I am thrilled to report that I have FINALLY figured out how to make image transfers!
I have been trying for literally YEARS to get nice clean images like the examples in the numerous "how to" books I've consulted, but mine always came out too light, or they tore, or the image was uneven. A number of my students have shown me their examples that looked great, and assured me how easy the process is. So I would try again, but I always came up with unsatisfactory results.
This week I realized that I HAD to figure out how to do this, because I'm teaching a mixed media class this winter and I want to be able to teach my students how to make (and incorporate) image transfers.
So I turned my studio into a laboratory. I tested six different approaches, using different thicknesses and brands of acrylic mediums. I varied something with each one to see what worked best: either the length of time I let the acrylic dry, or the amount of detail on the image I used, or the amount of pressure I used to rub the paper off, or the surface I used to rub it off with.
Here's the combination of steps that worked well for me: apply a layer of Dick Blick brand acrylic gel medium onto the surface of your artwork, press the Xeroxed image gently into the gel, leave it to dry for at least two days, soak it in water for at least 5 minutes, then rub off the paper very gently with your fingers under constantly running warm water.
I'm so happy that I finally figured this out! But it worked only because I disregarded MOST of what I have read in how-to books about how to do this.