Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Farewell to Yudu, Hello Citra Solv!

I've had my Yudu for a year?  I think that's right....and I have had very few successful projects.  Certainly not enough to keep the thing hanging around, taking up space and frustrating the bejujuice out of me every time I have a "brilliant" idea.

Thanks to a lovely reader, Missy from Chateau Chic Boutique, who left a comment on my tea towel entry, I learned about Citra Solv.  It's an all-natural degreaser that has the magical powers of transferring toner ink onto surfaces.  I will eventually try out every kind of toner and printer to see what exactly works and what doesn't, but in a few short minutes, I had major success.  Certainly more success than I could ever DREAM of having with that bloody screen printer.

Here's the how to.  Order some Citra Solv....apparently it is available at most Whole Foods, but we don't have Whole Foods.  I ordered mine from the Lucky Vitamin due to the fact it ships from Pennsylvania and I would have it in just a few days.  They also had a great price on 32oz....MUCH cheaper than ink, emulsion, screens, etc.  The supply list for this project is beyond simple:

-Citra Solv
-Laser Jet Printed Image
-Cotton Pads
-Something to Print On
-Smooth Work Surface (I'll explain more about the "smooth" part in a bit)
-A well ventilated area!!

I printed out a couple of test images on different printers.  The printer that worked was a HP LaserJet.  I'm not quite sure why that one worked and others didn't, but I plan to head back to Kinkos with a little bit of Citra Solv so I can test out the different machines.  Don't forget to reverse your image when printing as this transfer method works when the ink is pressed to the fabric.

This is TEST fabric.  Don't go wasting your preferred surface on practicing and you will need to practice.  Alright, flip the images so the ink is face down on the fabric and tape into place.  You're going to be pressing the image and rubbing it, so you want to make sure it won't shift.  Shifty paper = blurry image.

One source told me to put some of the Citra Solv into a smaller cup and then dip in your cotton pad....I feel this used way too much solution.  And since I can't just run out and get more, I want to conserve.  Instead, I just placed the cotton pad over the top of the bottle and gently tipped so the cotton pad was wet, but not dripping.  Then just rub the Citra Solv over the image....it's kind of the coolest thing ever and leaves your paper transparent so you can see what parts you've hit and what parts you haven't.

Alright, so that's not enough to make the ink go onto the fabric.  This is where your spoon comes in.  Using the backside, rub rub rub all over the image and do not miss a spot.  I found that doing the outline first was a good method, then you can go back over the "inners".  Just make sure you get the whole thing....what ever you don't rub, won't transfer.  The first few times you do this, carefully peek without shifting the image to ensure that you've got every bit.  With a more detailed image, this will be harder.  I recommend practicing with something less detailed just to get down your technique.

This, is why you need a SMOOTH surface, although experimenting with different textures underneath the image is totally cool.  Here, I used a pizza box....and then quickly tried again just on the table.  The coolest thing is that there's very little mess.  And the Citra Solv is a cleaner, so no biggie if it gets everywhere.  Just don't get it in your eyes.  Or your mouth.  I think if the Citra Solv leaks through the paper onto your surface, you're using too much...and I would imagine it would make the image run.  Ahhh...that's better.

So. Cool.  For extra measure, I ironed the image to "seal" it.  Oh, my little brain is racing with the possibilities.  But for now, I'm focused on making BamaHandmAIDE totes....100% of the proceeds from these guys are going directly to the United Way of West Alabama to help with their tornado relief efforts.  So hooray!  I just love the way it turned out.  If you want one, visit the etsy shop!

My Yudu is currently listed on Craig's List.  I will not be fooled by ProvoCraft again!


  1. Thanks for sharing that tutorial. I just bought some Citra solv last week and am going to try using it soon. I also do not live close to a whole foods, so I checked my local organic grocer and they had it! If you have an organic grocery they might carry it.

  2. I hope you find it helpful! Thanks so much for reading and have fun. After fighting with the multiple step process of screen printing, it was the most enjoyable hour of crafting I've had in a while!

    I'm going to check out our natural food store next time I'm out...thanks for the tip and please post a link if you put your projects up online. I'd love to see!


  3. Hey! Thanks for sharing this awesome info! I went out and bought the citra solv and tried this new technique and i have not had any luck yet. i'm not sure if its my printer or what. have any ideas??

  4. Hey Catherine...thanks for reading!

    And yes, it's definitely the printer you're using. I have tried out two....a xerox copier (which had NO transfer effects at all) and an HP LaserJet that has a 05a cartridge. That's the one that works so I'm thinking you need a laserjet printer. I read somewhere that someone took a bit of CitraSolv in a film canister to Kinkos and tested out the different machines until they found one that worked. I hope that helps!

  5. Just ran across your blog and I love this tutorial! I'm amazed at all the things Citra Solv can do - I initially got it to clean floors then found it was better at removing labels than Goo Gone. And today it worked wonders cleaning up my mom's old Kitchen Maid mixer!

  6. Came here via your link on Etsy - don't have Citra-solv here in the UK, but I have a large container of similar cleaner I use to clean up after printmaking so I'm going to give it a try.

  7. Hey Ian! Thanks for coming over for a read.

    I know that Citra Solve is a small business and incredibly helpful. They have a Facebook page and might know where you can find it in the UK or ship some over to you. Let me know if the cleaner you have works, too! It really is an amazingly cheap and easy way to do image transfers!

  8. Do you know if this would work on canvas?? Thanks :)

  9. Hello WebDesigner! It does work on canvas. Artists Canvas is a little different though as it has a coating on it. I think that you may need to let it dry before the ink will stick if you try it on that surface. I have tried it on paint and the Citra Solve ate away at the paint a little...not perfect but still a cool effect. And it's so cheap, it may be worth the try. Let me know if it works!