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toner transfers

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  • Jill Littlewood
    On the subject of transferring photocopier toner to pages: Toxicity/ handling / MSDS aside, I m wondering about what the solvents are doing to our paper? I
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 19, 2006
      On the subject of transferring photocopier toner to pages:

      Toxicity/ handling / MSDS aside, I'm wondering about what the solvents are
      doing to our paper?

      I just purchased a new photocopier with monochrome toner. I photocopied
      text and transferred it onto book pages in my book with concentrated
      Citra-Solv. (USING GLOVES personal preference) Easy to use and excellent
      results but still transfers to paper. I'm wishing for more surface and
      depth without the commitment to letterpress.

      Technique: I put Citra-Solv in a small misting bottle, placed my
      photocopied text FACE DOWN onto sheet of glass, placed a sheet of paper
      towel over the photocopied sheet and lightly sprizted the surface of the
      paper towel. I waited for the solvent to penetrate the photocopy then
      placed it on my book pages and rubbed the toner into the pages. I used a
      bone folder for burnishing. Burnishing in one directions helps to keep the
      photocopy from walking over the page.


      There is a lot of information on different types of transfers onto various
      materials at www.art-e-zine.co.uk

      You'll have to dig a little, but the info is from artists who have taken the
      time to share their experience and expertise in detail, so it's worth the

      Very few solvents flash off completely. I have known a few
      professional printmaking shops
      to use (and we use) 'glaze cleaner' which smells like lacquer thinner
      but is a bit cleaner.
      It is believed that this is the most 'archival' way to transfer with
      solvent. I don't know for sure that it is.
      I've used glaze cleaner, it does an excellent job but even with our
      fantastic HVAC system
      in place, it stinks and makes you feel sick after about 1/2 hour of

      I still think transfering with heat makes the most sense
      environmentally, but I
      don't think it will work paper to paper. There are more and more
      printing substrates on
      the market for working in laser printers including things that are
      fabric backed with
      a removable paper. I don't purchase that sort of thing but it's out
      there. Students have
      shown up with it on numerous occasions. Being fabric it doesn't take
      toner anywhere
      near as clearly as paper, but it is interesting and consistent.

      I now use only heat to make a Xerox transfer to paper (and wood). I use a=20
      woodburning tool put out by Walnut Hollow. It is a low heat tool (750 degree=
      and has a metal disk attachment made especially for this process. It takes a=
      little practice to keep from scorching the paper--keep the tool moving. The=20=
      warps a little as it gets very hot but seems to calm down as it cools and,=20
      I'm assuming, absorbs moisture again from the air. The disk is small in=20
      size--about one inch in diameter, so it takers a while to do a big transfer=20=
      but it=20
      much better than any of the solvents. I have used it on paper and wood.

      There are two other possibilities (at least) for transfer tools:

      1) Transfer Tool from Dick Blick (art supplies), Lenk Model L 16TT, which has one heat setting and a round disk about 5/8" in diameter. <www.dickblick.com>

      2) Nancy's Notions, <nancysnotions.com>, sell sewing supplies, including a Mini Iron with a flat, trowel shaped piece (about 7/8" x 1 1/4"); it can be set at low or high for transfer purposes.

      As Patricia discovered with the Walnut Hollow tool, I found it hard to keep from burning the paper with tools intended for wood burning.

      You might also want to try a tacking iron. Mine has a dial for
      setting the temperature, so you can easily fine-tune the
      temperature. I've never scorched paper with it.

      I found one here:


      Even better is a large platten laminator. I just did a quick online
      search and couldn't find one, probably because all laminators now
      seem to be the roll type. I purchased mine as surplus equipment from
      a university. It is heavy enough to be a boat anchor and I had to
      have a special electrical outlet installed. I was lucky because the
      day I brought it home, the electrician was there doing other wiring,
      so he helped me get it into my studio and then did the special outlet
      and wiring. It has come in very handy.

      I recently used it to transfer text from a copy onto the shiny sides
      of CDs. Not perfect, but it worked OK.

      Subject: Re: Photocopy Transfer and Printing on Fabric

      If the fabric is thin enough to go through your printer, but tends to absorb
      too much ink, you can use inkAID <http://www.inkAID.com>. Just put the
      fabric on a thin sheet of mylar, wet it down with inkAID to precoat the
      material for better ink holdout and keep it flat and smooth. Let it dry and

      (You can also use inkAID on aluminum, wood veneer, and lots of other
      materials that weren't designed for printing.)

