As you know I’m always looking for good ways to transfer images.
I ‘ve used Mod Podge Transfer
I’ve experimented with Blender Pens
I’ve used Liquitex Gel.
I have to say all the results were satisfactory but each had drawbacks either due to expense, time or versatility.
So, when I read about the Wall Lenk Transfer Tool that transfers images to wood I thought it sounded awesome! I read about it, researched it and, quick as a flash, plunged right in and bought it online.
I was so intrigued and excited I immediately set it aside!
For a year!
(honestly I had no idea it had been a whole year until I checked my Amazon order history. I thought, maybe, 6 months ago……time flies when you are
running a sweatshop having fun!)
But, I have now opened it, tested it out and am here to make my report.
First off, you get what you pay for ($17)…..it’s veeeery basic. So basic and so potentially hazardous that it makes you wonder how this is allowed to be sold. Or, more specifically, given my history, how it is allowed to be sold to someone like me.
It works via heat transfer and, to put it simply, the metal end just gets super hot and then you rub it on your image and that transfers the ink to the wood (or fabric or whatever).
There is no “on/off” switch. It’s either plugged in and on its way to being insanely hot or it’s unplugged and just lurking around being a little bit less insanely hot. I didn’t have any moments like I did with the heat gun but the potential for disaster seems to be there.
So, onto the test.
While I was home in Ohio my sister Paula and I, intrigued by all the cool yardstick projects around but dismayed by the insanely high cost of “vintage” yardsticks began to toy around with the idea of making big, faux, versions. I thought “This is the perfect project to try out my
brand new year old tool!”
I got right to work!
And just three short months later I did it!!! When I get excited about an idea nothing gets in my way!
So, I started out with some poplar wood cut down to size, painted, sanded smooth and a bit distressed. I wanted it to look like two different rulers so one side was light blue and the other white.Tip Number One – to optimize the transfer the wood must be very, very smooth and the paint (if there is paint) must be given lots of time to dry.
I came up with a couple of ruler designs in Photoshop
I reversed them and printed them out.
Tip Number Two: the prints need to be laser copies or prints – ink jet prints won’t work.
I plugged in the Lenk and, following the directions gave it about 8 minutes to heat up.
I had read in the Amazon reviews that you needed to “burn off” some of the heat unless you were actually trying to start a small fire. I burned off the heat by just touching the tool to a piece of scrap wood. As you can see by the photo it took quite a few touches before it stopped burning the wood -
But it didn’t take too long.
After that it was just a matter of rubbing it slowly over the image. You can see where, even though I’d burned off some of the heat, it still scorched the paper a bit. I found that applying a light pressure worked well and going back over the image a few times was also key.
There is no real way to tell if you’ve succeeded or not until you peel away the paper.On the plus side though, if you peel away the paper slowly you can see if you’ve missed a spot and it’s very easy to just lay the paper back down and give it a few more rubs. I did this in a couple of spots and it worked out just fine.
In a few places, where I guess I pressed to hard or let it heat too much, the paper stuck to the wood.
But it was very easy to just dampen a cloth a bit and rub it away.
My box was 24″ long so I couldn’t print out the full ruler on one sheet of paper so I did it in sections and just lined them up. Once again it was pretty easy.After that, I gave my “rulers” a quick coat of wax and assembled the box using a pin nailer (screws or regular nails would work just as well).The images transferred very nicely – I like the level of distress and you do have some control over just how distressed you want it to be
I think, other than the possible risk of burning your house down, this tool offers a lot of advantages. The transfer takes place quickly (no waiting overnight) and once you buy the tool there is nothing else to purchase.
Also, it’s a true transfer – you don’t end up leaving a thin film of paper so that frees you up as far as background color(s) etc.
Now that I’ve tested it out I’m already thinking of tons of other possible projects (which you will be subjected to I assure you).
Please check out these link-parties for more great ideas: