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Old 05-04-2005, 06:29 PM
bigblackbox bigblackbox is offline
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Laser print transfers - several techniques

For those interested, results of an experiment. All these use laser prints (and laser printers are getting cheaper).

These are the original images laser printed on textured stationery. This is the same paper that I used as a substrate for the other transfers - that is, the images were all transferred onto the same paper that this image is printed on. (Don't know what the paper is - it was about 25 cents/sheet at Pearl.)



Transfer with Golden soft gel gloss. Image was printed on plain copier paper and then brushed on a thin coat of SGG. Let that dry, and did another coat with my fingers. Let that dry overnight. Brushed SGG on the substrate, and pressed the images face down into the SGG. Let dry for a couple hours. Using water, fingers, dishtowel, rubbed off paper from back of image.

I didn't put a lot of effort into rubbing off the paper because even if that was perfect, the technique isn't what I'm looking for (I want something to transfer images onto journal pages - this process is hard on the substrate paper and I don't like the look of the SGG on the paper.



This next one uses DAP, which was brushed onto the substrate, and then the images (printed on plain paper) were placed face down on the DAP. Let it dry overnight - but less than 24 hours. Used water, fingers, cloth to rub off paper backing. This technique is also very rough on the substrate.



Dry iron set on high. No special paper. As you can see, not that good. (I didn't bother trying the 3rd image.)



The next is laser printed on plain paper and put face down on the textured paper substrate. Put acetone on a rag and wet the back of the paper. I used the back of a soup spoon to burnish. I think a better burnisher would have made the results better. I'm not sure why two of the images transferred pretty well but the other hardly transferred at all. The acetone yellowed during this process, leaving some patches of yellow on the substrate. Perhaps a reaction with the paper I was using, or the toner? The substrate was not noticably damaged by acetone.



I wanted to see how the above would look on paper that wasn't textured. So I repeated the process above, but used inexpensive sketch pad paper as the substrate.



Finally, because the acetone seemed to work the best for my purposes, I tried another one with more color. The original image is from the WC ref library. I printed it out with a laser printer, put it face down on substrate (heavy, but not textured paper), rubbed acetone on top, and burnished with the back of a spoon. On this one, you can really tell where the spoon was pressed hardest (the darker, looping lines). Again, I got some yellowing.



I'm assuming that since DAP was too hard on the paper, caulk will be too. The DAP made a good transfer, though, and would probably be fine on canvas, wood, etc.

I'd still like to try this with Citra-solv (apparently more eco-friendly and less toxic than acetone) and contact paper/packing tape.
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Old 05-04-2005, 07:32 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

Wonderful wonderful exercise, experiments, and pictorial examples.

I am very impressed and glad that the Dap was not a total waste and that we can now add it to our arsenal of solvents.

Citrasolve is nearly as caustic as acetone but marketed as friendly

You might want to try: contact paper and/or packing tape as another experiment. The contact paper should be clear and so should the tape. This produces a decal that you can add to the paper rather than rub off.

Other processes for decal transfers (that glide off) and don't need rubbing on the paper might be effective for what you want to accomplish. I'll see if I can find some on-line references.

Congratulations on a day/night well-spent!
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Old 05-04-2005, 08:40 PM
bigblackbox bigblackbox is offline
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

Does anyone know what makes acetone or xylene good to transfer with? Would any solvent have a similar effect - and what, exactly, is a solvent? If I wanted to experiment, I'm not sure what is worth trying - or what things definitely won't work.

Also, I came across something that said you should laser print only good quality paper for a better transfer - the cheaper paper absorbs the ink, so doesn't transfer as well. Does anyone know if this is true? Are certain types of paper best for "carrying" the toner to the substrate?
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Old 05-04-2005, 10:00 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

Thank you for posting your experiments. You are after my own heart. I have to try everything like this.

Solvents. I may be the queen of these. I don't do transfers but I would be interested to know how these would work.

lacquer thinner, you can buy a small quantity in the automotive section of a department store and sometimes in the paint section.

denatured alcohol. It's not as agressive as acetone but may still work. It would be easier health wise to use denatured alcohol. This can be purchased in the paint section of a department store where they sell household paints, it's in with the cleaners and such.

Anyone try straight citrus? Citric acid removes ink from clothing so it will either work great for transfers or make the ink disappear. Acetone also breaks down pigments so it's hard telling what will and won't unless you try. I may yellow a bit, it may whiten.

What is causing the yellowing? Put a few drops on acid free art paper and let dry. Put a few drops on virgin copy paper and let dry. That is going to be the only way to tell for sure. If both come out white than it's the ink in the laser printer, which means to try a regular copy machine.

