Transfer Graphics using Citrasolv

by Burningcourt

How to Transfer Graphics or Text onto fabric using Citrasolv

Transfer your favorite graphics or text onto paper, t shirts, pillow covers or other materials using Citrasolv, a citrus solvent.



There are many methods for transferring graphics on t-shirts or other textiles. Using Citrasolv is one easy, but effective method. This method will give a slightly faded, but beautiful look.


You will need a laser printer (or copy machine), image, spoon or bone tool, CitraSolv Concentrate, tissues and of course the fabric or item you will be transferring to.


Citra Solv is a citrus solvent that is used as a natural, powerful degreaser but it is also great for transferring graphics onto paper and textile like towels, pillows, chair seats and lampshades. It has a pleasant smell, but you still need to use it in a well ventilated room or outside.


The image must be printed on a copy machine or laser printer because the transfer only works with dry toner. It will not work with ink jet printers because no ink dissolves. Some copy machines and laser printers work better than others, but most home laser printers and older copy machines seem to work ok.


Use a pair of scissors and carefully cut out the image.


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Etsy- Silverlithograph
Vintage Lithographs- Europe 180-1910



Iron your fabric because you need a flat smooth surface. You are then going to lay the image upside down, meaning that you will be looking at the back of the paper. You will need to flip your image in photoshop or your favorite photo software before transferring it. You may also be able to do this in your printer settings depending on your printer.


Tape it to place. If you are printing on a T-shirt put something inside the shirt so you don't have ink bleeding through to the back of the shirt. Take a paintbrush or paper towel with Citra Solv Concentrate (full strength) and rub it onto the back of the paper. Do not saturate the back of your images. Apply a light coat to the back of your image only just enough to see the image come through the paper.


Use the back of a spoon to rub over the design. It needs to be pressed fairly hard. You can also use a wood  or bone tool (anything with a hard flat edge). That rubbing pressure will make the ink, which has been turned into a liquid from the Citra-Solv, to transfer to the fabric underneath.


Carefully lift a corner to check the transfer. If the image has transferred, pull off the paper. If not, place image back down, and re-press.

The Citra Solv will evaporate completely to leave a perfect image behind. The effect will differ on different types of fabric. Do some experimenting. Iron it to set the image. Iron on a cloth to protect your ironing board in case any ink goes right through your fabric.


The toner from the laser printer/photo copier will not wash away. Wash the textiles with a mild detergent. 

Updated: 02/26/2012, Burningcourt
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Rose on 11/27/2013

This sounds like a neat way to transfer old photos and designs onto t-shirts

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