can be used to transfer images onto a range
of different surface. Used on fabric, the transferred
images offer an amazing array of ideas for the
by Alan Bennington
is a water-decal transfer paper that is ideal
for using with fabrics that are to be stitched,
as it is easy to use, and allows the fabric
to retain its softness and drape. It may also
be transferred onto different surfaces such
as paper, wood, wax, stone, glass, metal foil,
polymer clay and ceramics.
standard-version Lazertran is suitable for most
fabrics; Lazertran Silk is for use on silk and
satin fabrics (the instructions for these are
slightly different, and are given with the product).
Please note that there is a newer version of
Lazertran for inkjet printers, but this is not
suitable for stitching into.
Lazertran on cotton fabric was used for all
of the examples shown here. Commercial felt
(for backings), gold tissue fabric and sheer
organza were also used. All hand stitching is
worked in stranded cotton.
all print shops will allow the use of Lazertran,
so do check first. Recommended colour photocopiers
are: Canon, Xerox, Minolta, Ricoh, QMS and Tektronics.
Machines that run above 180°C are not suitable.
Unstitched sample showing two pieces
of artwork, one torn into strips and laid
on top of the other before being copied
Unstitched sample of lettering on sponged
paper, which was done before being copied
onto Lazertran (a reminder of the importance
of reversing the image).
Bottom Unstitched sample showing
two separate Lazertran images, one laid
over the other. (A wallpaper border was
used as a design source).
to a Lazertran background, 'stamps' cut
from Lazertran surround the main image,
which is enhanced with stitching and a
few beads. Twisted threads frame the image.
an image onto fabric
to a suitable colour photocopier
standard version (comes in packs of eight
copyright-free photograph, image, or artwork
- this will need to be reversed
ironing board and silicone paper (baking parchment
- greaseproof paper is not suitable)
or light-coloured fabric (cotton, cotton-polyester
mix or other natural fibres)
bowl or container to take A4 size
photos or images photocopied in reverse
onto Lazertran paper (on the shiny side).
To make best use of your A4 sheet, arrange
the images to cover all of it.
out the chosen image to the correct size,
trimming any white paper from around the edges.
a bowl of cold water ready.
a piece of pressed fabric onto an ironing
board (the fabric size should be large enough
for the image to go into an embroidery hoop
or frame); set the iron to wool/cotton). lay
the image face-down in the centre of the fabric,
keeping to the straight grain, and iron firmly
all over to melt the transfer onto the fabric.
the fabric with attached image in the cold
water and wait for approximately one minute;
you will see the paper start to slide off
the fabric (there may be some curling -up).
the fabric from the water and lay it flat.
a sponge to wipe away any excess adhesive.
Allow the fabric to dry.
a piece of baking parchment over the image
and iron well all over to fix it. Do not
allow the image to come into contact with
to cool before carefully peeling off the baking
the image still looks shiny, repeat steps
8 and 9; this will drive the image into the
fabric and get rid of the shine.
can be cut from the image
before ironing, to use as motifs.
photographs, family portraits, images, artwork,
decorative papers or small flattish objects
like feathers, shells, threads, or a precious
piece of textile, can all be taken to the
copier and transferred onto Lazertran. Text
may also be used. NOTE: Any white on the image
will show as ground fabric after ironing.
image can be enlarged or reduced in size when
copying onto Lazertran.
avoid very straight edges, the image can be
torn rather than cut before being ironed onto
the image into small sections to use as 'stamps'
(mark out the sections on the back of the
Lazertran image before cutting out). Position
carefully on the fabric allowing a small border
around each one, and iron.
can be cut out from the image before ironing,
to use as motifs.
long as the first layer is light in colour,
images can be applied one on top of another.
The second layer may take a little more soaking
and require careful peeling away. This method
can also be used on light-coloured transparent
cut from Lazertran fabric were
woven together and bonded over a
Lazertran artwork sample. Running
stitches are used to enhance the
effect of the weaving.
printed fabric can be used stitched or unstitched,
for patchwork, quilting, three-dimensional work,
book-covers, etc. Use small left-over pieces
to make greetings cards or beads. If you are
stitching into the image, it's best to use an
embroidery hoop to keep a tight tension on the
with Stitch: suitable hand or machine
decorative stitches can be used to cover the
image completely or to work in small selected
knots are all good examples of hand stitches
that would work well. In most cases the image
will benefit from being enhanced, so emphasise
the light and dark areas with your choice
of thread colour. Mixing coloured threads
in the needle (two different greens, for example)
gives a good effect. If you are working with
lightweight fabric it is advisable to use
a backing fabric to give strength (see Back
The image can be transferred onto
white canvas to act as a guide for needlepoint.
