Fabric Transfers and Letter Tracing: More Preparations for Two Tales of A City

After various discussions over the break regarding the next steps in preparing our giant banner for the upcoming project in Hamilton, I went ahead and did some experimenting with image transfers onto fabric.


I took direction from a handy post here,  which included simple directions and very few ingredients.

With a simple picture printed from my inkjet printer, I applied a fair amount of Golden Gel Medium to a piece of an old poly cotton t-shirt lying around. After applying an even coat, I laid the photo directly on the t-shirt, making sure the side in which the photo was on touched the gel medium. I pressed gently so that all parts were covered, and let it dry overnight.

After a few hours,  the shirt  became a little brittle, but as you can see, the picture came through a little. With a spray bottle, I began to dampen the picture, and rubbed away at the remaining paper, which revealed an AWESOME transfer of my picture to the fabric!

Once the fabric is a bit dryer, its more flexible, but also has a nice durability to it.



I also made a little mini mockup of what might be included on the bunting that’ll be placed on top of the building and featured in the related publication. It features some of the xeroxed copies of articles Michelle and I found while researching at the Hamilton Public Library.

I cut up and re-arranged one single article about the French community onto a triangular piece. I think it turned out grand!


The two gel mediums I used for testing- the first one is a molding paste, something I had on hand. Later, I picked up a regular gloss gel (which I used on the above triangular piece.)  I did not notice a significant difference between the two, though perhaps my homework for this week is to examine which medium is best suited for the project.


Showing the piece to Hiba later in the week. She was very impressed with how the medium was able to pick up on such detail, especially the small font, which was still readable!






Afterwards, we discussed, more in depth, about how the letters should be placed on the banner. Instead of having each letter directly attached to a 36×36 square, the letters will be seperately detached, and later added or taken off of the banner depending on the message.


Justin crazily thought it would be a great idea to include image transfers of our xeroxed research blown up and re-arranged on to the banner squares, which seemed like a not-so-crazy-but-even-cooler idea  once he created this photoshopo mockup:


While meeting with Jodi, who will be aiding us in stitching together the banner, Justin and Michelle brought up the question of attaching the bunting pieces. A quick google search of some examples of different ways of bunting:


The remaining time of our short meet that evening was spent sizing up letters to trace as guidelines for Jodi to cut up and sew for the banner, including one whole set of the alphabet!


Hiba checking the correct measurements of the letters from the projected font on the wall.

Using craft paper, we cut approx. 31”x31” squares, the dimensions of what the letters will be.

We had a bit of an assembly line going, which sped up the process!


Also included in our set of traced letters were the ever important French accents.


There’s still much to figure out, but we’ve definitely made a solid dent in preparations for Hamilton within this week alone!

11 Replies to “Fabric Transfers and Letter Tracing: More Preparations for Two Tales of A City”

  1. Still so impressed with how well these turned out.
    We really need to get the materials together to start on the larger transfers.

    Michelle, have you touched base with Jodi?

    1. @Michelle — any idea how far along Jodi is? We need to get sample materials to Rosina and start large-scale transfers ASAP!

      1. Hello,

        Still without internet here so sorry on the late responses.

        Jodi is ready for the letter templates we made. If someone could deliver those to The House today or tomorrow that would be awesome. I’m still wondering about somehow making the fabric stiff for installation purposes. Maybe it would be worth grabbing some extra black fabric from Jodi so that we could do some test starching.

        Also, are we planning on having a total of 16 backdrop squares on the banner? This changes the budget quite a bit. Are we thinking of getting solid coloured fabric for this? Rosina and I will be scheduling a trip to the Fabric Barn next week.


        1. Which way does having 16 backdrop squares change the budget? It should give us more room, right? The squares are to be 36″x36″.

          It seemed like it wouldn’t matter what the fabric was (aside from being either a light colour or pattern), since we would be transferring onto the backdrop squares.

          I’ll try to get the templates to Jodi today.

        2. Dropped off the letter templates today. Jodi said the starch wouldn’t work because the letters would be outside. Instead, she said we should pick some of this up…

  2. So, if we were to be ironing them on, there would still need to be a full set of square backings, rather than the same 16 adhered to the board?

    1. Also, we need to get the letter count to Jodi. I thought I wrote down how many of each letter we would need, but then I couldn’t find it. I think you had it in your sketchbook, right?

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