Transfer to Polaroid

Time to dig out those old Polaroid photos you took many years ago. There was a reason you kept it. Read on and Nitsa Malik will tell you what do to with them.

Writer and photography / Nitsa Malik

Do you have more than a few failed Polaroids lying around in your drawer? Did you ever look at these Polaroids and thought to yourself “Now, what can I do with these failures?”

Nitsa Malik Polaroid image transfer

Well, if you ever did, have no fear; there IS something you can do with this unsuccessful bunch, so don’t trash them yet. You are going to transfer an image onto these old Polaroids, which means the Polaroid acts as the receiving surface.

What you need to fix your Polaroid photos:

  • Laser or inkjet print (black & white or color)
  • Used Polaroid 600, Spectra or SX-70
  • Gesso
  • Mod Podge or gel medium
  • Workable fixative (optional)
  • Water spray bottle
  • UV-resistant gloss finish


Nitsa Malik Polaroid image transfer1Prepare the Polaroid to receive the image by lightly sanding the surface in order to de-gloss it.

Nitsa Malik Polaroid image transfer2Use Gesso to coat the image area of the Polaroid so the surface is unified. Choose a photocopy of your image, trim to size, cover with Mod Podge and place it face down onto the Gesso covered Polaroid.

3After choosing the image to transfer trim it to the size of the Polaroid’s image area. If you are using an inkjet printout make sure to spray it with clear Workable Fixative to prevent smudging of the ink.

Nitsa Malik Polaroid image transfer4Brush Mod Podge or gel medium (such as Golden gel medium) over your photo, place it face down and press onto the Polaroid.

5Let the transfer completely dry.

6Spray the back of the photo with water and rub off the paper back to reveal the transfer.

7Spray the final transfer with clear UV protective spray (such as Krylon UV-Resistant Clear) that has a gloss finish to restore the appearance of the Polaroid’s original shine.

The really nice thing about this transfer technique is that after it is done you end up holding an actual Polaroid in your hand.

Nitsa Malik is originally from Israel but moved to Los Angeles in the early 90′s. Photographing with analogue cameras, experimenting in the darkroom, creating mixed media pieces and processing salt prints.

Read more in the book “Spice up your photos”
Spice up your photos

Spice up your photos

by Nitsa Malik

Creative photography techniques to put a spark in your photos.


2 thoughts on “Transfer to Polaroid”

  1. Hello! Thank you so much for this!

    Question though: Are step 2 & 4 the same thing? They both repeat the process of covering the print with Mod Podge and placing it face down on the Polaroid. Or am I supposed to do this twice? I’d appreciate any clarification. Thanks!

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