Transferring an image to 925 silver - help!

Hi all. I’m trying to transfer an image of a small acacia tree to 925 silver.

925 silver - sanded and cleaned, ready for application.
Image - printed on a laser printer, black ink.

I’m using 100% pure acetone over the image (with a q-tip) onto the silver, and I’m not getting a strong enough impression to saw.

Does anyone have any tips? Or other techniques to get a strong image transfer?

Thank you, T


Is the image to be there as a decoration or to be used to guide engraving or some other form of surface treatment? I engrave silver and have tried using the method that you describe. In spite of what you see on youtube, I can’t get it to work. I transfer images by using carbon paper over a thinned layer of gesso and also using a transfer method sold by TW Designs. In both cases, the surface has to be roughed up a bit.


Look at engravers forum and engravers cafe for more ideas. Good luck…Rob

1 Like

The kind of paper does matter. For whatever reason, it seems to work better with glossy paper. Some people just recycle magazine pages and run them thru the printer.

Also, the metal can’t be polished, it needs to have a bit of “tooth”. And it needs to be clean enough for water to sheet over it.


Hi T,

You could print on glossy magazine paper, as suggested by thaalibi, and transfer using heat in the same way PNP images are transferred onto metal. There are plenty of YouTube videos on transferring PNP.

Good luck,


The image is there to provide an outline so I can saw out a shape. Thanks for the tips, I will try your suggestion.

1 Like

Start with carbon paper and gesso. Your only challenge be lining the image up since you can’t see through the carbon paper. One way around this is to glue the carbon paper to the back of your image paper and then cut both out in the exact shape of the piece that you want to transfer the image to. Tape the metal down, then tape the image paper and carbon paper down so that it follows the shape of your metal. Obviously you put on a water thinned coat of gesso first and let it dry. It helps if the metal is clean. This allows the gesso to fully cover in one coat. You don’t want it too thick. I do my tracing with a very thin metal stylus. Make sure it is polished so that you don’t push the paper around or punch a hole in it. The TW Design kit works well, but you need an inkjet printer and you use up a lot of black ink and paper getting it right. Another trick is to draw your image on a large adhesive label and then tape it to the metal. You can saw through it without any trouble. Good luck…Rob


Rob, that worked like a charm. Went out to purchase some carbon paper and gesso, the gesso is key.
Cannot thank you enough. :slight_smile:


Glad it worked…Rob

I feel like I must be missing something here (?). I simply print the design with an ink jet printer on standard paper, paste the paper on the silver sheet with kids’ white glue (like Gluebird–does that still exist?), let dry, and cut out. Put in warm water to remove paper after sawing. If this will accomplish your goal, here are some more details:

  1. Put the glue on the metal not on the paper! Put a dot on your finger tip and dab it onto the sheet silver. If the sheet is clean, it should cover evenly; if it beads up at all, rinse and re-clean and start over.
  2. I do this over a light box so I can make sure the design is properly placed. If a lightbox isn’t handy, just hold it up against a window (during daylight, of course).
  3. Immediately after getting the design properly placed, put a piece of paper over it and firmly slide some sort of plastic straight edge across the surface to squeeze out excess glue and get it perfectly flush. I use the edge of a small plastic triangle held slightly angled. The paper over the design allows you to press down when drawing the plastic thing across the surface without tearing the paper or distorting the design.
  4. If the glue gets too thick it can be thinned with a bit of water (added to the glue container).
  5. Work quickly so you can slightly move the design to get it exactly in place while it’s still wet. You also need to do the squeezing thing while it’s still wet.
  6. Print the design at the highest quality setting so it is crisp and clear. This will give infinitely clearer guidelines than tracing through carbon paper with a stylus.

Janet in Jerusalem
At the bench over 40 years


Janet…I have never tried that method, but will. Thanks for sharing…Rob

The straight edge sliding over is new, but otherwise this is how I do it as well. Works great.

Make sure to put a piece of paper over it to keep the original pristine. :wink:

I think that we may be talking about different things with different goals. Transferring an image to a piece of metal because you want the image there is one thing, especially if that is your goal. If you want to use the image as a pattern to follow while engraving, there are several ways to do this as offered above and online. I found early on that engraving through an image on a piece of paper stuck to the metal surface doesn’t work well. If you simply want an image to use as a piercing guide. Use a sticky label or Janet’s method, simply draw it on the surface of the metal, add a clean white surface to draw on or use the transfer methods described above. For me it depends on what I am doing and how fussy I have to be to get to a usable image. Remember that if you print an image and you then flip the image over to transfer it, you will get a reversal of the image. This only becomes a problem if you are transferring letters and numbers or if the finished image has a definite left/right orientation. Identical images on earrings should also be reversals of each other. Lots of good stuff in the discussion. Thanks…Rob

The OP said specifically “The image is there to provide an outline so I can saw out a shape.

I agree, the conversation just got expanded a bit. I did not mean to be critical. Sorry…Rob

1 Like

This was the method I was taught too. I tend to use layout paper for my design work and a pritt stick. Easy peasy.

I use Janet’s method except I use rubber cement. It holds well during sawing but can be simply peeled or rubbed off.


The part about putting paper over (for protection) and then smoothing over with the edge of a triangle was something my mom used to do in graphics–with rubber cement! Much to my dismay, rubber cement is not available in my country! Is it still a standard item in all stationery stores in the US?

Yes, it is easy to buy here. They used to record your ID when you bought it, but they don’t even do that anymore.