Laserjet Transfer on Mixed Media Collage

2012-01-13 17

I was looking for a new way to show my lomographs. I wanted to incorporate texture, mixed media, collaging and lots of contrast. I found laserjet transfers.

I was preparing to join a new art festival here in Cambodia called Art Explo. I wanted to feature some of my analogue photos, but wanted to do something different from framed prints or a LomoWall. I wanted to create something that involved a variety of textures and materials, but still highlighted the analogue nature of my photography. I decided to transfer my lomographs onto mixed media collages and textured surfaces and below is the final product.

There is a wide variety of methods that can be used to make image transfers. In this tipster, I’m going to explain the process I used to make transfers onto a canvas with a mixed media collage using materials available in most art supplies and hardware shops, including Phnom Penh where I live.

A bit of a warning here; this process takes a bit of patience and involves several steps.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • canvas – any size or shape. I used a square 90×90cm canvas for this piece.
  • collage materials. I used old newspapers, pages from textbooks and plastic feed sack material.
  • laserjet printouts of the photo or photos you plan to transfer
  • scissors
  • white glue
  • water
  • wood varnish or painters varnish
  • nail polish remover (acetone)
  • spoon
  • paint brushes

The first step is to prepare the canvas. You can apply paint or gesso or ink or any other material you like to add color or texture to the final image. To prepare my canvas, I cut and tore the newspapers, textbooks and feed sacks into pieces, then dipped those pieces into thin mixture of water and white glue until they were soaked. Then I covered the canvas with them, making sure to wrap the edge pieces all the way around the edge of the canvas. When the canvas was covered, I applied one last layer of the glue/water mixture with a paintbrush to make sure the pieces were firmly affixed.

After allowing the newspaper/collage layer (or paint or whatever other material you used to prepare the canvas) to dry completely, apply a layer of varnish. I used wood varnish because it’s all that was available in Cambodia. It had a yellowish hue to it which gave the final product an aged look. You may be able to find a more colorless varnish. After the first layer of varnish has dried completely, apply a second coat of varnish.

When the second coat of varnish has not yet dried completely, but is still tacky, it is time the laserjet prints of your photo(s).

Some tips for selecting and printing out your photos:

  • Pick images with lots of contrast. This is one of the reasons lomographs are great for transfers. Plastic lenses and cross processed color shifts can provide some great extreme contrasts.
  • When you transfer you image, the result will be a mirror image of the laserjet print. This means you need to flip your photo horizontally in photoshop or your transferred image will be backwards.
  • Make sure you are getting laserjet printouts. Inkjet printouts can also be transferred using other methods, but, using this method, I only got good results with laserjet prints.
  • You can use color or black and white printouts. I was only able to get black and white laserjet prints at my local copy shop here.
  • Make sure the prints are made on regular paper, not photo paper. Remember, eventually you want to get rid of all the paper and leave only the ink of the image.

Cut or trim your laserjet image to the size and shape you want. Since my canvas was 90×90cm and I had decided to use one photo image, I needed to tile out my image into seperate pieces to be applied to the canvas. I did this with photoshop and then printed each piece of the image on an A3 size paper and then trim all the excess border space away.

these are some of my tiled-out laserjet prints

While the second coat of varnish on the canvas is still tacky, apply your laserjet print(s) face-down on the part of the canvas you want the image transferred to. Use a spoon or your finger to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles that appear in the paper.

After you’ve applied all your prints, wait 45 minutes to an hour to let the varnish finish drying. Then use a paintbrush to apply nail polish remover to the back of the prints. Again, smoth out any bubbles or wrinkles with a spoon or your finger.

After the nail polish remover dries (this takes only a few minutes), it is time to remove all the paper from the prints. Get some water in a bowl or a spray bottle and wet your fingers with it. Then gently rub the paper and it will begin to peel up layer by layer in little crumbs. Continue this process until virtually all the paper has been removed. This is the most difficult part of the process. If the ink image hasn’t set into the varnish or if you rub too hard, the image will tear. Working on this and several other large canvasses like this, I literally lost the figerprints on my thumb and forefinger!

When you’ve removed all the paper, the final image of your laserjet print will be bold in the foreground with the mixed media collage showing through the negative space in the print.

