Monday, April 21, 2014

Citra Solv Adventures

Citra Solv is a natural cleaner with a wonderful citrus scent. But I didn't break out my bottle for spring cleaning! This versatile product is an amazing tool for creating artful backgrounds, ATCs, image transfers, and so much more!

I created these dreamy backgrounds using nothing more than a generous application of Citra Solv on some pages in an old copy of National Geographic. Simply fill a spritzer bottle with some of the cleaner, liberally coat several pages of your choice in the magazine, and allow the pages to mush together for 10-15 minutes. {If you prefer, you can directly apply the Citra Solv with a foam brush} Open the pages, mush together some more if you wish, and then soak up any excess ink with paper towels. Tear out your favorite pages, allow them to dry, and you will have several unique backgrounds for your art! The process can be quite messy, so be sure to cover your work area with newspapers for easier clean-up.

Here are a couple of pages I created for my art journal using the backgrounds and an image transfer of a bird from The Graphics Fairy.

Creating an image transfer using Citra Solv is a very simple process. Just follow these easy steps:
  • Print out an image using a laser printer, or get one made at a copy shop or your local library. The ink used needs to be toner-based to work, so don't use copies from an ink jet printer. Be sure to reverse the image when printing, especially if contains any text.
  • Place the image face down on the desired surface, saturate a cotton ball with Citra Solv and rub it all over the paper until the image is clearly seen. Wait a few seconds, and then gently burnish the image with the back of a spoon. You may lift the corner of the paper to make sure the ink is transferring from all parts of the image.
  • Lift the paper and a beautifully imperfect image will appear!
The process is very unpredictable, but very satisfying! You never get the same results twice, so these transfers are a sure way to add unique images to your ATCs, art journal pages, collages, or other mixed-media projects.

I've been experimenting with Citra Solv image transfers on fabric and paper for a workshop I'm teaching this Tuesday at Ephemera Paducah - Stitcher's Stash Journal. I altered this image of roses in Romantic Homes magazine by gently rubbing it with just a bit of Citra Solv on a cotton ball. And I love the image transfer of a dress stand on Stonehenge paper! Some tips to remember when creating image transfers are:
  • Don't use too much Citra Solv or the ink may run, causing the image to blur or parts of it to disappear completely.
  • The fragrance is very strong, so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Black and White images usually work best for this process.
I purchased my Citra Solv at Jerry's Artarama in Nashville, TN, but you can find a list of online and brick-and-mortar vendors who sell the product hereI can't wait to demonstrate these fun techniques, and I hope you will try them out for yourself too!

Until next time: Make Art...Be Happy!


  1. Wonderful post Kim! Your work is amazing!!

    1. Thank you so much Daniella! What a lovely comment! I'm glad you liked it!

  2. Wonderful technique, and the backgrounds are just as you say--dreamy!!!


  3. Thanks Trisha! It's a messy but very fun process!

  4. Really interesting post, thank you. I'd love to have a go at this (particularly the backgrounds). Do you happen to know if Citra Solv is sold with a different name in the UK?