Transferring an Image with Gel Medium


Transfer Image using Gel Medium to Wood or Canvas via

You can get so creative with Golden’s mediums. For this tutorial I use Golden’s Regular Gel Medium to transfer a photocopied image onto a canvas. (This is the 2nd tutorial of the “transfer” series. You can view the first one here.)

Golden Gel Medium – Regular (Gloss or Matte)
Canvas or wood
Photocopy (mirror image)

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium via
Apply a generous coat of gel medium to the canvas (I painted the canvas a lime green).

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 1 via
Place your photocopy face down on the gel and smooth gently to adhere well and remove all air bubble. (I like to use a brayer as shown below)

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 2 via
Allow the gel to dry completely for about an hour. Then dampen the back of the photocopy with water……

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 3 via
……and use your fingers to rub all the paper off.

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 4 via
The image will be left behind! Now you can seal it, paint over it….endless possibilities!

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 5 via
I photocopy lots of these images like the one above from this old book my father brought as a present from England when I was younger. When I was little I was like “great, a dusty old book” but now it is one of my most favorite possessions.

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 6 via
When closed, the side of the book pages look like below. But OPEN it JUST right…..
Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 7 via……and the pages reveal a hand-painted fox-hunting scene. It must have taken the artist forever to paint such a small detailed painting on the angled pages!

Transferring an Image with Gel Medium step 8 via


  1. Dena says

    Great tutorial. I saw this technique demonstrated and thought I'd like to try it. With your tutorial, I'll be able to. Thanks!

  2. gma says

    Thank you for this. I have tried this with different instructions and was very disappointed-this is great! Thanks.

  3. ~ Maranda @ {Evoked} ~ says

    How very clever! And I have to say that I have HUGE book envy right now! What a treasure to have…this book is amazing!

    Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial and for sharing your memories!

    Cheers! xoxox!

  4. Kathleen W. says

    You are so darned clever and crafty! I've used matte medium before and never would have thought to do this. I wonder if one can use a laser-printed image too, in lieu of a photocopier?

  5. Becca says

    OH MY GOSH! You have a fore-edge painting! These books are SO RARE. I used to work in the Special Collections Library at BYU and we had a FEW under lock and key. Seriously – I got to hold one once during four years there. If you ever need a place to donate it or want to get it valued, look them up at If it has two paintings (one going each way), it's even more unique. Here's more on the fore-edge paintings: I'm a book nut. Your dad gave you a real treasure!

    • Chris Baunach says

      I know I’m replying yeaaaars layer, but thanks for this info. Really interesting!

  6. Amy Menges says

    Wow. That is the most clever book "trick" I have ever seen! Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Lynn Richards says

    Hi Ashley, Boy I can't wait to try this one!!! And the book is amazing-what a treasure.

  8. Carol B says

    RUFFLY- hehe, have you ever heard of making ruffles with stretch (Tshirt) fabric, by cutting a circle, then cut a spiral in it? When you hold it from one end, it hangs in a soft twirly ruffle that you can attach to the front of blouses or skirts. I have no idea how you'd treat the edge for fraying, perhaps it doesn't fray.

    PS. if you flex your kids' school books the way your book is flexed back, then stamp a personal name-stamp/logo, it works excellently as an anti-theft ownership identification system. (theft of text books at schools in SA, a big prob)

  9. STELLAandHODGE says

    WOW, that transfer method is gorgeous and looks so easy!! I'm totally going to try it. Thanks for the tutorial :)

  10. Sonja Hoyle says

    I totally *heart* that book! What an awesome treasure from your dad! Oh, and the transfer tutorial is pretty kewl too! Again, I am amazed! CHEERS!

  11. Shelly and Todd says

    Aw that is super cute and sweet. I'm a sucker for old books and was about to modpodge one of the old ones that the girls tore up from Goodwill :)
    Hey, where did you get the Gel? An art supply store or craft supply store and also do you think a regular printed image (from the printer) would work also or does it have to have a special ink from copier?

  12. says

    I love this technique and you explained it so well! Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

  13. EvaForeva says

    This is trully amazing. I have never heard of gel medium but I assume I could get it at craft store. I can't wait to try it!

  14. Annalee says

    I recently found your blog, and I'm in love!! You have awesome artistic ability, and great tutorials!! Thank you for sharing your talents with those of us who…lack?

    I ran to the store tonight, so I could try this…I couldn't find that gel. Will anything else work in its place??

  15. Homemade Mamas says

    We have loved this project from the moment we first saw it here! We've been playing with it for a while, and have posted about it (linking back to you, of course).

    Thanks for the great idea!

  16. krader says

    Just wondering if this technique works with the toner from a color copier or color laser printer or if it has to be old school B&W copier toner. Thanks!

  17. Lil Miss Red T-Shirt says

    Cool book! Never seen one with a secret image like that on the side.

    I’ve got to try this transfer method. It looks so fun. I’ve never thought about how to photocopy something backwards, either.