Instant Photo Transfers With Blender Pens

Post image for Instant Photo Transfers With Blender Pens

UPDATE: This post originally ran on March 28th but we’re still in love with this DIY and had to share it again!

For the first time in a long time, I bought a roll of film.

Brigette and I are so used to shooting digitally that the process of buying film and using a film camera was something we almost forgot how to do. There’s something about shooting on film that gives an image such character. It’s clean and crisp, yet moody. You never know what you are going to get; one click and you advance the film, leaving the image unseen until it’s processed. Such an element of surprise is incorporated that it makes each image a bit more special.

Fingerless gloves, camera

If you’ve recently shot some film and are looking for a fun little project to do with your images, Brigette and I worked on something this week that blew our minds: blender pen photo transfers.

This is the process of taking a photo and transferring it onto a specific surface using a special little gadget called a blender pen.

Blender pen for photo transfer

These incredible pens can be bought at specialty craft stores. They’re so easy to use — and your photo transfers are basically completed instantly. There’s no waiting here. Just be warned that they give off a very strong smell, so make sure to use them in a well-ventilated area — outside works best, if possible.

film pictures

After you get your film developed, make photocopies of the images you’d like to transfer. This step is very important — simply printing a photo from your computer unfortunately won’t work.

Next, decide where you want to transfer your image. Paper seemed to be the easiest for us, but this can also be done on wood, ceramic, and tin.

Photos of hands, hands

Flip your image face down, and hold in place while you completely cover the back using a blender pen. Keep in mind that your transferred image will appear as the reverse of the original — like a mirror image. If you’re nervous that the photocopy will move during the process, feel free to tape it down. The best way to do the transfer is to completely saturate one area with a blender pen before moving on to the next. A good way is to start in a corner so that you can lift it up and check to see when it’s time to move on to the next area.

Photo transfer onto journal

As you go, you’ll see the image appear through the back of the photocopy — it’s so cool to look at!Photo transfer onto paper

Here you’ll see the original photo, the photocopy, and the image transfer. We’re obsessed with the vintage, almost eerie feeling the transfer gives off. How awesome!Blender pen photo transfer

We decided to add a few more images into the journal, as well.blend1s

Then, we tried a wooden cutting board! We first cut the photocopy to make uneven edges so that there wouldn’t be a clear line showing the perimeter of the photo. If you do this to a cutting board (and plan to use it for food), make sure you use a coat of food-grade sealant over your image transfer.


We also transferred a single image onto a piece of antiqued paper that was left over from making this botanical wallpaper!Photo transfer onto paper and cutting board

We love how the journal came out the most… so happy we discovered the joys of the blender pen. :)

blend4sWhat would you make with a blender pen?

More DIY ideas from the BLDG 25 Blog.

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Ella Wild -March 28, 2014, 7:55AM

wow this it really cool. is it skin safe?

Ella Wild xoxox
Visit me at :
or :

Lucy -March 28, 2014, 9:11AM

This has seriously just made my week, I cannot wait to play with these all weekend!

Definitely going to make something for my mum as it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday (UK). x

Danielle -March 28, 2014, 9:14AM

this would be cool on a piece of furniture

Alyssa -March 28, 2014, 10:11AM

It might be important to mention that the reason photocopies are a necessity is because you need a laser-printed image rather than an inkjet-printed image!

marissa l -March 28, 2014, 10:18AM

this is awesome! i loved the photo wood transfers you had on the blog a while ago, and this is even simpler! thanks for sharing this :)

Cheyenne -March 28, 2014, 10:27AM

Wow this looks so cool!

Olivia -March 28, 2014, 10:30AM

After you transfer the image is the original print still the same or does it become ruined?

barbarella -March 28, 2014, 12:15PM

Are you using a special type of paper onto which you make the photo copy? I made copies of images onto regular paper and it’s not working :(

Georgie -March 28, 2014, 12:18PM

Ahhhh!!! I am so thrilled about this! I can’t wait to give it a try. Just amazing. Thanks for posting!

melissa laine scotton -March 28, 2014, 12:27PM

did you ladies get these pens at michaels? Or are they found at places like dickblick or utrecht?

Alison -March 28, 2014, 1:23PM

Workable fixative works for photocopy transfers as well. You’ll want to spray a little bit at a time and smooth the fixative into the paper with something rigid like a piece of cardboard or bone.

fp jana -March 28, 2014, 1:29PM

Hi Melissa! I bought the pens at dickblick!

