French art transfer tutorial



We are only into early February and I am already wishing for Spring to come!  Do you see the gray skies above in the photo of my backyard? This has pretty much been our entire winter this year here in Alberta. It has been snowing almost every single day and the sunny days are few and far between. Right about now I am so ready for my family and I to pack our bags and head off to a tropical destination. I wish!  How about you? Are you ready for Spring to be here already?


Anyhoo… I had promised you Part 2 of my most recent tutorial last week and then my Mom came to visit us just before the weekend so I didn’t get a chance to finish it up until today. Well, here it is better late then never. Thanks for being so patient with me!

If you missed Part 1: How to create a book page picture frame, you can find it HERE.




To create this French art transfer…


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1. Japanese paper as shown or a stencil of your choice
2. flat 8″ X 10″ canvas or wooden panel (canvas size optional)
3. the Vintage Paris Chocolat Label from The Graphics Fairy or another graphic of your choice (printed in reverse)
4. Golden Soft Gel Gloss Medium or another brand of gel medium
5. paint brushes
6. matte Mod Podge or other clear sealer
7. acrylic paint in the colors of your choice (colors used: Titanium White, Dove Grey, Metallic Champagne)
8. Lindy’s Stamp Gang spray in Moon Shadow Mist (optional)
9. Delta Ceramics Gel Blending Medium (optional)
10. rubber brayer or spreader
11. ruler
12. scissors
13. spray bottle with water
14. kitchen dish scrubber
15. paper towels
16. newspaper or tin foil to protect your workspace
17. hair blow dryer (optional)


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1. Using your paintbrush, coat your canvas with Titanium White paint leaving some of the canvas (or a wooden panel as I have used) showing through in spots

2. Dip a piece of scrunched up paper towel in the Dove Gray paint (dab off the excess on another paper towel). Apply the paint fairly evenly across your canvas using a pouncing (up and down) motion. Then randomly dab on some Metallic Champagne paint on your canvas. Leave it to dry




I purchased my Japanese mesh paper at my local artist’s supply store in the section where they sell handmade paper. They may also sell it at Hobby Lobby in the U.S. or at De Serres in Canada. If you cannot find this type of paper where you live a stencil will work just as well.

3. If using the Japanese paper, cut it to fit slightly larger than your canvas

4. Then use your Titanium White paint and a fresh piece of scrunched up paper towel or a stencil brush to stencil your design on your canvas completely with the white paint




5. Lift your Japanese paper or stencil to see how your canvas looks. Apply more paint as needed in blank areas using your paper or stencil. It doesn’t need to be perfect!




6. This step is optional but it adds so much depth to the canvas. Lightly spray on Lindy’s Stamp Gang spray in Moon Shadow Mist or use another antiquing mist spray that you have on hand. You don’t have a spray mist to use? No problem! All you need to do is to really water down some bronze craft paint then dip a clean old toothbrush into the paint and use your thumb on the bristles in a back and forth motion to splatter the paint onto your canvas randomly. Don’t forget to protect your work space as this step is a little messy!




The following steps are where your graphic will be transferred onto your canvas. These steps are simplified so you can see how easy transferring an image to canvas is. If this is your first time doing a transfer, I recommend that you read my full tutorial HERE as a primer before you transfer onto your good canvas


7. First, print your graphic in mirror image so that when you transfer it, it turns out the right way especially if you are using a graphic with text. I prefer to use a laser printer to print off my graphics. If you don’t have a laser printer you can print out your image on your inkjet printer and then take it to your photo copy centre and photocopy it with a laser printer or print it out from a USB key. Once you have printed your graphic, trim it fit your canvas. Next, apply an even coat of the Golden Gloss Gel Medium to your entire canvas. Work quickly so your gel medium does not start to dry

8. Line up your graphic face-down and use the palm of your hand to attach it firmly to your canvas. Next use a rubber brayer or spreader (I sometimes use my Costco membership card!) and drag it across your canvas in all directions firmly, removing any air bubbles. Wipe away any excess medium. Leave your canvas to dry overnight if possible. If you are impatient like me, you can dry it with your blow dryer on high for at least 10 minutes. Then leave it to cool for another 10 minutes before proceeding to Step 9




 9. Next, spray your canvas with water in one spot, let it sit a few minutes and then use your pointer finger to rub off the paper backing until your graphic comes through clearly




10. Continue working across your canvas removing as much paper backing as you can. Be gentle so you don’t remove some of your image in the process. To remove the remaining paper residue off of your image, dampen your canvas with water (not too wet!) and using a kitchen scrubber, rub in a circular motion taking off the white paper film. Rub the palm of your hand over your canvas to remove all of the flakes of paper. Leave it to dry for a few minutes and repeat for any opaque areas



This photo shows my canvas when it was all dry and I had removed almost all of the residual paper film. If you work at it, your image can turn out very crisp and clear like mine is! It took me about 10-15 minutes to clean the paper off of my transfer from start to finish. I like to work on this on the floor while watching TV. It makes the time go quicker.

