Emulsion transfer – lomographs onto a surface

Writer and photography / Helen Stead

Do you have tons of Lomographs and a boring home? Are you looking for alternative ways to print? Helen Stead shares her tips on how to print onto ceramic, wood, teacups, your wall.

Helen Stead Lomography Transfer

You will need:

  • White Emulsion Paint
  • A photocopy of your photograph
  • Paintbrush
  • Receiving surface (ceramic, handmade paper, wood, canvas, virtually anything!)

Why I love it

Emulsion transfers are a wonderful technique for transferring your Lomographs on to practically any surface. After rubbing away the photocopy of your image you are left with a dreamy, ghost like transfer of your photograph that looks worn and full of character and charm. What I love is how unpredictable the process is and how you can end up with something different and unique every time.

Helen Stead Lomography Transfer

The process

Firstly make a photocopy of your Lomograph. (This is really important, the transfer won’t work as well with just an image that has been printed out.)

Next, using a paintbrush cover the entire image in a thin layer of white emulsion paint (This can be bought at any DIY or hardware store)

Press the copy on to your receiving surface (canvas, book pages, wood, ceramic) and leave to dry for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Helen Stead Lomography TransferWhen the paper is completely dry, dampen the back of the paper with a wet sponge and carefully rub away the paper until your image is revealed!

The key to this technique is to try it out as many times as you can and experiment freely!

Helen Stead is a visual artist based in Manchester, U.K. She specialises in mixed media, textiles and alternative photography processes. For more of her work and tutorials you can visit her website The Creative Diarist.

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9 thoughts on “Emulsion transfer – lomographs onto a surface”

  1. Would this work better with photos printed on shiny paper, or even transparency?
    Would other transfer media – PVA, perhaps work?
    It looks like a lovely technique – one to experiment with…

  2. I’ve successfully tried image transfers using transluscent acrylic paint and acrylic gel medium. You can make a photocopy of an image or print any type of image (Lomographs, digital images, etc) with a machine/printer that uses laser jet (powder-based toner) ink. The image can be transferred onto any absorbent material such as wood, “unbaked” clay, stretched canvas and cotton fabric. The whole idea is to use the acrylic paint to “lift” the image (printed in toner ink) from the paper and “paste” it onto an absorbent surface. For best results, coat the image and also the receiving surface with generous amounts of transluscent acrylic paint and press well, making sure there are no bubbles trapped under the paper. I usually wait for at least 24 hours before carefully peeling off the paper to prevent the image from tearing before it has any chance of sticking onto the receiving surface. Hope this tip helps!

    By the way, Nitsa, “Lomographs” is a fancy name for vintage or vintage-looking photos that are produced using vintage cameras, or more specifically, Lomography toy cameras. You can find out more on http://www.lomography.com. Cheers!

  3. Could this be oridinary latex paint? That is really an emulsion. Perhaps just the difference in the cultural way of describing things.

  4. Most paint, including ordinary acrylic (“plastic”) paint, is “emulsion paint”.

  5. I’ve looked in every local art/hobby/craft store in the area and called a few more, none have emulsion paint of any sort. The only hits I find via google seem to be from Ebay-UK. Is this obtainable in the US ?

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