Taylor -March 28, 2014, 1:30PM

this is fantastic…I have a 6′x6′ drawing/painting to do for my Drawing2 class at Moore, and this would be a really cool thing to add!

fp jana -March 28, 2014, 1:30PM

Hi Olivia! The original print becomes somewhat transparent. In the first photo, the picture of the cat taped to the notebook is an example.

Allison -March 28, 2014, 1:37PM

THIS IS SO COOL AHHHHHH. I can’t wait to make my friends one of a kind presents with this method!

Susan Jizba -March 28, 2014, 1:38PM

Wow! Such an Amazingly Cool Idea!!! I especially love the vintage grainy look of those wonderful journals!!!

Tiffany -March 28, 2014, 2:16PM

This is AMAZING!!! What a great project!
Xx, Tiffany { }

Vicky -March 28, 2014, 2:41PM

You can use nail polish remover instead guys!! And I think prints from a laser printer (NOT an inkjet printer!!!) work too… Just throwing that out there.
Wonderful images you guys have photographed and transferred!

Lisa -March 28, 2014, 2:57PM

That’s amazing. I never knew u could do that!!
L x

Bryn -March 28, 2014, 3:51PM


Loreal -March 28, 2014, 5:37PM

This is such an interesting concept. Love that you used film to take the images. There really is something special about waiting to see the outcome of an earlier shoot. ♥

becky -March 28, 2014, 7:16PM

This is incredible, Ive been wanting something like this for my travel journal whilst I’m in NZ, and this is PERFECT. Defiantly going to try this out soon. Thanks for the post!

Mackenzie Mancuso -March 28, 2014, 8:03PM

This is so fun, I have to try!

naomi -March 28, 2014, 9:24PM

This is really cool, what camera are you guys using in these pictures? I’m looking for a camera that will take nice pictures but will be fairly simple enough to use.

FPAshleyRupp -March 29, 2014, 12:08AM

Love this! Totally inspiring me to go back and buy film or a izone camera lol

Marsha -March 29, 2014, 8:43AM

You say
” After you get your film developed, make photocopies of the images you’d like to transfer. This step is very important — simply printing a photo from your computer unfortunately won’t work.”
Can you explain why? I would assume its the inks on the photocopy not the original, could you use the original photo if desired? Would it work on fabric?
Great idea and thanks

Lauren Chloe Ash -March 29, 2014, 8:49AM

This is beautiful! I never work with film usually, but now I want to do a whole scrapbook of this! Completely inspired, thank you Freepeople xoxo

Krystal -March 29, 2014, 3:31PM

This is INCREDIBLE. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so excited to try this!

Clouds Creator -March 29, 2014, 4:47PM
Natalie -March 29, 2014, 4:58PM

I have some questions and I hope that you have time to answer.
I wonder what paper you had on the photo you wanted to transfer to the “normal” paper in the book?
You said that you could´t print it in a normal computer printer, but how do you do it then? Do you send it in to a “camera store” so they print it on a special paper, and then you can do as you did? Is it the paper or the print colour that has to be “special”? Can you print it in the computer printer if you have the right paper?

Please be more specific on how you actually do it! Tell us how YOU really did it. (:

And the final question. How long can it hold on the paper? forever? or does it fade away after a while? What do you think?

Really love the idéa!!

Lots of love and hugs!
/ Natalie

Natalie -March 29, 2014, 5:15PM

I could´t send private message to you, so thats why I send a long comment! (:
I hope you answer!

Renee -March 30, 2014, 1:49AM

I have a roll of film I still need to develop, I’m not really sure what’s even on it. I’ve been looking for an interesting way to start an art journal and I love that “eerie” feeling this technique gives. Great idea! I’ll definitely be buying a blender pen soon!


Ally Jack -April 2, 2014, 8:35PM

wow – very creative & looks amazing! Thanks for sharing

Jenna -April 3, 2014, 3:19PM

This is so cool. How do you photocopy the images? You cannot use the actual photo? Is the photocopy laserjet or inkjet? I tried to use the original photo and that did work, i think the paper was too thick.

Margaret -April 5, 2014, 7:47PM

Hi FP,
if you guys are interested in film photography you should checkout mine!:

elle -April 6, 2014, 7:46AM

I’m super excited to try this!

Claudia -April 7, 2014, 5:32PM

I’ve been trying to use this idea for a poster of a play I’m directing but it’s not working for me :/ Is it possible that I’ve gotten a blender pen that doesn’t have the same chemical as the one you’re using? Or are there photocopiers that are actually inkjet printers and not laser printers? I’d really like to be able to use this technique!

