Thursday, February 19, 2009

Image Transfer Using Acetone

There are a number of ways to transfer an image to PZCut but I will show you my favorite way to get a clean, crisp image especially if you are working with an image that has a lot of detail. The image I am using for this demonstration doesn't have alot of detail but it is an image that I need to get carved soon for an upcoming event.

The supplies that you will need are a piece of PZCut to fit your image, your image, a cotton ball, and some 100% pure acetone that can be found in the Health and Beauty section of your favorite department store. I found this acetone at Walmart next to the nail polish remover. You could use nail polish remover with acetone, but it doesn't work as well and you are not guaranteed to get a good image transfer so I just stick with the 100% pure stuff.

For this technique to work properly, your image must be copied on a copier that uses toner for ink and not a lazer printer. The acetone works to loosen the toner from the paper and will give you a clean image without any running ink. I copy as many images from my computer onto a sheet of copy paper and take it down to my local department store that has an older version copy machine that uses toner. My copies are 10 cents each and I usually make two copies of the sheet just in case.

I soak up some acetone onto the cotton ball and lightly clean off the PZCut before placing the image onto the material. Keep in mind that acetone will melt the PZCut so use it sparingly.
Tip- Do not use acetone to clean ink off of your carved stamps especially if you carve thin lines. I have melted a couple of my favorite stamps doing this and it did not make me very happy.
Place your image face down on the PZCut and with the wet cottonball, tap the paper until you have gone over the entire image. You do not need to get the paper soaked with the acetone, just enough so that you can see the image through the paper.
Next, press the image onto the PZCut. This will ensure that you have transfered the image as much as possible. Go over the entire image while pressing with your fingers. Do not rub the image. The paper may tear and smear the image. Let the paper dry a bit (just a few seconds) before lifting the image off the PZCut.

Starting at one end, slowly lift the paper off of the PZCut to see if the image transferred properly. If not, press the image again with your fingers first before applying more acetone as in the previous steps. The less acetone you use, the less chance you have of your PZCut melting away.
If everything worked correctly, you should have a clean, crisp image to carve. Your image will be more clean if you transfer it to the PZCut as quickly as possible after you copy it on the copier. It may be possible for the toner to fade over time.
If your image did not transfer the way you would like it, you can clean the image off by using the acetone cottonball and wiping down the PZCut and starting all over again.


  1. Great demonstration, CFL! Now, to find a copy machine that uses toner...


  2. Hi, Do you also use the pink stuff and get the same results?


  3. Une imprimante laser est une imprimante avec une encre toner . Une petite confusion c'est glissée au début de l'article .
    L'encre laser est une poudre (oxyde de fer) , l'encre dite jet d'encre est liquide (colorant organique) ....

  4. This looks great! thankyou for sharing what you learnt. I think image transfer is far more versatile than using bought stamps - which I haven't done yet - I make cards and tags and am ready to take on a new technique! thanks again, Ellen (N.Z!)