Digital Transfer prints
Written by Terry Towery


This process allows paper too thick to run through the rinter to be imaged on. eg bark, Handmade paper, Mount board...

Using Photoshop or the printer software Set the printer driver to a slightly darker (5-20%) than normal setting. This depends on the look you are after and is heavily influenced by the absobancy of the paper you are working with.

Because of the nature of the transfer process, everything is reversed . If this matters to the image e.g. if there is any type of identifyng object in the scene such as type, wedding rings or license plates etc then either use Photoshop to reverse the image or the printer driver.

1. Load the printer with a sheet of Wax paper or some other thin glossy slick material that is specifically NOT designed for inkjet printers (let me know if you find something better than wax paper). The idea is to get ink onto a surface that it will not bind to. Do NOT use inkjet paper or inkjet transparency material. The backing from sticker pages works well. This paper tends to curl easily so you may need to hand feed it. Try to find the thickest wax paper available.

2. While printing, wet a piece of artists paper or any other suitable material thoroughly. Drain until no free water stands on the paper. Blot dry. it should be damp not wet. Alternatively, mist the surface with a fine misting bottle. You might want to add a small amount of a wetting agent such as Kodak Photo Flo to the water. While it works directly onto dry paper the inks don't settle into the paper as well and the print looks weak.

The substrate must have some "tooth" for the inks to bind to. Polished metal or glass etc will probably not work. Try scratching these surfaces with fine grit sandpaper or coating them with a transparent glaze such as polyurethane or Matte Medium or one of the artist's spray materials.

3. Place damp paper on a hard surface such as a formica counter top or flat bottomed photo tray or a clipboard.

4. Immediately after print exits from inkjet printer, lay face down on paper. Use a brayer, a glass rolled on its side or your fingers to smooth the paper onto the damp reciever. Try to keep the paper as still as possible, any slips here will move the image on the receiver.

Suggestions for experimenting:
Embrace the flaws. Part of the charm of this process is the ability to introduce some elemnt of the artists hand into the printing process.

The wetter the paper the more smudging that occurs. This can be a bonus and is not necessarily a flaw.

If you absolutley MUST not have slippage then use a clipboard to hold the paper and receiver together in registration

Experiment with multiple transfers onto the same surface. Collage/montage or multiple runs of the wax paper through the printer.

Since the inks are Water based inks... Might try "sizing" the paper first. Paper and Book binder supply houses sell a variety of materials for sizing gesso and artists grounds work well. Do Not use Water based materials for this step as the wetting stage will release them.

Coating the paper print with shellac, Polyurethane, Beeswax or a spray type UV coating allows you to work back into the surface with traditional artists materials such as oil paint.

Add food coloring or Watercolor paint to the wetting step to add color to the substrate before the printing.

Because all 5 inks rarely run out simultaneously, there is often a residual amount of ink left on at least some of the cartridges. This ink matches the inks transferred perfectly. think retouching...

Come back in to the print using paint or dyes to work on the surface...

Because I am concerned with permanence, I use the Luminos inks

Cautions:
Anything that the wet ink comes in contact with before the transfer process will smudge it (think fingers). This includes the guides and the gate on the printer. Be careful not to curl or touch the wet print when removing from the printer.