Charmaine -April 26, 2014, 3:33PM

Seriously how come I’ve never heard of this before!!! It looks like so much fun and you can be sooo creative with this! Can’t wait to try it, thanks for sharing!

Please check out my blog as well:


Emily -April 26, 2014, 4:52PM

How did I miss this post before?!

These would make such a beautiful gift and, of course, I’ll want to create things for myself as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to find these at my local craft store. xoxo

em -April 27, 2014, 4:52AM

I’ve tried this so many times before and I can never get it to work :(
I’ve tried with photocopies and inkjet prints and I’ve used acetone and I also have a colourless blender pen… nothing. Just slightly damp paper.

Niki -April 27, 2014, 6:11AM

How about a homemade blender pen? Did anyone try this?

amber -April 27, 2014, 11:28AM

this is awesome!! i love it!

can’t wait to try :)

wall stickers -April 27, 2014, 12:58PM

wow, amazing pen. i have never seen this effect before from a pen


Emily -April 27, 2014, 5:02PM

how is a photocopy different from printing out the picture?

Carol -April 27, 2014, 7:09PM

If you use a color laser printer to reproduce your digital photo, can you use a digital photo?

As per Alyssa’s comment on March 28
It might be important to mention that the reason photocopies are a necessity is because you need a laser-printed image rather than an inkjet-printed image!

Lisa -April 27, 2014, 8:53PM

You have to have the image printed on a printer/copier that uses TONER as opposed to ink. You copy or print it onto regular copy paper. You can use regular film photos or digital photos, doesn’t matter, just be sure to print or copy them REVERSED.

This method also works with acetone, which you can buy at the hardware store much cheaper than a blender pen. Having it in the pen is just more convenient. Same method, just use a rag or paper towel to apply the acetone. It’s pretty much instant. Use in a well-ventilated area!

Regina -April 28, 2014, 7:09AM

Thank you for answering all these questions Lisa.

Barbara -April 28, 2014, 7:34AM

Re using acetone, you could paint it on with a brush for greater control.

Lucia -April 29, 2014, 4:01PM

I definitely need to try this! Thanks so much for the amazing post x

The Queen of Dreaming -May 5, 2014, 12:09PM

Amazing, I love it!

Kate -May 7, 2014, 2:48PM

This is the most amazing post I’ve ever seen. Such a pretty yet special idea. Will 100% be giving this a go. Such a lovely idea for a birthday present x

Paddy -May 9, 2014, 1:06AM

I do not understand what a photocopy is. Iwould like to do this. Please send a detailed answer to my website.thank you. Paddy

Paddy -May 9, 2014, 1:08AM

Ilove the idea and woulld like to do it myself

Georgie St Clair -May 9, 2014, 9:18AM

I have got to try this! Looks awesome. Thanks for sharing xx

Clairie -May 13, 2014, 10:01AM

Wow, I’ve never heard about this before! I also love all vintage things so now it seems like I will decorate like this all I have… :) I’ve recently bought some IKEA shelves and then found an idea for making them more individual but still keep minimalistic. Your version of editing is even better because it makes things more personal, but I’m still not sure if I understand the whole process. Hmm, need to ask my photographer friend who is more into these things, especially the chemicals and developing films.

Tammy -May 15, 2014, 11:15PM

Beautiful! I can’t wait to try this–thank you for sharing!

eleonora micallef -May 18, 2014, 7:04AM


Really cool idea, from the images I can see that the colours were all transferred into paper.

What type of pen is that because when I went into the site I found a pen for each colour can you help?


Marit -May 23, 2014, 11:03AM

To answer some questions about printing and paper —- you can print images for transfer at home as long as you have an inkjet or laserjet printer. Those are the printers that most copy stores use because the way the ink is applied to the paper it sits on top to make it dry faster, which is helpful when making stacks of copies but also makes it possible for the pigment to come off when doing these transfers.

Teneia -June 1, 2014, 8:45AM

Make sure you use a blender pen that contains xylene, like the one shown in the post. I bought the dick blick brand and it didn’t work at all.

banner pens -June 19, 2014, 9:30PM

Extremely very good idea. All color is transfered to paper.

Jennifer T -July 14, 2014, 7:32PM

Ok, I can’t get this to work. My blender pen I tried first didn’t contain xylene. So then I just got some xylene from the hardware store, no luck. Then I tried acetone, nothing. I tried two different ink jet printers, neither copy worked. I tried transferring to water color paper, thinking my first paper in my journal was not the right kind. What else could I possibly try?

Anonymous -July 16, 2014, 3:33PM

An inkjet printer will NOT work. Must be a laser printer. Very important to know that so you are not disappointed.

