May 7, 2012

Little French Can-Can


I love vintage graphics and labels. I like to make copies of my favorites from my computer and then transfer them onto metal containers that I pick up for a dollar or two at yard sales and thrift stores.  

French label from The Graphics Fairy

French label from The Graphics Fairy


French label from The Graphics Fairy


It took me a few tries and failures to learn how to properly transfer a printed graphic onto a metal container like this one. The first (and most frustrating) mistake I made was not using the right kind of print copies. 

I knew my home inkjet prints wouldn't be waterproof, so I took them to my local Kinko's (Fed Ex) store to have toner based copies made of them. No matter what transfer technique I tried, though, that graphic would not budge from that paper. I almost gave up completely and thought I must be some kind of a numbskull because everyone in blogdom seemed to be having the success with transfers that I couldn't achieve. 

Finally, after reading every graphic transfer tutorial I could find, I came across one that said, "SOME COPIERS USE A NEW INK TECHNOLOGY THAT DOES NOT ALLOW THEIR PRINTS TO TRANSFER." 

Eureka!  

I immediately drove down to my local library to have new copies made from its ancient decrepit toner based copier, and was able that very day to do my first successful so-easy-you-can't-believe-it graphic transfer. I promised to myself I would spread the word throughout the land (or at least to my beloved blog followers.) USE THE RIGHT COPIES!

So here's the rest of the story:
  
Choose a graphic (The Graphics Fairy is my favorite source for vintage graphics of all kinds), size and edit it to perfection and print a reverse (very important) copy using the before mentioned correct waterproof ink. Cut your graphic out. Keep in mind that the paper border around your graphic will probably show slightly on your metal, so cut a shape you don't mind seeing on your finished project. 

You'll also need a rag, some mod podge, a paint brush, some water, and optional fine grit sandpaper.



The galvanized containers I bought were splotchy and looked brand new, like this


I wanted them to look old, and I wanted to rough up the smooth surface a bit for the transfer to have more to grab onto. So I sanded all the surfaces, including the handles, with a fine grit sandpaper until they looked like this


It only took a few minutes, and I love the patina.  Whether you sand your metal or not, make sure it's clean and dry.

Cover the printed side of your graphic with mod podge. Not the blank side too, just the printed side. Place the graphic on the metal where you want it to appear with the mod podged print side facing the metal. (Don't forget it's printed in reverse, so it's a little tricky to get it facing the right way.) 

Carefully and gently smoosh the paper down onto the metal. Some mod podge will squish out and it will slide around a little. Wipe it off gently with a clean rag as you smooth the paper down with your finger. You want to smooth out any air bubbles, make sure all the graphic is making contact with the metal, and clean off any extra mod podge on top of and around the paper. Your graphic will stop sliding around and stick as you do this, so make sure you keep moving it into its proper position.


 Now, go to bed. Seriously. Once you have your graphic in the right place and the excess mod podge is cleaned off, leave it alone to dry overnight. Don't rush it. 

The next day, place your metal container on something absorbent, like paper towels or a rag, and dip your finger into some clean water. Saturate the paper with water and rub your finger gently but firmly over the paper until it starts to come off. 

 

The goal is to rub off as much paper as you can without rubbing off the ink, so work slowly and carefully.

French label from The Graphics Fairy


As you can see here, I probably didn't have enough mod podge under the letter S in Paris, or I rubbed the paper too hard and some of it came off. Oops.

Continue adding water and very gently rubbing until you can't feel any more paper coming off under your fingers tips. You will still see a faint shadow of the paper around your graphic, but it will be very transparent when dry, and the metal will show through it. If you try too hard to rub off every trace of paper, the ink will begin to come off, also. Play with it until you're satisfied.  

Finally, wipe off your container with a clean dry cloth. I use my containers to hold supplies on my craft table. If you use yours to hold plants or where they will get wet, I'd seal them with clear polyurethane.

French label from The Graphics Fairy

And there you have it, a little French can-can.


I hope you'll give this fun, easy, and inexpensive transfer technique a try. 

Thanks for visiting, and have a great day! 

You may also like
Vintage Craft Chest
Bunny Tray
French Label Pillows
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54 comments:

  1. Laurel,
    This was so helpful! I was in the same boat as you with the wrong printer. And when reading everyone elses triumphs, I got discouraged and gave up. Now I will give this another try. Thanks!