The film sits on the surface of the canvas
and is pierced by the needle as you stitch.
The image ironed onto white canvas can be
used as a design guide only when stitching.
The shapes will dictate which stitches are
The addition of beads always adds extra texture,
light and interest. If you want to draw attention
to a particular area of the image or to create
a focal point, beads are a good way to do
this. You will need a beading needle. A good
tip is to use quilting thread (already waxed)
which helps when threading the needle and
to strengthen the process.
The completed image can be hand or machine
appliquéd onto a background fabric.
This can be another piece of Lazertran-transferred
fabric or a decorative fabric.
a If applying
by hand, trim back the white fabric around
your image to 1.5cm; turn under the 1.5cm
allowance and slipstitch the piece in place.
b If working
by machine, trim back to the image, tack in
place (use a fine needle and keep tacking
to the edge - needle holes may show in the
printed image) and machine around the edge
using a zigzag stitch.
instead of tacking, use fusible webbing (Bondaweb)
on the back of the image and iron into place;
use baking parchment under the bottom fabric
and on top of the image to prevent it from
sticking to the iron.
d If the
applied layer will be enhanced with stitching,
appliquéd shapes or beads, place a
piece of coloured felt or firm fabric behind
the background fabric to give added strength
and stitch through all the layers. (If you
are using commercial felt, it's always a good
idea to steam-iron it first to shrink it slightly.)
fabric using mohair threads with actual
couched freely on top. Felt behind the
background fabric gives
This is a method of padding the image to create
raised areas, which adds an extra dimension
to the work.
a piece of fine backing fabric (such as calico
or muslin) under your printed fabric and put
them together in a hoop.
around the shapes to be padded, using threads
in shades that mirror the colours of the image
(if you outline shapes in only one colour
it is less effective).
on one enclosed area at a time, cut a small
slit in the backing fabric only (always
make the cut along the straight grain of the
fabric - if you cut on the cross, the fabric
will become loose and fray as you work).
a large tapestry needle or bodkin, push small
pieces of stuffing into the space, taking
care to work into all the small corners and
pointed areas; sew up the slit using herringbone
stitch before moving on to the next section.
border created using leftover
pieces of Lazertran fabric
leftover pieces of Lazertran
fabrics layered with machine couching
and seeding, with frayed edges.
The edges can be finished in a variety of
out the image leaving a narrow white border
all round, which can then be frayed.
the edges of the image into the background
fabric with lots of stitching (see instruction
cord or groups of twisted threads can be couched
around the image to create a simple 'frame'.
Leaving long ends at the corners gives a tassel
effect, adding yet another texture.
d A piece
of hand or machine embroidery could be worked
separately with an aperture cut to mount over
Transfer the image onto fabric, allowing extra
fabric all round.
the Lazertranned fabric on top of a strong
backing fabric and mount the fabrics together
in an embroidery frame.
threads to match the colours in the image
and work a selection of stitches all around
the edge, taking the stitching just over the
edge of the image to blend it into the background
c In the
sample shown here (below) the coloured threads
were chopped up to about 1cm long and arranged
around the image. The whole piece was covered
with a sheer organza and this was fixed in
place with free machining. Using various colours
of thread to give a feel of the image without
copying it in any way (more than one colour
was usually used in the needle), hand stitching
knots were then added. Three strands of
stranded cotton were used, but more could
be added if a more textural piece was required.
When the stitching was completed, the layer
of organza over the transferred image was
carefully trimmed back to reveal the image.
Finally, the image was padded using the same
method as for trapunto quilting (see 5).
made with Lazertran artwork fabrics,
stuffed with decorative threads and couched
to the background.
showing edges blended with hand and
The finished piece can be made up in a variety
a To make
a simple hanging, cut a piece of firm card
or board the size of the second layer. Place
this behind the embroidery and cover with
a slightly larger piece of felt or firm fabric;
slipstitch in place all around the edges and
sew on a curtain ring for hanging.
stretch and lace the background fabric over
a piece of firm card or board (see Back
to Basics); this can be framed, or simply
finished with an applied piece of felt/fabric
and a curtain ring, as before.
Designs by Simon Raw-Rees and Mick Kelly shows
how Lazertran can be used to transfer any image
onto any surface, from metals and wood to candles
and cloth. Available at the time of writing from the Embroiderers'
Guild Bookshop. Published
by Search Press, ISBN 1903975 20 4.
Lazertran was available at the time of writing available by mail order from:
Van Go, The Studios, 1 Stevenage Road,
Knebworth, Herts SG3 6AN. Tel: +44 (0)1438
(A3 and A4 sizes available) contact for