How Do You Transfer Inkjet To Watercolor Paper?

If you're new to watercolor painting and wonder how to transfer that inkjet print onto watercolor paper for painting, this guide is for you.

Transferring an inkjet reference art or image to watercolor paper is pretty simple once you know the whole process. There are also various methods to do it without making any mistakes that waste your watercolor paper and time.

Our guide below will show you how to easily transfer inkjet or a copy of an image to watercolor paper and implement your simple watercolor ideas.

How do you transfer inkjet to watercolor paper?

Transferring an inkjet printer image to a watercolor involves lifting the inkjet-printed image and moving it to the watercolor paper or a watercolor canvas surface.

The print gets transferred, but it appears more transparent than the original image, allowing easy layering.

Our inkjet transfer to a watercolor tutorial below will show you how to go about this process using specialty paper.

How do you transfer inkjet to watercolor paper

There are multiple specialty inkjet papers, including inkjet transfer paper, label paper, glossy photo paper, or iron-on paper.

For this tutorial, we'll go with inkjet transfer paper.

Step by step guide:

Step 1. Print the image you want to transfer on the inkjet transfer paper. Before printing, make sure you mirror your image with a photo editor on your computer. This will ensure any lettering in your print will be transferred correctly to the watercolor paper.

Be careful with the printed image since it's not fixed on the paper and can easily come off.

Step 2. Place your watercolor paper on a level surface on your worktop.

Step 3. Place the printed image on top of the watercolor paper, with the image side facing down.

How do you transfer inkjet to watercolor paper

Step 4. Press the specialty paper on the art paper surface

Step 5. Burnish the print softly. You can do this with your hands. Be careful not to move the specialty paper during the rubbing process.

Step 6. Finally, lift the paper off to reveal the transferred image on your art paper, art journal, or sketchbook paper for watercolor.

Now you can go ahead and paint the image as you desire.

How to transfer an image onto watercolor paper?

The best way to transfer an image onto your watercolor paper is to directly draw it on the paper.

However, if you don't have confidence in your drawing skills, you may want to avoid this method. This is because you may do too much rubbing and redrawing, thus damaging your expensive paper.

How to transfer an image onto watercolor paper

Most painters prefer using other photo transfer methods to transfer their images to watercolor paper.

We have discussed the most popular methods below…

Method #1: Using graphite paper

One of the easiest ways to transfer the reference image to watercolor paper involves graphite paper. You just need to place the paper between the image copy and the watercolor. The good thing about graphite paper is that you can use it multiple times to transfer images.

Using graphite paper

Follow the steps below on how to do it:

Step 1. Place the watercolor paper on a level work surface.

Step 2. Now put the graphite paper on top of the watercolor paper such that its coated side is in contact with the watercolor paper.

Step 3. Place your printing paper containing the inkjet image on top of the graphite paper with the right side facing on top. Be sure to tape in place, so it doesn't move during the transfer and leave you with mistakes.

Using graphite paper

Step 4. Grab a hard lead pencil (H or HB pencil will do) to trace the drawing. Simply draw through your original image. The pressure applied by the pencil will help transfer the graphite onto the watercolor paper.

Step 5. After completing the tracing process, remove the tape for the inkjet image and then remove it, followed by the graphite paper. That's it! Now you have your image on the watercolor paper, and you can go ahead and paint it.

TIP: In case your watercolor paper gets smudged by the graphite paper during eh transfer process, you can use an eraser to get rid of them. But don't rub the paper too much as erasing might not work. If you pushed your pencil too hard during the transfer, erasing may also not work.

Method #2: Use the light

You can also transfer the image to watercolor by tracing it. Your reference image needs to be the same size as the painting you intended to create for this method to work.

Use the light

Steps to follow:

Step 1. Tape the reference/ inkjet image on a sunny or well-lit window

Step 2. Tape your watercolor paper over the image above and trace

If you don't have a sunny window, you can also try taping the reference image on a light table, tape the watercolor paper on top of it, and then trace.

When using the light table method, try darkening your workroom to help you see your image better.

NOTE: that the tracing method will only work for the 140lb watercolor paper. However, if you're using the 300lb paper, it's too thick to pass light through, even if you're using a light table.

Method #3: Tracing paper

If you're dealing with a less detailed drawing, this is a suitable method for you. This is how you do it:

Step 1. Use a piece of tracing paper to trace the reference image on the watercolor paper.

Step 2. When you're done tracing, flip the tracing paper carrying the image over and use a graphite pencil to completely cover the back of the line art.

Step 3. Now turn the tracing paper with the right side facing up and put it on your watercolor paper.

Step 4. Trace the lines of the drawing again. The pressure applied by the pencil in this second tracing will help transfer the graphite at the back of the tracing paper to the watercolor paper.

Can you print on watercolor paper with an inkjet printer?

Yes! You can print on watercolor paper with an inkjet printer. However, remember that not any inkjet printing device is the best printer for watercolor paper. The right unit should be able to work with your watercolor weight and size to ensure a smooth printing process.

Can you print on watercolor paper with an inkjet printer

Still at it, it's worth noting that a laser printer isn't a good option for printing on art paper. This is because it involves using toner instead of ink. This might not bond well with the watercolor paper, providing less appealing printing results. The heat produced by laser printing is too much for watercolor papers to withstand.

Do inkjet prints run when wet?

Inkjet prints can run and smear when they get exposed to water. This is because most of the inks used with inkjet printers aren't waterproof and will easily smudge, leading to damage to your prints and paintings. However, you can avoid this by using inks labeled water-resistant. While they're not 100% waterproof, these ink will withstand exposure to water and won't bleed or run easily.

Do inkjet prints run when wet

If you already have inkjet prints with non-waterproof inks, you can protect them from running when exposed to water. You can use effective methods like spraying a UV coat, applying a vinyl laminate adhesive, or applying a laminate using a heat laminator.

Final Words

It's easy to transfer an inkjet print to watercolor paper when you know how to go about it. Our tutorial above has just taken you through a step-by-step guide on how to transfer an inkjet image to watercolor paper for painting.

If you have an image you'd like to transfer to the watercolor paper, use one of the three popular methods we have discussed in this guide to help you get it done. These methods are pretty simple to implement and include tracing, using graphite paper, or using light.s

Working on your watercolor painting ideas shouldn't be a challenge with the solutions offered in this guide for transferring images to watercolor papers.

Inksaver Editor

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