In this article I will review Lesley Riley's TAP Transfer Artist Paper by C&T Publishing, and compare it to Avery Personal Creations InkJet Stretchable Transfer Sheets. In the interest of honest disclosure I must tell you that I received a sample 5 pack of TAP from the publisher to review it, and I purchased the Avery sheets and used them within the past year.
I was very excited to receive the TAP sheets, especially after I read through the directions and learned that it was not only for transferring images from your printer to fabric, but could also be painted on or drawn on with markers to transfer original art to fabric and other surfaces. This seemed like an ideal product for cloth doll makers.
So this morning I set to work with a pattern from a previous article, which you can find here: Painting Faces on Cloth Dolls. I started by printing the pattern onto the transfer paper and then painting, with acrylic craft paint, as I would on a doll. The paint went on smoothly and I thought I had a fairly even layer of paint. Unfortunately I must not have, because the only part of the painting that transferred to the fabric was the eyes. That was a spooky look! The rest of the paint adhered to the paper and cracked. Back to the drawing board.
I also learned that, if you transfer your own painting to fabric with these sheets, it has to be done "cartoon fashion". In other words, the shapes in the painting must be single layers of paint, or else done as you would when painting on glass. The layer that would be the final or last layer painted, must become the first one done, as only the bottom layer is seen after transfer. So the highlights that I painted onto the eyes did not show, only the flat base coat did.
Next I tried transferring just the black and white pattern and that transferred very well. Both of these attempts were done on very light weight cotton/polyester blend, which I had ironed first. So this might still be an option for transferring a doll pattern to fabric, but the simpler, the better.
Last year for Father's Day gifts at the pre-school where I work, my students gave their fathers t-shirts with their photos on the front. To do this project, I printed photos of the kids from my printer onto the Avery sheets and ironed them on the shirts. They were easy to do, by following all directions in the package, turned out great, and not a one was a disappointment. They all transferred beautifully, no wrinkles or cracks.
So I decided to print a photo onto a canvas bag with a TAP sheet to see if it would work as well. I did iron the bag before the transfer so it would have a flat surface to go on. Again I was disappointed. The photo transferred reasonably well to the canvas, but there are a few areas where the photo appears cracked or scratched. This one was no big deal, it is just a canvas bag that I use for myself, but had I intended it as a gift I would have been upset.
I am disappointed that the TAP sheets did not work well, it is a great idea, if it works. But I'm sticking with what I know works well.
Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls
Ebook with patterns and instructions to make 5 cloth dolls as well as chapters on general doll making techniques.The book includes 21 inch Lalena Doll, 21 inch David Doll, Bear Dolls, 9 inch Destiny Doll and 15 inch Annie Doll, all together in one handy book. 53 pages.Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls.