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Painting and Gel Transfers on Pellon

Happy Friday! Welcome back to Part 2 of foolin' around with pellon! Before we get started today, I'll answer a few questions that came up for some folks.

Q. What is pellon called in the U.K.?
A. It goes by the tradename of Vilene. It is a heavy interfacing used to stiffen up cuffs, collars, etc. and is available in most dressmaking/fabric shops.

Q. Can I use heavy FUSIBLE interfacing?
A. Yes you can but with a couple of provisos. If you want to print on it with a laser printer, be aware that when you fuse the pellon to the freezer paper (you need the freezer paper as a "carrier" for your printer), it will be permanently bonded to the paper and you won't be able to remove it. For some applications, i.e. cut and glue to another surface, that may be desireable. It will make your "fabric" very stiff. Remember that laser printers are hot and you don't want to get any of the "glue" on the working mechanisms of your printer. Proceed with caution!

Q. I don't have any freezer paper and can't find any in my local grocery store. Is there something else I could use?
A. Yes. Attach your pellon to a heavy sheet of plain paper (cardstock is too heavy!) with a temporary adhesive. Use sparingly... just enough to have the pellon stick to the paper. Print and then remove the paper (you may have to tug at it to get it off) Once again, proceed with caution. Be careful that the adhesive does not extend to the edge of your paper. You don't want any excess to "roll off" and muck up your printer drum or rollers.

Now on to today's fun in the sandbox... Let's start with all the art materials you can use on your printed pellon.

Q. Can I paint on Pellon?
A. You sure can. You can also use pencil watercolours, markers, oil pastels, acrylics, distress ink, blending chalk and lumiere.These are just some I have tried, there are likely more. When your Pellon is coated with InkAid or Golden Digital Grounds, they work extremely well. Spraying distress ink with a little bit of water gives an interesting effect on non treated (i.e. no InkAid)pellon surface. Alcohol ink doesn't work well on pellon. I haven't tried it yet but you could probably also dye it with strong coffee or tea. Experiment, experiment, experiment!

Here are two photos of samples I did: In the first one, the leaves are done in watercolour pencil, outlined with an ink fineliner and the "S" is done in Lumiere. In the second, this b&w print is done on a laser printer and just touched up with some Lumiere (the gold buttons) and a blue marker.

Q. I printed some pellon "swatches" on my inkjet but now I'd like to add a graphic or photo? Can I do a laser or photocopy transfer to pellon?
A. Yes, you can. Just make sure that your pellon is treated with InkAid. InkAid will settle the fibers in the pellon and create a smooth surface to work on. I haven't tried using photo transfer paper, but it might work. My only concern with this type of transfer is that your iron must be very hot to transfer the photo to the fabric. Would the pellon melt or distort? I'm not sure but it is a possibility. If you do try it, let me know! I'd be interested in hearing your results.

How to do a Gel Transfer to Pellon

Here's a photo of a cute baby that was gel transferred to a pellon swatch that I printed on my inkjet.

Print your graphic (or get a photocopy of it). Make sure that you reverse any lettering in your graphic program before printing. Cut the graphic out. Trim around it leaving the slimmest of borders.

Using your index or middle finger, LIGHTLY coat the printed side of the graphic using Golden Soft Gel. Use a light touch, in a circular motion, over the entire graphic. When the graphic is coated all over, let dry for about 5 minutes.

Repeat the process only this time notice that the gel that you are putting on slides easily but is not slippery. It takes some practice to get just the right touch and right amount of gel but once you master this, you'll never have trouble with gel transfer again! If it feels slippery, just keep spreading the gel around with your finger until it feels slightly dry to the touch.

Next spread another thin film of Soft Gel to the surface you want to transfer to. You will have to work quickly because you want the photocopy transfer to "stick" to the surface you are transfering to. Notice I said "stick", not slide! If it is sliding, you have too much gel on it. Let it dry for a few minutes and try placing it down on your pellon again.