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  2. Your tins looks great, love the graphics! I'm now following

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  3. Laurel, I found you via Met Monday and am now following you on Linky. Hope you will follow me via Linky, too. I'm enjoying your fabulous tutorial. Thanks, Helen

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  4. Fuond you thru the Monday brag, so glad I did. So appreciate your excellent tutorial, I have to do this transfer method as I have so many metal containers I want to use. You have given me the courage to try. Keep your fingers crossed ok?
    I have lots of those cookies cans I want to redo and use french sayings/images on. I figured I've got the cans, why not spray paint them, make some use of them. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

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  5. Fabulous job, Laurel! I haven't had any luck either and I'm hoping that it's because our toner printer is new {and it's not me after all!}. I'm going to give this method another try.

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  6. Laurel, I love this! Thanks for all of the instructions on how to do this. I love galvanized anything and the French words are so cool! I actually like the S being faded. It makes it look more vintage. ~ Jamie

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  7. Laurel - these are great, I want to try this! Thanks for sharing all the info!

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  8. Thank you for sharing Laurel! These are darling. I thought I was a complete craftdummy when my transfers refused to transfer - now I know why!

    Blessings!

    Linda

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  9. Great tutorial! I haven't tried transferring via modge podge yet but may give it a try soon as I see so many pretty things in blogland with this method.

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  10. This is so clever and CUTE!!
    Found you via Savvy Southern Style! I am following you now!
    xo-Lisa

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  11. Laurel I love your little container and you provide such a detailed wonderful tutorial. Thanks. I'm visiting from Be Inspired.
    Hugs,
    Peggy

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  12. Love how you aged the metal! I am loving galvanized buckets - I have a little collection on my patio. May have to consider adding some of these cute little decals!

    And your colorful craft room is rocking!
    Kelly

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  13. Beautiful! The transfer looks gorgeous at galvanized buckets!

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  14. Love love love it! This project can be a maddening one. I attempted it last year. Only had one success with it.

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  15. Those are so darling! Thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks about this technique and for sharing it all with us at Inspiration Friday this week!
    Vanessa

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  16. Your little french can is adorable!

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  17. i just love these, laurel! this is on my to-do list-tfs:)

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  18. Thank you for the new information given about the photocopies, I have not tried myself the transfering method, but I am planning to do so, and you probably saved me from hours of frustration as well. I am very glad you have shared important information & tips.

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  19. Thanks so much for sharing this, your pictures all look gorgeous! I'm a new follower and I invite you stop by my blog if you have a minute.
    Cas x

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  20. So cute! Thanks for the great tutorial! :)

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  21. Love the french cans! Great tutorial. I must try this.
    I just posted my first go around on my blog working with The Graphic Fairy as well! Love their stuff.

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  22. Found you via Shabby Nest.

    Thanks for the tutorial! I've always wondered how to do that. I love my galvanized metal buckets.

    Do you think it would work the same on those old enamel ware bowls? I may have to try it.

    Lisa

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  23. You probably have just solved my problem why this technique never worked for me. I get my toner copies from a print shop. I love this look on the galvanized buckets here! Nicely done!

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  24. Followed over from the Feathered Nest to see your label transfer on the tin. People wonder why I keep my "old" printer around - if they are crafters they know. I wrote two posts on using color copies and the wet Mod Podge transfer method - you might want to check it out. Isn't Karen at The Graphics fairy wonderful!

    Distressed Donna Down Home - your newest Linky follower

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  25. omg, so fabulous. i love it.

    i am your newest follower and hope you're following back!

    http://hellolovelyinc.blogspot.com

    have a wonderful weekend.

    michele

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  26. I love this! I wonder if this would work on wood? I found the best old wood box at the thrift store and I wondering if I should try this or try the freezer paper technique. I also love how you sanded the metal. It looks so much better. I have overlooked a lot of these because I don;t like the finish. Thanks for enlightening ,e!
    Kim@reposhture.blogspot.com

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  27. I have been playing around with transfering images as well. This information her is very valuable to me. thanks so much! Love your metal cans with French images.

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  28. Laurel, I love tins and I love French images. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing on Simple & Sweet Fridays. Have a fun week in your creative craft room.

    Jody

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  29. Oh how sweet your graphic turned out! and I'm pinning your fabulous tutorial for future reference!

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  30. awesome share! I think I tried this similar and it didn't work (because I didn't go to bed - I wasn't patient AT ALL!) thanks for sharing your low down! xo

    www.NorthernCottage.net

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  31. Thanks for a great tutorial. I will be pinning this for future reference. Have a great day!

