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Turn digital photos Into creative art with a blender pen

Ever heard of a blender pen? This affordable, lo-fi tool lets you create something artistic using your printed photos and printer.

A blender pen lets you transfer a photo onto a variety of surfaces, including paper, wood, and fabric. It could be a page in your journal or scrapbook, homemade greeting card, or the front of a T-shirt. The whole arts-and-crafts process is analog, but there are some digital elements to it.

Related: DIY video shows you how to print on wood with an inkjet printer

Here’s how it works. First, print a photo from your digital camera roll onto photo paper, or use a photo from the old film days. Then, make a photocopy of the photo – enlarge it if you wish. (You can combine these two steps by printing onto regular paper via a laser printer, if you have one.) Next, position the printout onto the transfer surface, image side down. Use the blender pen to saturate the image while keeping the paper in place. This will create a reverse (mirror) faded, vintage-looking image.

Here’s the trick: According to Make magazine, the reaction occurs because of the toner (copier or laser printer) and the Xylene in the blender pen, which is why you can’t use an inkjet printer. And, you’ll need to use regular paper to allow the liquid to seep through.

We found the Prismacolor Colorless Blender Marker 3533 on Amazon for around $6, and it should work for this purpose. The Make blog post also suggests making your own blender solution with rubbing alcohol, glycerin, and distilled water (the recipe can be found on the Making Greet Cards blog) but the pen is far easier.

There’s no end to the applications of this project. Check out the Free People blog for a full how-to.