Image & Design Transfer Techniques

For many years, ceramic artists have used printmaking, drawing and photography to enhance the surfaces of their work. Using underglazes, slips, and glazes it’s entirely possible to take advantage many 2-D mediums to decorate both functional ...(Scroll for more.)


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Softcover | 134 Pages
Order code B147 | ISBN 978-1-57498-345-6

…and sculptural work. Image & Design Transfer Techniques covers more than thirty techniques that can be used on greenware, bisqueware, and glazeware. You’ll discover ways to create and transfer images and designs using appliqué and paper transfers, decals, stencils, silkscreening, etching, stamping, embossing, and more.

Image Transfer and Application

If you’ve ever wanted to take a drawing or image and use it on the clay surface, there are many ways to go about it. Jason Bige Burnett transfers his funky cartoon-inspired designs using a newsprint slip technique and Martina Lantin expands on the concept with her monoprints and toner-resist transfers. Judith Berk King manipulates images on the computer then uses her own graphite transfer technique to get the image on the surface. Underglaze transfer paper is another option and Jessica Knapp takes you through this process. If you’re up for a challenge, Kristina Bogdanov explains how to use lithography to transfer photocopy images onto a clay surface.


Ceramic artists have used decals to decorate their work for centuries mainly because they provide a way to include complex imagery that’s easy to duplicate and easy to apply. You can make your own decals with nothing more than a laser printer as described by Frank Gaydos, or you can design full-color decals of your own design using a decal service like Linda Gates does. Brendan Tang uses decals on his sculptures, but since they’re non-functional, he opts to use decals that don’t require firing and describes how. Justin Rothshank breaks all the decal rules when he applies them to greenware or bisque, and even fires them to cone 10 reduction.

The publisher advises readers that certain decal applications onto ceramic surfaces may be subject to Patent No. US 7,622,237 B2.

Relief, Etching and Stamping

Paul Wandless uses his block printing skills to print images on clay while embosssing the surface at the same time. He describes how to use not only traditional linocuts but also how to use photosensitive polymer plates for even more detail. Ann Ruel uses a glass etching technique on a glossy glazed surface to create a contrast between shiny and matte, while Jessica Knapp shares her discovery of a liquid sensitizer (Pyrofoto), which can be added to a glazed surface. And if you’ve ever done any stamping, you’ll enjoy Holly Goring’s explorations with underglaze stamp pads.

Stencils and Masking

While stencils seem like a fairly simple tool, they can be used to make very complex images on greenware, bisqueware and glazeware. You can go from cutting silhouettes for simple, single-color images like those of Kip O’Krongly, to Paul Wandless combining multiple stencils to create a complex, multi-color image. If hand-cut stencils are not for you, Paul Barchilon describes how you can have them commercially made. Information on making die-cut stencils is covered so you’ll know how to prepare the image files for best results. Friskets are another variation of stenciling as demonstrated by Frank James Fisher for his raku-fired tea-cans.


One of the most popular and widespread image transfer techniques used by clay artists is screen printing. Paul Wandless takes you through the basics of how to make and use your own custom silkscreens using common hand tools and readily available supplies. You’ll also find information here on how to use photocopy film negatives, UV light-sensitive emulsion screens, and even screens from an old Thermofax machine. Brad Menninga demonstrates how to overcome the difficulties of silk screening on wet clay and Forrest Lesch-Middelton shows his technique for transferring screened images to wheel thrown cylinders, which are then stretched and shaped.

With the huge variety of techniques to choose from, Image & Design Transfer Techniques provides all the information you need for success, and enough inspiration to last a lifetime.

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