The Photo Transfer Handbook Class Plan

by Jean Ray Laury

As photo transfer continues to be more accessible, easier and increasingly popular, you may want to include classes on this process in your shop offerings. The Photo Transfer Handbook is full of ideas for classes, from the simplest pillow to more complex quilts. There are many examples in the book of doll faces, vests, t-shirts, wall panels, quilt labels, and quilts that have been made using photo transfers.

Almost every quilter (from the most traditional to the contemporary) will be captivated by the process of putting her own photos onto cloth. Quilters are all going to be making these quilts, so they might as well make them in your classes. Most people feel more comfortable with some guidance, especially on the first projects.

The book includes sources for all the materials needed. Directions are clear and easily mastered. The following are materials which you could stock for these projects:
Fine woven cotton, white (a 200 count is great)
Smooth white and light colored cottons
Inkjet transfer papers
Transfer papers for the color laser copier (bringing your own transfer paper to the copy shop can affect the price they will charge for your copies)
Small ironing pads to use when making transfers
Irons with no steam vents
Patterns for vests, quilts, panels, etc.

The Photo Transfer Handbook is loaded with inspiration for many classes. You will think of dozens of others as you become more familiar with the boundless possibilities for photo transfer!

Quilt classes can be broken down into interest groups, such as graduation, wedding, new baby, commemorative, birthday, holiday, and anniversary.

Photo quilts–Using the local copy shop
Photo quilts–Using an inkjet printer

With friends and families, pets, homes, vacations

Travel vests

Jackets, shirts, vests, ready-made t-shirts, and sweatshirts.

Keepsake or memory pieces

friends, quilting group, or neighbors

Nature prints
wall hangings, panels, clothing, etc.

Quilt labels

1. Reserve an ironing pad in your shop just for photo transfer. Rectangles of plywood (about 8" x 12") which have been covered with a thin pad of flannel or fleece and then a piece of cloth can easily be recovered as necessary. (I just staple the fabric to the back.)
2. Check out the local thrift shop for an old iron that has no steam vents. The tiny holes made for the steam can sometimes interfere with the heat transfer of a print.
3. Reserve an iron or two to be used only for photo transfer. Keep sole-plate cleaner on hand. (One student will likely iron one wrong-side up!) Identify which irons are for fabric ONLY.
4. Keep a collection of small photo transfer images on which students can practice to help them feel at home with the process.
5. Remember that practice is essential. Our quilting improves with experience, and so does the transfer process.
6. Demonstrate transfer samples onto a variety of fabrics (sheers, heavy fabrics, textures, white-on-whites, stripes, colors) so that students can see how they work.
7. Display your students' work as they finish it, as this creates further interest in the classes.

No matter how simple the process, most people enjoy having guidance for their first projects. I suggest a 3- or 4-session class, and the lesson plan which follows is general. For classes listed on the preceding pages, you would want to alter the schedule.

Session 1:
The Photo Transfer Handbook: Snap It, Print It, Stitch It! by Jean Ray Laury
Session 2:
Sewing supplies
Scissors for paper and fabric
Template material
Fine white cotton fabric for transfer
Assortment of colored fabrics
Session 3:
Sewing supplies
Batting material
Backing fabric

1. Show examples of photo transfers. Familiarize students with the projects in The Photo Transfer Handbook.
2. Students select projects. They can choose anything in the book, or let students choose from those projects with which the instructor is most familiar.
3. Discuss the methods available (color laser copier or inkjet printer), and demonstrate the process of transferring with each.
4. Discuss each project in terms of the number of photos needed, changes in size that are required, etc.
5. Carefully review what students need to do before the next class, such as how many transfers are needed, how to place them on a sheet, what to enlarge, etc.
6. Discuss fabric needs, and help students with selection of color combinations.

1. Have irons and pads available for doing the transfers. Do a review demo of the transfer process.
2. Have students do their own transfers. Trim the papers before transferring.
3. Students cut patterns or draw templates for their selected projects. (Or the instructor can provide templates or patterns for class use.)
4. Assist students with assembly of blocks.
5. Instruct students in the vinegar rinse (for the inkjet).
6. Give directions for pressing. Remind students not to set a hot iron on the transfer itself.

1. Students bring their completed blocks and lay out their quilt tops. (Check each students layout before final assembly is begun.)
2. As students assemble their quilt tops, remind them to avoid setting the hot iron directly on transfers when pressing.
3. Students who are machine quilting can get started. Those who are hand quilting will want to decide on a quilting pattern that avoids sewing over the transfers (or keeps it to a minimum).
4. Remind students to sign and date their work.
5. Announce additional classes you teach on photo transfers.
6. Set up a "reunion" date when students can bring in their finished works to share with other class members, or set up an exhibit of their work.