green scratchy side, but I’ve also just used my fingers too).
6. A work area you don’t mind getting a bit damp.

Step One:
Prepare your surface and your work area. Doing this will only expedite the process and make it more fun. I personally like to play my favorite music when I create these.

Step Two:
Prepare your image. Trim any excess copy paper. Now, this is very important, paint the surface of your copy paper image.

*Tip: You can get creative with this part. You can cover the parts of the image you want transfered and leave the rest untouched. Only the painted parts will be transferred.

Step Three: Place your now painted image onto the surface (painted part contacting the surface you with to transfer too). I like to press down on my image and get rid of the wrinkles in the copy paper but you could leave it be for more artistic effect. Now let it dry for about 24 hours for good measure.

Step Four: Now that it’s setup, wet the paper. I use a water bottle to control how much water I put on. Once the copy paper soaks up the water you can start scrubbing. I usually start a spot with my thumb and then jump to the spounge and go from there.

Step Five:
Wipe off what’s left of the copy paper and enjoy! If using water color paper, use the proper water color drying routine and likewise for other surfaces.

written by chocochipcookie on 2011-10-18 in #gear #tipster #emulsion-transfer #lomo #tutorial #tipster #art #emulsion #transfer


  1. emilios
    emilios ·

    great tip

  2. chocochipcookie
    chocochipcookie ·

    If anyone was wondering, I had tried doing this with spray paint and it didn't work due to the petroleum based chemicals used to dilute the paint to make it spray-able. When it dries it tends to make the backing paper water resistant. Forgot to mention that in the tipster.

  3. sidsel
    sidsel ·

    Thanks for sharing such a cool tipster! Can't wait to try it myself!

  4. homer
    homer ·

    This is really cool, i'm off for the next two days and will certainly be trying this out

  5. homer
    homer ·

    Also, probably the best tipster articles I've read to date.

  6. materne
    materne ·

    it would be realy cool if you could enlarge your pic to the size of your entire wall, so you could paint youe entire home with lomographs.

  7. cameranious
    cameranious ·


  8. gm_mcleod
    gm_mcleod ·

    i was just thinking about this!! great and thank you!

  9. stratski
    stratski ·

    Ooo, weekend project!

  10. chocochipcookie
    chocochipcookie ·

    No problem everyone! Feel free to ask questions! Have fun!

  11. kdstevens
    kdstevens ·

    A similar process works with acrylic matte medium: paint the surface with the medium, use a brayer or other device to firmly press the image onto the surface, but here it's different: after a few seconds, lift the paper and the image should be transferred. I think acrylic medium is less mess the house paint plus it's clear.

  12. jeffr
    jeffr ·

    can't wait to try this! thanks for the tip!

  13. stratski
    stratski ·

    Hi! I just tried this, and it works perfectly with color prints as well.
    Thanks again for the cool tip.

  14. chocochipcookie
    chocochipcookie ·

    That is awesome! Thanks!

  15. zjerke-emael
    zjerke-emael ·

    Have to try this too! First thought about to do it on wood (like it's done here:, but since I do water colour painting, I have a lot of strong water colour paper in lots of different sizes. So thanks for this tip!!!

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