It’s been a funny week, with me feeling out of sorts and a wee bit poorly 🙁 Thankfully, it hasn’t stopped me getting my art on.

Since completing stage six of the Great Round of Mandala, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of personal transformation as a contributor to global, wordly wellbeing.

I guess I always felt that my personal growth and transformation was simply a necessity – it truly didn’t matter if it seemed selfish in its self-centredness. It was saving my life. I know that sounds dramatic to most folks and at the same time so recognisable to many others.

What I had never fully, deeply understood until this month was how the health of our individual psyches affects, well, everything!

You can know something, but not truly understand it. You can feel something and not fully comprehend its impact. Then, through some creative magic, that comprehension sinks deep into your bones. Every cell claims the knowledge for  its own self.

All of a sudden, you become so full of that knowing that it seems like you need to stop everyone in their tracks to make sure that they know it, too.

As it turns out, I’m not often out on the streets, stopping folks in their tracks. My way is much quieter. Like this art journal spread, based on that perfect symbolic representation of transformation, the butterfly.

Supplies List

This spread was in one of my mandala journals, made from cartridge paper (Bristol board) and used only a few basic art materials;

  • DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic (various colours)
  • Daler-Rowney White Gesso Primer
  • Compass (Helix Precision Drawing Set)
  • Stamps and ink pads (KaiserCraft Graffiti clear stamp, Scrappy Cat everyday spiral wood stamp, glue stick cap, Versafine onyx black ink pad, DewDrop Brilliance in moonlight white fast-drying pigment ink)
  • Acrylic transfer (butterfly image ink jet print on colour inkjet film)
  • Windsor & Newton Artists’ Acrylic Matt Gel
  • Hybrid pigment gel ink pen, white

The quote I used is from Marianne Williamson,

“Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.”

Butterfly Mandala Art Journal

Acrylic Transfer Instructions

I know it isn’t as eco friendly as using ordinary printer paper, but I find I get the best results for acrylic transfers if I use inkjet transparency film – like the kind you’d use for an overhead projector.

I print out the image I’ve selected on my Canon Pixma colour inkjet printer, using the T-Shirt Transfer setting. Remember, the image will appear on your page in reverse, so if that matters to you, use an image editor to reverse the image before you print it out.

It may take a few tries to get familiar with your printer settings and how to load the paper so the image gets printed on the correct side. The side you need to use is the slightly rougher side – it can be hard to tell the difference! Don’t forget to let the image dry before you use it.

Butterfly Mandala Background

To create the transfer, select a medium for it to transfer to. I think the Golden Gloss Gel Medium gives the best results, but I often don’t want a glossy finish, so I also use (as in the video above) a matt gel.

Brush the medium onto the paper, where you want to make the transfer. The trick is to get not too much and not too little, just the perfect amount. When I started out, I always used too much gel medium – what happens then is that you end up smooshing all the ink around your page and lose all definition of the image. If you use too little, the ink won’t find enough to transfer to – for the page above I didn’t use enough medium for a perfect transfer.

Smoosh your film on top of the medium, using a key card or similar. I then use I bone folder to try and get into the tricky parts. Make sure you’ve rubbed all over the image and leave it for about 30-60 seconds to settle, before peeling back a little to see if the transfer has worked.

Butterfly Acrylic Transfer Detail

If it hasn’t, you might need to rub over again to leave it a little while longer. Don’t leave it too long, or you’ll glue the film to your page!

The results are hit and miss for me. Sometimes I make a perfect transfer and other times, barely any ink transfers, so the look is much more grungy. Thankfully, the grungy look is often what I’m after 😉

(I learned how to do my acrylic transfers this way from Tam over at Willowing)