Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Citrasolv Transfer Tutorial

Monday I shared some homemade pillows I made as Christmas gifts, and promised I'd share the tutorial for Citrasolv transfers.  This is one of my all time favorite projects!  I'm sure you could find tons of tutorials for this online, but I wanted to show you myself! 
To make your own Citrasolv transfer, you need:

-Fabric (I used a muslin type liner fabric that is about $2.50/yd- use a coupon at Joanne's for a better deal)
-An image to transfer (I got mine from here)
- A spoon, or anything hard that you can rub the image with
- A paint brush (if you don't have a paint brush, just use a cotton ball)
- Tape (I forgot to put that in the picture, oops)

*Some Notes on the materials*
For your image, you need something that looks good in black and white- I don't think you can transfer in color.  You MUST go to the printer properties when you print the image and select "mirror printing".  This will print the image backwards on the paper so that when you turn it over to transfer it is facing the correct direction. 

Also, the image must be printed on a laser printer or a copier. The citrasolv reacts to the toner, so a regular ink jet printer will not work for this.  If you don't have one, print it out on your inkjet and then take it to Staples or the local library to make a copy.  Or have it printed on a laser printed at Staples  (if you bring in a file on a USB or something, remember to tell the person to print mirror image)

About Citrasolv: Citrasolv is actually a natural citrus cleaner and degreaser, not a craft product.  I found mine at a health food store for $11.79.  A little pricey, but it lasts forever!  Food Lion in Lynchburg also carries it, but they didn't have the concentrated bottle- only the spray bottle that has water added. I doubt that would work. 

See, I still have tons after doing about 15 transfers and spilling some on my computer :).
Citrasolv's website will tell you where the closest places to buy it around you are here.

Once you have all your materials...

 Step #1:
Tape the paper image side down onto your fabric. (Be sure not to tape over any of the image)

 Step #2- With your paint brush, begin brushing over the image with Citrasolv. You will begin to see the image.

 Step #3: Make sure you have covered the entire image

 Step #4: Take your spoon (or whatever your using) and press down hard on the image.  Rub over the entire image.

Step #5: Peek at the corner without taking the tape off to make sure you've pressed hard enough to make the image show up.

 Step #6: Once you are ready, peel the paper off the fabric.  (This is the fun part!)

 Step #7: Enjoy your fabric transfer.  You could make a pillow, you could frame the fabric, etc.  The sky is the limit!

I'm linking up to the Frugal Friday, CSI Project and to the Lettered Cottage!

The Shabby Nest



  1. That is fascinating. I've never heard of Citrasolv, but I'll check out their site. I like how to image isn't 100% perfect so it looks like it's an older pillow. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is great 'cause you don't have to deal with photo transfer paper and I like the antique look it produces! One question: Can it be washed- how permanent is it?

    Thanks for posting this!


  3. Jami,
    I have not washed any of my transfers yet, but from what I have heard it is permanent and washable. I'm planning on testing that out soon.

  4. Coming over from the Graphics Fairy and a happy new follower. This is seriously the coolest thing I've seen yet in blog land. Unfortunately, all I have are inkjet printers so I'm going to have to try plan b! Thanks for sharing, Jeanine

  5. Hi Cortney, this is great I'm going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing this. I did a search and there's a store that sells this just minutes away! ~Marcy

  6. Lynn in Chicago suburbsJanuary 3, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Just a tip to save others from running around to 3 stores only to find out the Citrsolv website is sorely out of date and "No, we USED to carry that stuff a long time ago." Aarrgh! Call first.
    I ended up buying it online for about the same price you did. It works great. Great tutorial.

  7. Yeah, I ended up going to two differet stores before finding it as well. The first store didn't have the concentrated kind. The second only had the wood cleaner,and I wasn't sure that would work. Good tip Lynn, call the stores first!

  8. Ok...I need help! lol
    After visiting 4 different stores, I finally found Citrasolv.
    I copied all my designs on our church copier (uses toner) and that didn't work. So, I copied them all at Staples on their laser printer. STILL nothing! I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I'm using plenty of Citrasolv, I'm burnishing really hard with a spoon on a wooden board as a surface, and I've tried two different fabrics! I'm close to giving up, but I've never flopped at a craft project before. Any advice?? Thanks!

  9. Oh no! I'm so sorry that it isn't working for you! Do you have the Citrasolv in a spray bottle or the bottle that looks like mine? The spray bottle is not concentrated so that could be it if you happened to get the spray kind.

    The only other thing I can find online is the toner in printer/copier not being carbon based. I have been looking for an explanation on what actually causes the transfer and some people say tht if the copier or printer has the capability to print in color, it is not the same carbon make up as a pure black and white toner. The one I use will only do black and white...I know Staples prints in color, so that could be an issue. Does the church copier do color copies as well?

  10. Thanks for this great tutorial! Your pillow is beautiful and I can't wait to try this!

  11. @Cortney
    Yes, it must be something with the copier. I'm going to try the library copier today. One more shot!

  12. I found Citrasolv at Lee Valley. It was $8.99 for a medium sized bottle. It really does last a long time. I did a bunch of transfers and used about an 1/8th of the bottle.

  13. I have sooo been wanting to do this and haven't been able to find a great tutorial!! You explain it beautifully...thank you!!


  14. One tip to anyone who has tried it and it's not working, I had to push really, really hard for mine to transfer. I'm not sure if it's because of the fabric I used or not, but at first it wouldn't transfer at all. I ended up using the end of a paintbrush, and I spent about 15 minutes working on it before it would actually transfer. I'm not sure how I could possibly do anywhere close to 15 transfers. For now, my arms need a rest. Good luck and I hope this helps anyone in need!

  15. Fabulous tutorial! I plan on trying this for my next DIY. I'd like to re-post yours and provide a link back to your page. I just put up a lovely tutorial up on my blog,, Feel free to do the same!

    Also, your blog is lovely, as is your "About me" section; stole the words right out of my mouth :)


  16. I would love to do this but instead have a picture of a dog or cat. The reason why is because my mom loves dogs and cats. She's not much of a deer person and I want to do this for her for mother's day.

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  19. Hi, if anyone here has used a newish mono laser printer that works with citrasolv, can you please let me know the model of your printer. Thanks. Having a hard time trying to get a new printer that will work .

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  25. Hi, I have heard that acetone works as well as Citrasolv. What is you opinion? Thanks!

  26. thank you so much for this tutorial. I have seen many ways to do it, but this seems the easiest.
    Did you try other ways before this? just curious.

    be blessed


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