11. When you are happy with the way your canvas looks, coat it with two coats of Matte Mod Podge for protection. This will also help to make your image bright and give it a finished look. Leave your canvas to dry for 15-20 minutes before handling it




Then all that is left to do is to place it into your frame and enjoy!


Hooked on Decorating - French Art Transfer Tutorial


Here is a close-up of my finished transfer! I love it!




You can use this tutorial to make art for your home that is uniquely yours! You could also customize your own piece of art to make a handmade gift for that special someone in your life for Mother’s Day, a birthday, or Christmas.

Have you had a chance to try image transfers yet? If you haven’t, you should really give them a try. They are so addicting once you start. You will want to do transfers on everything in your house!

Maybe you have done transfers before but you didn’t have the best results or you are perhaps you are stuck on a particular step.  I am here to help you with any questions you may have. Ask away!


Until next time,

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2 pings

  1. Ghislaine

    Tuto très bien expliqué, merci Carrie.
    Ici pas de neige et du soleil, si la France vous tente !

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Ghislaine. I am so happy you liked my tutorial.

  2. Dido

    Looks Fabulous I will have to give it a try.

    1. Carrie

      Hi Dido! How are you? Great to see you here. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Angela

    Pretty!! Will this process work on other surfaces such as painted furniture?

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Angela. Yes, this technique will totally work on furniture! Please see the step stool that I made over for my Mom a while back where I used another one of The Graphics Fairy’s images and transferred it onto the wooden stool. http://hookedondecorating.com/french-quatrefoil-step-stool-makeover-tutorial/ This technique will work on wood, cardboard, canvas, plaster etc. You could apply it to drawer front, the top of a dresser or on a set of wooden knobs.
      Take care,

  4. julie@renew-create-restore.blogspot.ca

    Oh this is terrific! Have you ever tried it on fabric? I’m trying to find the best (easiest) way to do something like this on drop cloth to recover a chair seat with. The chair never gets sat on (it’s in the corner of my bedroom and it’s job is to hold all the clothes I’m too lazy to hang up :-)

    1. Carrie

      Hi Julie,
      Yes, I have tried it on fabric but it is not durable at all unfortunately and it wouldn’t be washable. I did a transfer onto fabric and then soaked it with liquid starch which makes it more durable but then it makes the fabric stiff. If I were to try a transfer on a chair that got little use I would instead use iron-on fabric transfer paper and iron the design onto the fabric before attaching it to the chair. It would also be a little still but more durable than the gel medium. They also make this product called Bubble Jet 2000 that makes fabric durable. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet though. http://www.cjenkinscompany.com/Bubble_Jet_Set_2000_16_ounce_p/bubble%20jet%20set%202000%20-%2016%20ounce.htm
      Lastly, you could also try the Citrasolve method for transferring to fabric. I have tried it myself and it does not turn out as vibrant as the gel medium transfers that I do but it is still nice just the same and it is fairly easy to do. Here is an example: http://wethreemothers.blogspot.ca/2012/09/french-pillows.html

      Thanks again for your comments and for stopping by.

  5. Hope

    This looks like a mess to do, but -WOW – the end product is so professional and pretty!

    1. Carrie

      Hi Hope,

      Yes, it is a little bit messy but since I use a piece of newspaper or brown paper to protect the floor and then a piece of tinfoil for the transferring part, all I do when I am done is fold everything inwards and throw it into the garbage. Then I vacuum up any stray paper pieces that got away from me. I put up with the mess because it is so fun to transfer!

      Thanks for your sweet comments.
      Take care,

  6. Lavender Dreams

    What a neat project! Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas!

  7. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life

    Great tutorial, love it. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, marty

    1. Carrie

      Marty, how are you? Thanks for stopping by.

  8. pam

    bellissimo questo tutorial, grazie!!!!

    1. Carrie

      Grazie, Pam!

  9. Suzan

    Great tutorial and the finished ” picture ” is just gorgeous!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Suzan! I am so happy that you liked my tutorial.

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