Image Transfer Tutorial (Substitute for Citra Solv in South Africa)


You will need:

Fabric, preferably close weave,  burlap type fabrics won’t do.
Nail polish remover with citrus or limonene
Suitable painted surface
Suitable vessel to transfer your image onto.
Your pictures, reversed and printed on a laser jet printer or photo copies if you have an ink jet printer or if you’re unsure of the type of printer.
Ear buds
Tea spoon
Suitable sealer
A little water

As anyone who’s familiar with image transfers knows we can’t find Citra Solv anywhere in South Africa. Good old very versatile Modge Podge leaves a residue,  especially on fabrics. So I  went on the search for a suitable replacement and found none but for a couple of suggestions. In this tut I will be testing Nail polish remover on fabric and on a painted surface. I decided to test nail polish remover with limonene as Citra Solve is about  80% D limonene and apparently the main reason for the images transferring so beautifully.


Method for painted surface.


1.Paint your vessel in your preferred colour,  I suggest letting it cure for the required amount of time. I, ever impatient, painted and transferred on the same day with fairly decent results.


2. Cut you reversed images out, place it on your surface face down and secure it with tape, preferably masking tape.Masking tape is less tacky and you won’t run the risk of lifting your  paint when you remove the tape.


3. Dip your ear bud in the nail polish remover and rub onto a small section first. Work in small sections as the remover evaporates quickly. Use the back of an old teaspoon to burnish on the wet section. You have to burnish while still fairly damp. Complete your whole image, making sure you  don’t miss any spots. I’ve missed on the far right some part of the letters MES on my image and you can’t go back to replace and go back over it as it will be blurred.


I’ve found if I use the ear bud to burnish it removes the paper and your image will be crisp and sharp but if you want the weathered look burnish with the spoon and pull the paper away. On some sections you will need to use the ear bud to remove some of the paper but this just adds to the weathered old world charm where some part of the image is clear and some parts are faded. Once you’ve removed some of the paper, if youre burnishing with the ear bud, use a damp sponge dipped in water to remove the tougher parts as the nail polish remover, once dry, will make the paper stick to your surface.



These are the 2 results, first picture burnished with the teaspoon and the paper pulled away and second picture burnished with a ear bud and excess paper rubbed  away with a damp sponge dipped in water. I’ve tried 3 sides of my pot plant, with 3 different images to experiment with different techniques.


4. Once you’ve removed all the little bits of paper you can seal your image with a suitable sealer or Modge Podge.


Method for Fabric

1. Wash and  dry your fabric. I used a polycotton blend pillow case.

2. Practise on a inconspicuous spot first, like the inside part of a pillow case. Follow steps 2 to 3 above.


3. On fabric your paper won’t stick to the fabric so here you have to do all burnishing with the back of a teaspoon.


This is the results on fabric and judging from the results I guess it’s a win for nail polish remover  for now.

4.Use a warm iron to set your print. I have not tested this in the wash but will update as soon as I do.

If you have any other suggestions for the rest of us who can’t get Citra Solv in our different countries please leave your ideas in the comments and I will test those as well.

Thanks for taking the time to  read my post.




3 thoughts on “Image Transfer Tutorial (Substitute for Citra Solv in South Africa)

  1. I think they call it q-tips. Thabk you so much for this article. Have you tried this on leather?

  2. Could you explain what you mean by an “ear bud”, the only ear buds I’m familiar with is the ear plug headphones for listening to music and assume this is a SA expression or name for something else, thanks.

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