      Digital Art Studio: Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with
      Traditional Art Materials by Karin Schminke, Dorothy Simpson Krause, Bonny
      Pierce Lhotka, Watson-Guptill, 2004
      Chartpak blender pens and they do contain=20
      xylene. But at $4 a pen it gets a bit=20
      expensive. You can buy a small can of xylene in=20
      the hardware store as "Goof Off" for about the=20
      same cost which would probably last you a=20
      lifetime. After your one blender pen runs out of=20
      xylene, pour a small amount of Goof Off into a=20
      non porous container and dip the pen into the=20
      liquid. The xyelene will be reabsorbed back=20
      into the felt wick. Makes for easy application=20
      with little mess. But if you don't want to buy a=20
      blender pen you can use a Q-tip. And yes, xylene is very toxic.
      For those of you who are in the San Francisco Bay Area and might be interested in transfering images via inkjet to fabric, the Palo Alto Art Center is offering a class on two Saturdays: July 15 and July 22, taught by Bay Area Book Artist member Peng Peng Wang. <www.cityofpaloalto.org/enjoy>
      >'Non-toxic' things that work with many photocopies are oil of
      >wintergreen and citrus-based paint stripper. For best results use an
      >etching press (yes, for fabric).

      I've also heard that Citra-Solve (the household cleaner) will also
      work. I haven't tried it, but it makes sense. But even if you use
      that, be careful.... people who are allergic to citrus (like me!)
      would probably have problems with it. It's VERY highly concentrated

      In general, I think the least toxic method would be to run the fabric
      through an inkjet printer that uses archival inks and print directly
      onto that. To do that, get some freezer paper from the store, cut it
      to paper size, then iron the fabric onto the shiny side. Make sure
      there are no strings hanging out, then run that through the printer
      on manual setting. Set it aside to dry, then slowly peel the fabric
      off the freezer paper. Iron on the wrong side.

      Most of the methods for getting an image onto fabric are toxic,
      unfortunately. And the chemicals they use to set the paints, etc.
      are also toxic. (There's one called Bubble-Set or something like
      that that quilter's use....it's basically pure formaldehyde!)

      A lot of the toxic chemicals and such are used to make the fabric
      washable. If you're making a book, that's unnecessary.

      Another thing I didn't mention....all of the transfer methods I know
      of have to be done with *laser* printers or copiers that use
      toner....they don't work with inkjet prints. And the fresher the
      While the Citra-Solve and Oil of Wintergreen have been touted as
      non-toxic I personally know of several artists who have gone to the
      hospital with sever reactions to these solvents. Also, I was teaching
      at an Art Retreat where an instructor was using Citra-Solve for
      transfers in a closed classroom and it set off the alarm for toxic
      fumes and the fire department came and we had to clear the building!
      So use cautiously and in a well- ventilated area.

      There is a book by Leslie Riley that explains several transfer methods
      for both inkjet and xerox transfer.Sorry that I don;t know the title
      but a seearch on Amazon under her name will turn it up. There are
      instructions for paper and cloth. There have also been several articles
      on the subject in Cloth Paper and Scissors magazine. There is a Yahoo
      group called inkjet transfers which features many discussions on all
      types of transfers, both toner and inkjet. They have a very good file
      section with a lot of good instructions.

      I know for paper, you can use a "bunny burner" which is a small tool
      that looks like a woodburning tool . It heats up and you use it like an
      iron on the back of the image and it transfers the toner to paper under
      it. Seems like it should work on an absorbent cloth.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • godisu59
      I have had success using my bunny burner to transfer lazer images to fabric. You have to be careful not to scorch the fabric by applying the burner with
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 19, 2006
        I have had success using my "bunny burner" to transfer lazer images to
        fabric. You have to be careful not to scorch the fabric by applying
        the burner with continuious motion. Practice first to get the hang of
        it. Thanks fo rth einfo Jill. Carol Kemp--- In
        bookartsconnection@yahoogroups.com, "Jill Littlewood" <jill@...> wrote:
        > >

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        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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