Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh, Happy Accident! And I Will Share, Too!

A lot of my art friends talk about “happy accidents,” but the only accidents I’d ever had were quite unhappy: foot in the paint can, spilling the water cup, cat prints on the project. Until now. What started as an accident- letting a wet baby wipe touch a recently-printed transparency- ended up with a cool fabric-like result.

I’m sure we’ve all used baby wipes or wet wipes for something artistic, besides cleaning our hands. In fact, one of my all-time favorite technique books is Bernie Berlin’s Artist Trading Card Workshop. I still pull it out from time-to-time as a reference. And, although she discusses applying liquid water color to wipes and using gel medium to “make” transparencies via transfer, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone transfer a transparency to a baby wipe (by accident or not).

My first “accidental” version, “Friends Forever,” did not pick up a lot of the image, which was a transparency printed from a photo of two porcelain doll heads I own. However, I like the very vague, faded image of the two dolls, which seems so appropriate with the words “remember” and “friends forever.”

I thought this would make a great little wall hanging in a girl’s room or a nice gift for a sister or friend (or both). I also thought I could do even better, if I “tried” the accidental procedure. This produced a nearly perfect image, and after letting the wipe dry completely, made for an almost fabric appearance or flocked feel. The result is my 5” x 5” wall-hanging “Adore,” which also has a definition of “sister” at the bottom. And, although I don’t have a sister, I’m betting I have some “art sisters” who might like to receive one of these. Here's a little how-to I will share.

Transparency/Wet Wipe Transfer Technique
5” x 5” Wall Hanging


5” x 5” cardboard or canvas – I used the backing of a watercolor paper pad, cut to size.
Background paper(s) or paints- I used Shabby Cottage background papers
Vintage sheet music scraps
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo
Rub-Ons (words and swirls)- I used Classic K McKenna Decorative Rub-Ons, We R Memory Keepers Precious Metals Coppered-Out Swirls Rub-Ons and 7 Gypsies Ink Memories Texture Rub-Ons-black velvet

3/16” white eyelets and eyelet setters
15” length of coordinating ribbon
Gold- or silver-leaf pen
Burnisher/bone folder
Baby or travel wipes, wet in package
Freshly-printed transparency- I used Computer Graffix for ink jet printer
Krylon Workable Fixativ


Prepare surface by covering board or canvas with background papers or paints as desired. I covered both sides.
Meanwhile, print a desired photo onto transparency. Be careful not to touch or smear. Let dry flat a bit, about 30 min. If you do the transfer too soon, your colors will run into an unrecognizable mess. I also found if I did not let the transparency dry flat, the ink would run.
To make your transfer, take a wet wipe straight from package unfold and place flat over ink side of transparency. Try to place flat in one fluid motion, as any movement will smear your image. After a minute or two, press your wipe smooth over the image with a burnisher or bone folder. There is no need to scrape violently.
Gently lift up your wipe to see your transfer. Let dry completely, ink side up. You can place under a lamp or in a warm, dry spot to speed things along. This should take 2-3 hours.
When you are ready to apply your art, spray both sides of wipe lightly with fixative. I don’t know if this is necessary, but after getting a great transfer, I did not want any more Unhappy accidents!
Cut around image as desired and apply to background with a light coat of gel medium. Smooth into place. After edging torn sheet music with distress ink, apply in a pleasing pattern, also with gel medium or glue stick.
When surface is dry again, apply rub-ons as desired and edge artwork with leafing pen. When leafing ink is dry, set eyelets in top corners; string ribbon through, and knot in back.


m i c h e l l e said...

SO COOL! I'm gonna try this one!!!!

m i c h e l l e said...

Oh and your artwork is gorgeous too!!!!

Joanne Thieme Huffman said...

How cool of you to share this! You've made a great discovery.


Anonymous said...

thank you gina for sharing your cool "accident" very generous of you!!
xo mary ann

Sea Dream Studio said...

Love your happy accident! Beautiful!
I am not sure what you meant in your blog comment. Do you need a feather fan or just a feather??? LOL!
Write me here, sweetie...

vivian said...

Hi Gina.. great idea! hope to try it one day.. (if I dont forget first! this memory is pitiful!!) just wanted to let you know that i posted a new swap.. check my blog out for details, or just stop to say hi!!

Whim & Fancy Designs said...

Aren't happy accidents just Grand! Gina, have you heard from Lisa? I have been trying to get in contact but no response.....everything ok? Have you heard anything on L.K.? Hope all is well with you on side of the world....all good here.:)

kim hesson said...

hi, my name is kim i had a happily stumbled onto your blog thru flickr. thanks for sharing! i can't wait to try it!

ann at greenoak said...

it turned out so nice!!!! if i could follow directions i would try it....guess i will kind of try it....and see what happens....