While everyone is at it, remember the old poloroid cameras. You can peel of the backs of them and adhere them to your work. You can do the same with photographs but you have to be careful when submerging them in water that you wet it equally and you don't have it wet for too long. It will initially turn a blueish color and that is the time to get it out of the water if you haven't already. When it dries it will dry clear again. Unlike with transfers you are not pulling the ink off of the final layer of paper, you are simply breaking the paper apart.
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Old 05-04-2005, 10:22 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

Penny, your post brings up some interesting, challenging questions and thoughts.

Now what is a solvent, find your encylopedia answer here

It would be interesting to try alcohol (fast dryer); citrus (quite a nice aroma) laquer thinner (a true solvent) to see how each works.

Paper does play a role because of its interaction with the toner and/or ink(jet); its surface property (coated, uncoated) and the amount of rag, cotton, etc it contains, but I'm no expert or knowledgeable enough to provide an answer as to which would be the best surface. I've done some experimenting by using canvas, matboard, rag paper, clay coated paper, non-textured copy paper, etc - various results.

Polaroid transfers are an entirely different kettle of transfer and would take hours to write up. I have my little kit here to prove it. There are also some wonderful books, resources and online groups that talk solely about polaroid transfers --- they are splendid, wonderful works of art. They are however more in the decal family than the integrated transfer family, that is if transfers have a geneology.

So, experiment away, I'm at present attempting a portrait or two, reading up on encaustic and pulling my hair out waiting to hear if I'm going to Rochester.
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Old 05-04-2005, 11:01 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

Your demo is indeed very interesting and your colored transfer looks pretty good. I haven't been lucky with colored transfers so maybe the way to try is with the acetone or the chartpack pens. Thank you for sharing this work with us as it is one of the techniques we are all trying to master.

Hi Penny and Zoe.
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Old 05-05-2005, 02:22 AM
bigblackbox bigblackbox is offline
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

I've now also tried lemon juice, which smells nicer than acetone but didn't work, and 99% alcohol (I don't think it was denatured), which didn't work either.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:12 PM
bigblackbox bigblackbox is offline
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

And the winner is... xylene pen (with bone folder instead of a spoon this time). At least for my purposes, this looks like the best bet for most transfers. Good transfer, less fumes than the acetone, no odd colors, convenient.

One caution is that when pulling off the original image, I would sometimes get "threads". This doesn't really show up on the scan, but there are some smears around the images edges where the threads landed. Not sure if working faster or slower, or some other trick, might help with this.

By the way, the second round image was an unintentional ghost. It was printed on the same sheet as the text. First I transferred the round image, then I moved my sheet down and transferred the text. The round image layed against the substrate again, and partially transferred (no extra xylene and no rubbing - but my hand might have rested there).

Again, the paper is textured, which you can see in the images - especially the photograph.

Anyone know who the "model" is?

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Old 05-05-2005, 08:29 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

This is a very good transfer. This might sound quite ignorant, but what is a bone folder? I see it all the time recommended for burnishing but I don't know what it is. My best guess would be that the author is a writer or a statesman. Who is he?
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:33 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

Yes, this is a good transfer, but I'm not surprised. If it works for you, I am thrilled.

Mary, I have too many bone folders (used for pressing paper in bookbinding). Say the word, and one will fly down to you.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:36 PM
bigblackbox bigblackbox is offline
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

I'd be interested in knowing why it's called a bone folder. It's like a long thin oval, somewhat thicker in the center, but it's not as rounded as I expected to be. It's made out of something that looks and feels like smoothed bone. It's vaguely similar to a letter opener, and while the edges aren't sharp, it could probably be used as a letter opener.

I found one at the Art Store when I was getting the xylene pens, and since I've heard of it too, but never used one, I figured I'd give it a try. There were a couple sizes - I got the small, I think, for $6.

I'm curious about why it's called a folder - I assume "bone" refers to what it is or was made of. All I can think is that people use it to fold paper, to get a good crease. But I may be way off.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:40 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

Originally they were all made of bone, but not all of them are made of bone these days, although many I have are made of one bone or another. Other plastics and resin-based materials are also used.

As I said they are expressly made to press paper down at the fold line--to fold: bone folder. The various sizes and shapes are intended for various sizes of paper and occasionally for ease of handling.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:42 PM
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Re: Laser print transfers - several techniques

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As I said they are expressly made to press paper down at the fold line--to fold: bone folder.

Ah, like when you fold several sheets in half, and want to press down on where they all fold? Interesting.
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