Thursday, September 26, 2019

Faux Purple Transferware DIY

Hello and welcome to our Thrift Store Challenge for the month of September Here, a group of creative bloggers come together on the fourth Thursday of each month to share their lovely transformations of a thrift store item. Who doesn't love thrift store upcycle projects - whether it's actually creating one or admiring how an item from a thrift store was transformed!

The Rules:
  • Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
  • There's no monthly theme.
  • There's no budget to stick to.

Meet the Hosts

  Chas | Chas' Crazy Creations  | Angie | Grandma Creates 

Beverly | Across The Blvd  

Make sure you follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration!

By now, almost everyone who reads my posts knows that I love making things in purple! I was recently inspired by Handan and Greg from The Navage Patch who shared how they created beautiful pumpkins using blue and white flower tattoos. They offered their design tattoos free of charge and I commented that I wished they were in purple.  And surprisingly, Handan sent me a download of the designs in purple! Here's a few of them. Aren't they pretty!
I was so ecstatic! But, as much as I loved their pumpkins, I didn't want to re-create them with the purple flowers - I was inspired to use their tattoo designs to make something else, like faux purple transferware!  

Transferware is an ancient decorative art form of pottery that had a pattern applied to it by the transferring of a design from an inked, hand engraved warmed copper plate to a wet tissue paper and then onto the body of pottery it decorates.  Pretty much like tattoos transference, it seemed!  Since transferware is mostly found on items like earthenware, ironstone, porcelain and bone china, how easy would it be to apply tattoos to painted glassware to mimic purple transferware!  Or so I thought! I did run into a few hiccups along the way, but overall, it was a great idea for this month's thrift store challenge. 

Faux Purple Transferware DIY
In my attempt to re-create purple transferware, I started with a glass vase that I found at Goodwill for three dollars. I washed the vase with Dawn dish soap, and after drying, wiped it down with alcohol wipes to remove any left over oils and let dry. 
 Then, I painted on about three layers of white multi-surface acrylic paint and allowed each layer to dry in-between.

Hiccup#1 - The tattoo paper Greg used was not available. It was on back-order at Amazon for 9/26 a few weeks ago, and still is, as of 9/25, for delivery on 10/1. But that will probably change again, too. And I swear, every time I checked on Amazon the price kept going up. Anyway, desperate, I ordered a different tattoo paper brand called Sunnyscopa for inkjet and laser since I have both printers. And it said on the package that it was suitable surface on skin, leather, plastic, candle, wood, glass, metal, ceramic and fabric. And let me just say that I used this brand before for making a waterslide decal so I thought it would be ok to use for this. But I definitely won't recommend using this brand for this type project, ever! 

Next, I thought the designs were a bit too small for the size of the vase, so I enlarged two of my favorite flower designs in Word and printed them out on the tattoo paper for inkjet printers. The directions for this paper said to dry the ink for about an hour - which I did. But I did not use the enclosed adhesive sheet. Going on what Greg said, it wasn't necessary.  And I don't think that mattered anyway.  Then I cut out one of the designs to try out.

Next, I positioned the cut-out tattoo design on the vase  .  .  .
and then turned it over in the same position to begin the wetting process.

The directions said "to use wet tissues or cotton to dab on the tattoo for about 10 seconds and once the backing starts to loosen, remove. Your beautiful tattoo is ready!" Yeah, right!  I used a damp cloth - and held in place for about one minute. Then I lifted up a corner and smeared ink stains were there - but no flower design tattoo. YUK! My heart sank and my feelings were hurt! A complete fail!!!!  What was easy for Greg and Handan, turned into a semi-nightmare for me. I didnot have pictures of this! Just take my word.

I quickly washed off the ink and tried two or three more times to get it right.

Then, I discovered that I needed water - dripping wet water! So, I sprayed the spot on the vase where I wanted to place the tattoo with water first, and then I sprayed the tattoo paper to make it pliable and finally covered it with a very wet cloth and waited for about a minute or more.
 After waiting about a minute, I removed the cloth, and use it to help wipe down the design some more.
 And then, slowly removed the paper backing .  .  .
 to reveal the flower tattoo, finally! YAY! I discovered what worked!
So, I started adding more tattoos all around the vase!

HICCUP #3  Some of the colors were off  .  .  .
and some of the flower details were not as sharp!
But, you know what? I can live with that for now. I still like the idea and I'm not giving up! I have the right paper on order, and hopefully this process will turn out perfect next time!

FYI, the finish vase should be sealed with a gloss varnish.  But, what's there now can easily be removed with acetone, soap and water. I'm waiting for the right tattoo paper, so this is staying as is, for now!
In the meantime, I do love how it looks! Imagine finding trays, dishes, vases and the like from the thrift store and having fun adding tattoo designs to create lots of faux purple transferware! 

And now for more thrifty goodness!

Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


  1. What a beautiful upcycle and love the color. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So pretty, Gail! I love the way it turned out.

  3. How pretty! It looks like a piece you'd find made that way in a store. It's great that he provided you with a purple download.

  4. Que bien quedan esos papeles. Los conozco, alguna vez he adornado botellas con él.
    Tu jarrón parece de porcelana

  5. This is beautiful! The vase looks gorgeous with the purple flowers.


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