I’ve also had success using this process with mirrors, wood and plastic.

here are some of the other transfers I did for the exhibition

By the way, there is a much easier way to make transfers like this using Mod-Podge or gel medium. Neither of those materials are available in Cambodia, so I experimented until I found this method. If you’re interested in trying the Mod-Podge method, I suggest checking out Nitsa's blog Her blog is one of the places I found inspiration for this project and she’s a fellow lo-fi photographer.

written by tiro8 on 2012-01-13 #gear #tutorials #art #vivtar-uws #holga-120n #contrast #mixed-media #texture #tutorial #collage #black-and-white #olympus-om-2 #tipster #transfer #diana-mini


  1. stratski
    stratski ·

    Wow, those transfers look amazing! Well done!

  2. undiscovered
    undiscovered ·

    Wow! Your results are amazing! Congrats!

  3. ihave2pillows
    ihave2pillows ·

    This is ART!

  4. mczoum
    mczoum ·

    This is a nice review for an alternative way to edit and transfer our collages works and images from paper to canvas with an artistic touch. Thanks for sharing it and for the explanation.

  5. hustina
    hustina ·

    This takes collage to a whole new level. Awesome!

  6. philippa
    philippa ·

    Your collage really is amazing! I love it and the tipster going with it too! Will definitely try that our one day, too

  7. szzs
    szzs ·

    A lot of work, but worth it: You have amazing results! I like especially the first one on newspaper pieces canvas.
    Thanks for sharing this detailed review!

  8. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Amazing results! Keep up the good work.

  9. rben675
    rben675 ·


  10. carsten-schmitt
    carsten-schmitt ·

    This is great stuff, mate. Seriously!

  11. didjitalsin
    didjitalsin ·

    awesome !!!! i'm speechless for a minute, great job mate

  12. tiro8
    tiro8 ·

    hey guys, thanks for all the nice comments and likes. most of the finished images i show on this tipster are rather large from 30x30cm all the way to 90x90cm, but i'm pretty sure it works well with small images too. smaller images would probably mean a lot less time, less mess and less work to some extent. so, if you don't feel up to a major project, just get a small piece of cardboard (or anything else really) and transfer onto it.

  13. maxmaclean
    maxmaclean ·

    This is really beautiful, so much so that i had a go at it myself !
    Heres the result, I'm pretty chuffed for my first go!

  14. tiro8
    tiro8 ·

    @maxmaclean really nice! and for a first go at it, your image looks incredible. it took me quite a while to start getting images that held together well enough to look how i wanted. yours held up nicely.

  15. maxmaclean
    maxmaclean ·

    thankyou! since taking that photo, the image has faded - and the constrast is less evident. did this happen to yours? I think i didn't take enough paper off it? Also, the tears/holes in the image occured with amazing ease, did you have trouble with that?

    Considering painting over it and having a second go!:)

  16. tiro8
    tiro8 ·

    the same thing happened to some of mine when i first started working on transfers. i found that rubbing harder does not help, you only end up tearing the image. instead i took a tiny paintbrush and applied small drops of linseed oil onto the image which i then spread around with my finger. a little bit will go a long way. the oil seems to take away the white residue and maintain your image's strong contrast.

  17. earlybird
    earlybird ·

    wowowow! love it!

More Interesting Articles

  • Spontaneous Doubles with the XR Redscale Film

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-12-13 #tutorials
    Spontaneous Doubles with the XR Redscale Film

    I recently found a roll of XR Redscale 50-200 film lying around in my drawer and decided to reignite my passion for embracing the weird and unexpected results that film can bring. I shot random doubles around the streets of Soho and was rather delighted with the results.

    2015-12-13 1
  • A Week With Our LomoAmigo Gema Espinosa (@rubirroja)

    written by ellakoppensteiner on 2016-07-18 #gear #people
    A Week With Our LomoAmigo Gema Espinosa (@rubirroja)

    We have a new LomoAmigo! It is the photographer and lifestyle blogger Gema Espinosa - also known as @Rubirroja on social media. Gema took the Lomo'Instant Honolulu Edition on a trip for a week and today we are thrilled to show you the result.

    2016-07-18 1
  • Black and White Photography: The Forms of the World

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-01-19
    Black and White Photography: The Forms of the World

    Colors may be amped to look unreal, like nothing of this world. Shots may be doubled, cross-processed, post-processed, mixed up into collages. The possibilities are infinite, yet some photographers still prefer black and white. Even in 2016, it is an ode to classic values of precision and balance. Light and shadow must be one pleasing dance. And just like in a well-choreographed piece, forms are obvious or playing coy. It all depends on how you're looking.