Kriss -August 8, 2014, 4:06AM

Dear Blog creators,

You have so many comments here, but you are not actually responding to them. Your post is creative, but you don’t really explain steps in details. Just tried everything step by step and it didn’t work. :((( You have to state what paper you use for the copies, how do you actually photocopy the images (clicking PRINT from the computer after you have actually scanned the film with all the images OR?), how long do you wait for the transfer to come through, etc. A bit disappointing. I’m sure your followers would appreciate your time to clarify these steps.

Kind regards,

Tove -August 22, 2014, 7:19AM

Hi! Lovely photos. I could use a little guidance. I just bought Promarker’s blender pen but nothing happens! Does it exists different kind of blender pens or why doesn’t it work?

Kind regards

Dale -December 4, 2014, 7:47PM

The pen is a make called Chartpak

Dale -December 4, 2014, 7:53PM

A home inkjet printer wont work, you need to print on a laser type photocopier like you might use at work . The blender pen you use must contain the ingredient Xylene in it like the one by Chartpak.

Hope this helps!

Daria -December 14, 2014, 5:03PM

How is it possible to buy ?)

Laura Burlton -December 18, 2014, 7:45PM

Quick note- the chartpack blender pens work best ( this is what is used above). Prismacolor ones don’t work at all.

Julie -December 28, 2014, 9:12AM

If you want to do lots of these, blender pens are quite expensive. The fluid inside them is the same as the screen wash (used in screen printing). Any laser printed image will work (but not inkjet).

Cadi -January 4, 2015, 6:08AM

At school we always did this using paint thinners!

Rusha -January 14, 2015, 10:27AM

I would transfer my own pictures. And make my art journal more complete. But I have a question where can I buy the pen. Because I live in the Netherlands so do have some sites?
O for I forget I loveeeee your journal.
Good vibes

Carly -January 20, 2015, 2:29AM

Doesn’t work!!

Jenn M -January 21, 2015, 10:02AM

I think I’m the only one with this question, but when you photocopy your original pictures and you’re ready to transfer them do you put the photocopy on your workspace and then put the original on top? The directions were a little confusing and I just wanted to make sure I got it right rather than messing up my journals! (I’m Journal-Crazed and Proud! :D)

Dolors -January 28, 2015, 10:21AM

Lovely !!!
Where I can buy it ???

gema -January 28, 2015, 2:36PM

Donde se puede comprar el rotulador /boli para transferencia?

Pamm -January 29, 2015, 3:03PM

Can this be used on canvas?

Wendy Flynn -February 5, 2015, 2:19AM

I used to do this at art school in the nineties using cellulose thinners I spent hours transferring colour copies. This lookalike a less messy way- cool!

Amber -February 10, 2015, 6:30PM

So.. this is a bummer. I bought Prisma Color Premier Colorless blender pens, laser print copies of the photos, and it does not work :( Not sure what i’m doing wrong.. went over it several times. nothing.

maggie -February 15, 2015, 10:22AM

I was wondering what kind of paper you could use?

Peg E. -February 24, 2015, 8:27AM

what an awesome project!!!

do you think Michaels carries these pens?

Meghan -February 28, 2015, 5:09PM

I have been trying this process but can’t get it to work. I readed your post twice where you have said printing a photo from your computer will not work so where did you get a photocopy from? Will a copy from target, or an cvs work just fine?
Please email me back Thank you.

arlyna -March 3, 2015, 7:15PM

Hi! Would other brand of blender pens also work? Printing at home – would this only work on laser prints or also inkjet? Thanks!

francesca -March 6, 2015, 3:19PM

wow!!! I have to buy it absolutely! Should I have to spread some varnish when applying on wood?

Megan -March 15, 2015, 6:54PM

I love this idea! Though, I’ve tried it and it didn’t work for me. I used a photocopy, I bought the exact same blender pen, everything. Is there something I may be doing wrong?

Haut N. Chic -March 21, 2015, 4:03PM

OMG that is so wonderful! I will be able to transfer my best photos to everything in different places around my home! It will certainly make the place look even better than it does with just the dozens of actual photos of me I have had professionally framed and put up around the house!

Isabel -March 24, 2015, 3:44PM

how come you use an image that you have simply printed? That way it can be mirrored (like if there was to be writing or lettering on the image).

Melissa -March 25, 2015, 12:48PM

Okay so I bought 3 blender pens by chartpak there the same as you used in your blog I tried regular plain white paper and photo paper and nothing is working on wood or paper for my scrapbooks please tell me what I’m doing wrong

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