Once your transfer is placed face down, burnish it with a bone folder or the back of a spoon to get a good bond. Be careful though... you don't want to move the transfer nor do you want to tear the paper backing. Okay, now what?

Get a damp piece of paper towel and place it over the back of the transfer to soften the paper backing. Let it sit for a minute and take a peek. Do you see a mottling effect on the back of your transfer where the paper is being softened? That's GOOD! Very gently begin moving your middle finger over this softened area. You want the paper to begin rolling off to reveal the image below. Work slowly and gently. Gel transfers require patience but they are so worth it in the end!

Once your paper backing is all off, you may notice some "white fuzzies" around the edges. You can very gently work at removing these (depends on what your background colour is) or you can use a dab of Dorland's wax over the transfer to remove the last little bits and protect your transfer at the same time.

So what the heck is Dorland's wax? Well, it's one of those art supplies that I think everyone should have in their art "toolbox"... I love this stuff! Everytime I use it, I think back to when I was a kid watching my auntie dip her rag into a can of solid floor wax, spread it evenly on her hardwood floor, letting it dry and then buffing the floor with a soft cloth until it shone so brightly you could just about see your smile in it. Oh, the smell of that wax was wonderful!! Her floors were beautiful and protected from 'wear and tear' for another couple of months! Well Dorland's does exactly the same thing for your gives it a wonderful finish and protects it. There are lots of uses for it. Check out some of these tips on USArtQuest.

Well that's it for today! I hope you have enjoyed this "art adventure" with me in my sandbox.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Please leave me a comment. Comments give me a way to gauge what to do more of, less of or eliminate all together.

Oh and by the way, I'd like to start an art tip of the week section and I could use your help! I don't know about you but I love reading art tips. I know lots of my art buddies do too. I think it would be great to have them all in one place, don't you? If you have any art tips that you use that could benefit your fellow artists, please consider sending them to me at sharonhouse at (@) I will certainly credit you so make sure you include your name, your website address or blog so I can include a link.

I sincerely appreciate hearing from you and many thanks for stopping by my blog! We'll have another play date soon... I promise.

Have a playful, artful weekend... see you next week.



  1. Wow, you are quite good with fabrics and transfers. I barely know how to thread my machine, so I'm duly impressed. I do believe I remember my mother talking about pellon when she would make clothes for me. Your "sandbox" is lots of fun. Thanks.

  2. Hi Sharon!
    GREAT blog! Thanks so much for all the tips!
    Fellow BC-er checking in here...originally from the Interior (Penticton), now living happily in beautiful Barrie, ON.
    You might want to let your readers know that freezer paper is NOT generally found in grocery stores...but in your local QUILT shop.
    Quilters and artists rescued this product from discontinuation about 10 yrs ago when it started being used for a variety of quilting applications. Your quilt shop will always have it or be able to get it. Your grocery store~perhaps not, as someone has told you.
    Keep up the good work!


  3. Hi there, I have a quick question, as I am VERY new to the world of sewing/crafts. I am making a quiet book for my 4-month-old daughter, and I have been told that Pellon is the way to go when making it. My question is how do I use Pellon in my quiet book? Do I transfer images onto the Pellon? Or is it simply a backing I use after I have already hand-drawn my images?

    Thanks for your time, and help.

  4. Rachel... Sorry I couldn't reply to you directly... unfortunately I didn't have an email address for you!

    If I were making a quiet book, I would first fuse a couple of pellon "pages" together to make it stronger. You could do this with something like heat and bond that sewers use for applique. I would then sandwich this pellon page between two pieces of my chosen fabric. Just cut the fabric out with a pair of zig zag scissors and sew it around the edges. Little ones have a tendency to put everything in their mouths! Instead of using something like a gel transfer technique (which wouldn't last with any kind of "abuse"...), I would use photo transfer paper to transfer my image to the fabric. If I can help you further with your project, just send me an email at I'd be glad to help out!


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