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  32. Hi Laurel, this is wonderful! I haven't tried this either, Love how you sanded off the finish on the container, it looks almost like pewter now, great job! thanks so much for linking up with Vintage Inspiration!!

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  33. I love it~ I am going to try this sometime!! Sharing at the party tonight- thanks for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

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  34. LOVE your little french can!!! (my library copies won't work) I haven't found anywhere around me that has the right copies. :(

    gail

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  35. You are brilliant! I've been so frustrated about not being able to have copies to transfer...now I'll be on the lookout for a toner based copier. Thanks a milion for sharing this! Your can is totally adorable and I really like the graphic that you chose.

    I'm a new follower and look forward to more of your talent!

    Pat

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  36. Awesome and thanks for sharing your frustration and technique. :) I have a galvanized metal large can I want to use for the chicken's feed and want to try something like this on it. Again...thank you! :)

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  37. I just got a metal pot with similar handles and it could use something more like lettering, so this was a great idea for me. I I didn't notice the paper at all in the final shots, but in case it showed up, I thought maybe a torn edge would look good. I found you through Feathered Nest Friday's feature. Hope you'll stop in at Quirky Vistas sometime!

    Liz

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  38. Thanks so much for the copier tip. Looks pretty easy and comes out so pretty.

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  39. Found you via My Repurposed Life's link party and LOVE this tutorial that she featured! You did a great job - and of course I love that you found the secret - and shared it!! - about the right copier to use too. :)

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  40. Laurel, I noticed that you were featured on some blogs for this post. That's exciting! Congrats!! :)~ Jamie

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  41. It is your perseverance that impresses me. You make it look easy but you achieved success by continuing to work on your project until you got it right. This is an inspiration for every one who embarks on a project. Bravo. Virginia

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  42. Hi Your french can is so amazing, nice job.

    Michele
    Pearl 13.1

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  43. This is the best tutorial I have seen on transferring, Laurel. I love galvanized and your containers are awesome! I'd love it if you linked this to my new linky party, "What We've Accomplished Wednesdays," coming up tomorrow night.

    Have a great weekend!
    Deborah

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  44. Thanks so much for this tutorial - pinning this for sure!!!
    Hugs,
    Suzan

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  45. They look perfect! I want to go out and get some buckets to scuff up now! :)

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  46. I think you've got the image transferring methods down pat - all of your projects look great! I've got his one here linked to my DIY image transferring post too today, thanks for posting your tutorial!

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  47. I just saw this old tutorial of yours on Pinterest and think I might actually be able to do it. I have to give it a try.

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  48. Wow what a great idea! I just love this and will have to get to this right away....LOL Thanks so much for sharing with us! :-) Have a blessed day!

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  49. THANKS AND AGAIN, THANKS!!!!! Like you, I looked in lots of places before I found JUST the right tutorial (YOURS) that taught me how to transfer to metal using PLAIN Mod Podge!!! It sounds easy, and cannot wait to try it, as soon as I sign off!!

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  50. I'm back since yesterday with a few questions. I tried your method 4x on 2 tin containers. I followed your exact directions, and need to know - after I rub off most of the paper, and let it dry, the first one was whitish still with a little paper. I re-wet and rubbed off more, but I've already lost a little bit of image doing so. After it dries, if a tiny bit of white paper still is there, can I leave it there and just Mod Podge over the image? And, might that darken the whitish look from the paper? Or should I use polyurethane? And, how would I know if my copies from the toner machine were the ones with the new stuff that doesn't transfer? Thanks!

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  51. Hi Laurel,
    Finally I found your website which is so well written that a five year old will understand it. Thank you. You have already answered so many of my questions which will save me a huge amount of wasted time.
    I still have a couple of questions to ask and hope you don't mind.
    1. Do you know which exact printer you use at the library- manufacturer, Model #, etc. because here I find all modern equipment and thought of buying an old one to solve this problem. Also, most printers use inkjet when you say toner do you mean it is a dry ink? Please enlighten me on this,
    2. What if it is left for more than one day? any harm?
    3. When you use polyurethane to protect it, do you polyurethane the entire flowerpot or just the graphics? I will be using it outdoors and I am concerned about it.

    I thank you for your article and hope to hear from you soon. You may respond back to me at -
    bluebuddha101@gmail.com

    Thank you and God bless you.

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  52. I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don't know who you are but certainly you're going to a
    famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

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Thank you for your comments. I love reading your thoughts! If you would like an answer to a specific question, please email me via the link on my sidebar. Thank you!

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