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Experiment Eureka!

You know when you've been searching for something only you didn't know what you were actually looking for? This is one of those.

As I mentioned in my last post, I rediscovered Digital Art Studio: Techniques on my shelf last week. (Speaking of which, I really need to do another challenge wherein I actually USE one of the plethora of How To art books I've accumulated. But I digress.) This book is filled with interesting and useful tutorials on how to use one's inkjet printer for mixed media purposes.

I followed one such tutorial, the whole time thinking , "This is SO not going to work!"
Because of my work-arounds (I'm terrible for not using what's actually ASKED for in tutorials, instead filling in with what I have), my not-so-great printer and my general lack of sticking to instructions (truly, given my penchant for not using called-for-supplies coupled with my inability to follow simple 123s I'm amazed I end up with ANYTHING that works!)
But it did! OMG. It did. So. So good.

Here's my very scaled down version of that tutorial (get the book for full details and more ideas!):
  1. Get a sheet of polypropylene. I know you're saying, "Poly what what?!?" Yah. I had to google it too. The book says "trash bags, rolls of landscape sheeting and painter's drop cloths". Google says, "cello bags". I went with google. Mainly because I had a couple of letter-sized bags. (I'm gonna test with cellophane off the roll next) 
  2. Here's where it gets a bit sketchy but I figured it out so you're welcome. Firstly, adhere your sheet of polypropylene to a piece of photo paper. This'll make it easier to put through your printer later. Now, get a piece of tape - I used painters tape but any wide tape'll do.  Stick it to the top of the sheet of polypropylene then fold the tape, back, onto itself. Essentially, you're creating a tab. The reason for this is you want to be able to peel the layers of medium from the polypropylene. So. Be sure to paint over that tape so your final substrate stays in one continuous piece. 
  3. Now, the long agonizingly drawn out bit ... paint the polypropylene with 2 coats of gel medium, again be sure to paint OVER THE TAPE! Then let it dry thoroughly between coats. Being plastic, it takes awhile. Be prepared. I brushed end to end for the first coat, let it dry overnight, then side to side, again drying overnight. THEN another 2 layers of Digital Ground.(mine's from Golden - I'm going to experiment with gesso next week)  Again, side to side for one layer, then end to end on the next. This takes TIME people (2 full days!) so adjust your schedule accordingly. Remember to paint over the tape for EACH LAYER.
    This is my sheet hanging to dry:

  4. Next ... PRINT! (figure out what you want to print/copy - this is a painting I did awhile ago) I used the opposite non-tape end to feed into the printer first. It went through fine. And because of the porous nature of the digital ground (and why I think gesso would work!) the ink gets sucked up. Still. For good measure I left it to dry for a bit before I went on to Step 5 ...

  5. And the most exciting part! Remember your tape tab? Grab it gently and pull apart the gel medium/digital ground layers away from the polypropylene. I can't tell you what a THRILL this was! Like I said, I totally did not expect this to work. Further, the substrate is quite robust and  it could easily be applied to something 3-dimensional. One word of caution ... TIP GOLD ... the backside (ie non-print side) is very shiny and VERY clingy! It will start to stick to itself if you aren't careful. Forewarned! Look how translucent that sucker is?!?! Oh. A thing of image transfer beauty.

If you attempt this, please let me know how it went.
And I'll be sure to weigh in re: gesso vs digital ground. Can't wait to go apply it to something!