Heat transfers aren't just for fabric! You can print and press all sorts of things - like this wooden mason jar Halloween decoration. This tutorial will show go through the steps of how I made this one (but you can make one for any season, holiday, or occasion)!
Things you'll need:
• PNG design (like the DBJJ watercolor printables!)
• inkjet printer and heat press
• opaque heat transfer paper (I like 3G Jet Opaque)
• small wooden dowel
• paint, chalk markers, string, pot filler, brushes, scissors - - this stuff is all up to you and how you'd like to design your decor
First you need to prepare the jar. You can leave it as naked wood or paint it to your liking. For this Halloween jar I painted it off-white and went around the edges with a light khaki paint. Then I used a silver chalk marker for the lid.
While that was drying, I painted the pot and dowel black, then threw a little accent paint on the top and bottom of the pot for fun. I wasn't very careful with my paint because I wanted it to look more Halloween-y, which means that imperfections are actually desired (which is awesome, because perfection I'm not so good at).
After that paint dried I used a white chalk marker to draw stripes on the dowel and the word "boo" on the pot. The last thing I did was to take some brown paint and applied it using a really dry brush. I wanted things too look good and grungy.
I left everything to finish drying while I prepped my heat transfer. It's really important that before you do anything, you measure the space you'll be putting the image you want to transfer, and make sure you won't be printing it any bigger than you need.
Also with a project like this you'll want to have a few things handy. The most important is parchment paper - you'll absolutely need that. You can also use a teflon sheet, but I would suggest parchment paper instead (the kind you buy for baking). It's also handy to have a pressing pillow. You can find these online, or make one yourself. The pillow helps items get evenly pressed.
For this project I used Opaque transfer paper. It's different from the paper used on white and light colored surfaces in a couple of ways. First of all you don't need to mirror your printed image. Secondly, on an opaque sheet everything that's white will stay white, so use an image that's easy to trim around. Here's what mine looked like before trimming.
Since I didn't want all that white to show around the circle with the bat, I grabbed some craft scissors and carefully cut around it. A lot of people use their cutting machine for this bit - which can be really helpful if you're making a lot of stuff at once.
Before an opaque transfer can be put in the heat press you need to peel the backing from the design. The paper with the gray grid? All of it needs to go. It leaves the design feeling like a thin piece of vinyl or like a sticker without the actual stickiness.
Once the heat transfer was totally ready to go I prepressed my wooden mason jar. Prepressing helps get extra moisture out of whatever you're pressing onto. It also gives you a chance to adjust the pressure settings on your press - which is always vital to every project!
Then I was ready to press the transfer onto my jar. First I put down the pressing pillow, then put the wooden mason jar in the middle of the pillow. The design was then laid down in the center of the jar (if you're doing this while your jar is sitting near the hot press you need to be quick - it will start to curl in the heat). Then the sheet of parchment paper on top - this is so it won't stick to your press.
Most transfer papers will tell you at what temperature and time to press for projects. You'll need to play around with your printer and press to make your projects turn out the best they possibly can be. It just takes some experience, but is super easy to get the hang of once you know what to tweak (temperature, time, pressure, and/or printer adjustments).
I pressed my mason jar for about 35 seconds at 350 degrees.
Be careful when you pull the parchment paper off your project after pressing. Opaque transfers generally prefer to be cold when you pull it off.
To finish off my Halloween decoration I glued the wooden dowel to the back of the jar (I just used hot glue). Then I put a disc of the styrofoam into the bottom of the pot. I had to cut mine from a larger disc because that's what I had on hand. (It's purpose is to basically stabilize the dowel a little inside your pot, so it doesn't matter if it's a little ugly.)
Then I put the doweled mason jar in the pot and filled it to the top with Halloween candy. I tied some orange craft string around the lid and called it finished!
These mason jars also make great ornaments, gift tags, and banners. It was a really fun craft to do, made extra special by the heat transfer design. You can get a hand painted look without doing any of the detailed painting!