Tutorial Time. Transfer an image to Fabric

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Le Junque, Tutorials

Happy Wednesday everyone.  If you missed my post yesterday from Trashy Tuesday, I am sharing how I did the graphic transfer onto the drop cloth curtain I made.

There are so many fantastic tutorials out there on transfers.  Today I am sharing the Citrasolve Transfer method.

This is a great method, if you want a clear, and PERMANENT transfer on fabric.  You can wash this, it won’t fade, it won’t smear, I love this method.  I wouldn’t try this on furniture though, because it is a solvent, it will probably eat your paint.  This is for FABRIC ONLY.

Here is what you need:

Fabric of choice. A tight weave fabric works best, I have near perfect results when I use drop cloth fabric.  I have done this on thin cotton for towels too, but it definitely comes up “faded” looking, which looks good too!

A pile of old newspapers to put under your fabric

Straight Pins

Chip Brush

Big Metal Spoon, or something to burnish with.  (This is what I use)

Bottle of Citrasolve.  I found this product at my local Aaron Brothers.  It can be hard to find, you can order it online at their website.

Graphic of choice.  Must be printed BY A LASER PRINTER.  For this reason, I email graphics I want printed to my local print shop.  (don’t forget to ask for “mirror image printing” if you are doing a transfer with words)

Start with your fabric on top of the pile of newspapers.  You need something firm underneath it, because you are really going to BURNISH this.   Lay your graphic face down on your fabric and pin it firmly into place.

Brush a small amount of Citrasolve onto the graphic.  A little goes a long way.  You just want to make sure the entire graphic has been moistened with Citrasolve.  Also, it is all natural, but has a very strong smell, I recommend doing this is a well ventilated area.

Starting at one end of the graphic (you can see it now, the Citrasolve will make your paper transparent), rub hard with the back of the spoon, making your way across the whole graphic.  I do this for a few minutes, and go over it a few times, just to make sure it has transferred evenly.

Undo the pins and lift up your graphic.  You should have a beautifully transferred graphic now.  The Citrasolve will dry clear and the smell fades.  You can wash it right away too, and the ink will not fade.  Here is my finished product, hanging on the rolling cart.

There are endless possibilities with this method.  I once did an entire dining set of chairs, with words my client had chosen that were meaningful to her family.  Look how great they turned out! You can read all about the entire Hutch and Table I did HERE.


Can’t wait to hear how this works out for you!  Let me know if you try it!  Or even better, link it up at my Link Party, every Thursday from 2:00 PST – Midnight on Sunday! For the html code if you want to link up, click HERE to go to my Buttons page.



  1. Bliss



  2. Pauline from Twin Oaks Studio

    Hi Karen! I used this same method and used fonts from PicMonkey’s photo editor to transfer words onto a bench cushion I recently finished. They have some really fun fonts and best of all its a free website! I bet there are others online like it but they are my go-to. Love your blog! — Pauline

  3. Jill Flory

    Great idea – you know I could use this for so many things!! Wish I had some of that solvent here right now.

  4. patty

    Wanted to mention that there are are some great coupons for CitraSolv on their website, http://www.citrasolv.com.

  5. Inspire Me Heather

    All of your Citra Solv projects look great – I soo want to try this! Thanks for posting your tutorial and I have this linked to my DIY image transferring post too today!

  6. Lindaloo

    Can you suggest where to print? I tried Kinko’s, a local library, my own printer. Apparently none are laser. Help!! I want to print on fabric so bad. Got a list of project to do! Thanks, Linda

  7. Jordan

    Hi there! I wanted to try out this lovely method on some vintage hankies I bought. I tested it out first one just some basic cotton cloth – but nothing happened! I had the citrisolv…and I printed them using our laser printer at work…Are all laser printers the same? I’d love to make this work!!

    Thanks a bunch!

    • GTC

      Hi Jordan. Sorry for the delayed response. I am not sure if all laser printers are created equal. Did you put the printed side of the image down ont the hankie? You have to have the inked side touching the fabric, then rub really hard with a spooon or burnishing too, or I like to use a warm iron. I hope that helps!

      • Mechelle

        FYI…..newer laser printers won’t work with this method. In the older models, the toner was made of plastic, which citrasolv and acetone would break down and the particles fell into place on fabric. The newer laser printers have toner that is made with an epoxy, now. It doesn’t break down. I bought a new laser printer for the sole reason of doing image transfers to fabric, just to be disappointed that it doesn’t work. After researching online as to why, I discovered the info about newer model printers. But there is a solution. I simply made a master copy on my printer, then took it to work and printed copies from that on our dept’s older laser printer. The transfers worked like a charm with citrasolv. You can also take a copy to Office Depot and have them make copies for you for about 11 cents for black and white or about 59 cents for color.

        • Mechelle

          UPDATE: I went to Office Depot this morning and had some copies made to make more pillow transfers. They wouldn’t transfer to fabric, either with Citrasolv or Acetone. I called OD and asked them about it and they said they just installed new printers two weeks ago. Sadly, it looks like there will come a day, after everyone has updated printers, that we will no longer be able to do these transfers, unless something new comes along that will work on these newer toners to make it transfer.

  8. Lesley Riley

    I just bought an HP Laserjet MFP 140we and it works like a charm. I did use a Chartpak xylene blender marker for the transfers and it worked beautifully. I think I have some Citrasolve and will try that, too.

    • GTC

      That’s wonderful! Happy creating and thank you for stopping by!


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