  • Shop News

    The Lomography Bazaar

    The Lomography Bazaar

    We constantly search far and wide, meticulously seek out, hunt down, and hand-pick some of the most experimental and alternative gear out there - and we've now gathered them all in one easy to browse shop category, ready for the picking! In the Lomo-Bazaar, you canalso be part of our process of collecting fresh new products, rare treasures, and crowd-funded creations to sell on the shop - after all, they’re all for you! Get in touch with us to share your suggestions for amazing gear - go on, we’re all ears!

  • 6 Infrared Films For That Otherworldly Glow

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-04-08 #gear
    6 Infrared Films For That Otherworldly Glow

    Infrared film is sought-after for its blazing highlights and enhanced depth and contrasts. Want your own version? Here's a list of films to try.

    2016-04-08 7
  • Win Your Wishlist Rumble 2015: Top Five Items

    written by lomography on 2016-01-19 #news
    Win Your Wishlist Rumble 2015: Top Five Items

    Santa got his dates and lists mixed up causing a slight delay in the delivery of your most coveted analog cameras. To make up for it, we'll let you in on a little secret: We took a peek at his workshop and found him wrapping these premium cameras!

    2016-01-19 10
  • Learning Movie Lighting Techniques to Improve Your Photos

    written by Denis Mamontov on 2016-03-31
    Learning Movie Lighting Techniques to Improve Your Photos

    I often look at movies as a source of inspiration or ideas to create a new photograph or explore a new technique to improve my skill in photography.

    2016-03-31 5
  • Shop News

    LC-A+ & LC-W Accessories

    LC-A+ & LC-W Accessories

    Combine your LC-A+ or LC-W Camera with great, fun Accessories and get 15% Discount on all Lomography Accessories when bought together with the Camera!

  • Disclosure, Lights and Music with the Petzval 58

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-11-14 #people
    Disclosure, Lights and Music with the Petzval 58

    Brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence grew up playing and mixing electronic music in their garage. Coming from a musical family, their dream was to play one day at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York City. Last month, their dream became a reality. Disclosure's debut show at Madison Square Garden was a success. Here are some of the evening's highlights, captured through the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens.

    2015-11-14 2
  • LomoAmigo: Selver Yildirim

    written by Lomography on 2016-01-12 #people
    LomoAmigo: Selver Yildirim

    Selver Yildirim is Art and Design student from Istanbul, Turkey. She also designs for the brand which she co- founded with her friends. In her designs and paintings, she incorporates a breezy take on daily life and reveals a personal yet unique approach to her work. She used the same aesthetic when she he designed a La Sardina DIY camera with whimsical illustrations and colors.

  • Neil Krug: Pulp, Rock, Color

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-10-27 #videos #people
    Neil Krug: Pulp, Rock, Color

    In 2009, Neil Krug uploaded a commercial for Pulp Art Book on Youtube. In the comments section someone asked, “Does anyone know what kind of camera he uses or how he gets his pictures to look the way they do?” Krug was on to something. He did something wildly intriguing, one that looked to have a secret formula.

  • Shop News

    The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens now ready to ship!

    The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens now ready to ship!

    Great news! Our previous KickStarter success, the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens, is now in stock and ready to ship! What are you waiting for? Go to the shop and grab yours now!

  • Crank Up the Contrast Rumble Winners

    written by Lomography on 2016-08-17 #news
    Crank Up the Contrast Rumble Winners

    For this competition, we challenged the community to blow up the contrast of their black and white shots. Take a look at the winning photographs.

    2016-08-17 8
  • 5 New York Exhibitions to See Before the End of 2015

    written by lomographymagazine on 2015-12-01
    5 New York Exhibitions to See Before the End of 2015

    Photography shows give us a sense of what's possible. For the up-and-coming artist on hiatus, visiting an exhibit might just be the wake-up call to a productive new year.

  • A Salute to the Masters: Police Games (A Tribute to Leonard Freed)

    written by sirio174 on 2016-01-30
    A Salute to the Masters: Police Games (A Tribute to Leonard Freed)

    This article is dedicated to Leonard Freed's important reportage of the difficult and dangerous daily work of New York policemen, published in his 1980 book. Here I'll show you photos of public games organized by the various police forces of my hometown Como during last year's Christmas festivities. Take a look!