Image Transfer: Coasters

I’ve not participated in challenges lately due to my creativity having become sluggish, but this month’s theme at Art Elements – Stars by Laney Mead, brought forth some tiny sparks in my right brain. πŸ™‚ By the time I thought of joining, I’d already created some Diwali gel prints using the only stencil in our stash that has some star shapes in it, so I hoped other ideas would appear soon.

I considered various ideas involving beading, wire-weaving, faux soutache with polymer clay, and gel printing, but none clicked. Then, I came across some old printouts of star shaped patterns that I’d thought I’d use for image transfer jewelry using polymer clay. Since I was still woefully short of jewelry ideas, I settled on making a set of coasters instead.

Polymer Clay Coasters using Image Transfer

Don’t see too many stars? That’s because I ran out of prints…

 

The ‘sure’ idea

I wanted colorful bases for my coasters, and instead of spending time and the little energy I had on Skinner blends, I brushed a variety of chalks on plain, unbaked circular clay sheets. (Now that was fun. :)) I transferred the star pattern image onto a sheet of translucent clay, intending to adhere it face-down on a coaster base so I could bake the whole setup and then sand+buff the translucent surface. However, before I could place the translucent sheet on the circle, the sheet just tore apart. Argh, the horror!

Since I’d transferred images onto clay before, I’d been pretty sure that this would work, and now I didn’t have enough copies of the star prints left to form a ‘proper set’ of 4, so I opted to just use a different pattern for each coaster instead.

An alternative

The translucent clay just didn’t want to work with image transfers, so I started looking for alternatives. Liquid polymer clay can be used as a medium for the transfer – but surprisingly, it didn’t produce great results on my unbaked sample bases or baked ones. Then my sis suggested transparent matte gel, and it worked brilliantly! So I applied the gel on my baked coaster bases and stuck the paper on it pattern-side down, and waited for the gel to set completely. I then got the paper soaking wet and gently rubbed it away from the base, leaving the pattern behind.

Finally!

As usual, things just had to work a bit differently on the final pieces than on the samples. πŸ™‚ The ‘gently’ part turned out to be difficult, and I rubbed away the pattern at a few places on two of the coasters. By the time I was on my second piece, I noticed that the pattern would appear pretty vibrant and clear while wet, even if traces of paper showed up everywhere while dry. So for my last two pieces, I decided to just leave all of that stubborn trace paper be, and waited for the pieces to dry fully. Then I poured some resin over the coasters, and voila! Vibrant, patterned coasters, just the way I want. They’re still curing as I write this post, so I haven’t tested them yet; I hope they work well and last a long time.


I was pretty sure I won’t have anything done for this challenge, and even though only one of the patterns has any resemblance to stars, I hope this little something is still better than nothing. Thank you, Laney, for the heavenly theme! I’m looking forward to seeing what the other guests and the Art Elements team have come up with; let’s go blog hopping!

Guests:Β  Jill β€’ Divya β€’ Alysen β€’ Kathy β€’ Tammy β€’ Cat β€’ Samantha β€’ Anita (you’re here) β€’ Karin β€’ Sarajo β€’ Rozantia β€’ Kimberly

AE Team: Jen β€’ Jenny β€’ Niky β€’ Laney β€’ Claire β€’ Cathy β€’ Marsha β€’ Caroline β€’ Susan β€’ Lesley

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36 thoughts on “Image Transfer: Coasters

    • The stars are my favorite too! I must’ve misplaced the pattern files though, so I’ll have to create a different star pattern if I ever want to make more of these…

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  1. Oh wow those would grace any table! I love the sparkle you have got on them. Thank you for taking part in the star challenge and glad it sparked your creativity πŸ˜‰

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  2. Isn’t it so frustrating when you have an idea and it doesn’t go as planned? Even though you weren’t able to get the prints transferred as you had in the past, this method still worked really well. And I like that each coaster has a different pattern! Love the colors of the coaster too;-) Glad you got the chance to join in the challenge this month.

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    • The frustration vanishes if the project turns out well in the end, and I’m glad that was the case this time. πŸ™‚ I think I like the different patterns too!

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  3. They look so pretty and shiny with a kind of holographic effect from the pastels. You must be happy that your experiment turned out to be really good looking in the end

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  4. Anita-I am so glad you ended up with coasters that you can use. There is a happy ending. You didn’t give up either. All good! Enjoy your coasters. I hope they have a very long life.

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  5. I struggle with gently as well. πŸ˜‰ Your coasters will be a reminder of all the fun you had playing with this technique. I love them and would use them constantly. The resin was a brilliant idea! Thanks for participating in another challenge!

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    • Lol yes I guess there’s too much enthusiasm (or in this case frustration) for gentle movements. πŸ™‚ Glad the resin worked; I’ve started using the coasters today, and so far so good.

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  6. Anita, in spite of your difficulties, they came out very nice!! I love the colors and I’m one who likes the using different textures or prints. Faux soutache? Would love to see that. I like your comment about a spark in the right brain :)).

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    • Thank you, Alysen, yes I love that they finished up quite okay! Soutache can be simulated with thin, extruded polymer clay strands, and I would’ve loved making pointed petals and adding more strands to eventually make them star-like.

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  7. I enjoyed reading about how you overcame unexpected obstacles in the process. Your perseverance yielded gorgeous coasters. I would not have thought of using polymer for that, but if it can handle curing in the oven, it must be fine with hot beverages, or cold ones. Great idea.

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    • Thank you Tammy! Polymer clay absolutely makes great coasters if you can get the sheets to lie even while baking. I find that a couple of mine wobble slightly – not so much that they topple any beverages placed on them though, so I think I’m fine. πŸ™‚

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