May 2002
Volume 3, Issue 5
Creating Transfers With Graphic Design Software
by Jenny Dowde

Adobe Acrobat version

Editor's Letter | Letters to the Editor | Beginners' Corner | Questions and Answers | Creating Transfers with Graphic Design Software | Trina's Excellent Adventure | Carpal Tunnel Damage | "Scrapendipity" Beads | Fun with Fabric | Email Us! | Home

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Some time ago I came across a wonderful little software programme called Gliftic! What a find! I've always enjoyed experimenting with computer aided design software and this little beauty is one of the best I've found on my Internet travels so far!

You can download a demo version of it at, try it out and then purchase it for a very low cost of $29.95 US.

While you can save generated images using the Demo version, be aware that the images will have "Demo Version" imprinted on them.

Playing with the Software

Gliftic is a very user-friendly programme, and it's unbelievably easy to generate beautiful transfer images. The main components of Gliftic include:

  • Forms
  • Colour Schemes
  • Interpretation

Forms are basically the "shape" or general arrangement of your image.

There are 29 built-in forms, and choices include "mandala," "chequer squares," "spirals," "stars" and various grids.

There are also lots of user form options, and you can download free user forms from the Ransen website, or even create your own, if you have a CAD programme that will draw vector images and save the image in .dxf format.

Some of the user forms available in the free packages include the following (and there are 77 more!):

Colour Schemes again are too numerous to list. Apart from the built-in schemes, you can scan your own photographs and import the image to the Colour Scheme folder.

For example:

Hill and Heather

Santorini, Greece

Italian Sunset
Interpretation is the 'pattern' that decorates your form. Choices include "String Art", "Tipsy Geometry", "Arabesque", "Graphic Leaved", and "Ribboned". There are 18 options in total.

Mandala Form with Arabesque

Heart Form with Tipsy Geometry
With Gliftic, you have great control over what your image looks like. Within each component there are various options, including the number of objects in a grid, the number of colours in an image, or the ability to change sizes and/or shapes, to name just a few.

If you're feeling a little lazy, you can ask the Gliftic Wizard to draw a picture for you. Or you can generate one image yourself, then click F7 to automatically generate up to 200 more! (The demo version is more limited.)

These images remain available to you until the limit is reached. You can then scroll backwards and forwards through the sequence, saving the images you want.

I've given you a very brief overview on this software; there's lots more to it! You really need to experiment with it for yourself.

Resizing and Printing

Once you've created your masterpieces, open them in Paint Shop Pro or similar and organise them for printing. I resized mine to 2" x 2" using PSP, then used the Multiple Image printing function to print them.

Here are a few more of my designs waiting to be printed:

Celtic Knot



Here are four designs transferred to clay:

Diamond Blue

Ancient Circle

Pinwheel Pendant
A really useful option with Gliftic is the color scheme control. With it, you can create a whole range of tiles using the same image, all with different yet co-ordinating colour ways. Here is a tile and a variation:

Spiral Wall Tile

Spiral Variation
Transferring Your Image

I used HP T-Shirt transfer paper for the transfers. However, you could of course use Lazertran Silk if you have it.

Step 1:

Condition your clay and roll it to your desired thickness.

Step 2:

Trim clay to the required shape and then lay it on the final baking surface. This is a critical step. If you don't do this now, you risk failure because any movement can cause the transfer to lose it's contact with the clay.

Step 3:

Place the cut-out transfer face down on the clay and burnish with a bone folder, back of spoon or something similar until you are sure you have adhered the transfer completely to the clay.

Step 4:

Bake for 7-10 minutes, remove from oven and gently peel off transfer. Then continue to bake for the required amount of time.

(See Dotty McMillan's book, Creative Ways with Polymer Clay, for more detailed information on successful transfers .)

Step 5:

When cool, carefully brush on a protective coat of Future or other sealant. I found this necessary because a very light powdery residue seemed to come off some of the designs after they were baked.

To test yours, lightly rub your finger across the surface. If no residue is seen then it's probably safe to leave the transfer unsealed.

Now all you need to do is embellish your designs if required and turn them into unique wall tiles or jewellery.

TIP: If you are going to make tiles, it is a good idea to bake them with a glass tile on top and to let them cool completely, with the tile still in place, in order to keep them nice and flat.

Editor's Letter | Letters to the Editor | Beginners' Corner | Questions and Answers | Creating Transfers with Graphic Design Software | Trina's Excellent Adventure | Carpal Tunnel Damage | "Scrapendipity" Beads | Fun with Fabric | Email Us! | Home

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