[Clayart] Photo transfer-ink jet decals - long

Fredrick Paget via Clayart clayart at lists.clayartworld.com
Sun Feb 1 18:34:32 EST 2015

I think I  have straightened out this rather long and boring topic 
after several partial replies. I want to get this straight for the 

.About four hours was wasted on trying to put the four CMYK  image 
colors exactly on top of each other in register on one sheet of decal 
paper. I ran into a problem with powder build up as I printed more 
images onto the first one, The powder was coming off on the feed 
rollers of the printer making the paper slip. So to get a good image 
I had to clean the rollers after the second and following colors.

CMYK for the non color experts is a set of four colors that are 
printed in register to make a color image. they are Cyan Magenta 
Yellow and K, which  for some reason is Black.

  Some of the more expensive  printers use as many as 9 colors 
including 3 shades of black but that is not used in ceramics (yet).

I was able to make a single color image on decal paper and coat it 
with covercoat in about 15 minutes and multiple copies speeded up so 
I only took about 5 minutes per copy after getting started. Then the 
coating has to dry overnight

The process I used could make decals that would work in cone 10 
firings as well as any lower temperatures I wanted. It depends on 
what you use for stains . I have some pigments that are from Bel 
Decal that are cone 018 or I can use any Mason stains and some Cerdec 
stains. Also a gold (fake) pigment made for china painters. I add a 
little frit (Ferro 3124, 20%) to the stain to make the decal fire on 
better to the ware.

The embossing ink is a mixture I devised about 10 years ago. after 
reading a lot of patents for ink jet  printers and is probably 
overkill. I was in correspondence with an ink jet cartridge refiller 
in Greece and he sent me some of the chemicals he used in making ink 
so I used those and bought more quantity of them from a small 
chemical provider for experimenters who is now gone, as his principal 
customer, a University, dropped him.  The ink I used had water, 
propylene glycol. glycerine, a wetting agent and NMP 
(N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone - a viscosity reducer and humectant) which 
you will probably not be able to buy. Also a bit of green color I 
made from yellow  and cyan ink was added to make the wet image 

To make you own embossing ink try starting with yellow ink and water. 
That will help with the exotic chemicals. Then add glycol and you 
will probably be good to go. Bulk  ink jet inks are sold by many 
companies on the internet. Do not use Ethylene Glycol . It is poison. 
Propylene glycol is fed to cattle as medicine and it is safe. Get it 
from a vet. supply. It is cheap. If I try this myself I will publish 
the formula.

To emboss one puts some powder on the sticky image by carefully 
brushing a small amount of the powder over the image with a brush. I 
use a fine brush imported from Germany. I think one of those makeup 
brushes ladies use for powder would be fine. Follow up with a cleanup 
rub with a paper towel. This is kind of messy and I work on a pile of 
clean old newspaper and throw out a sheet of it after each embossing 
. Next coat it with cover coat. I bought mine from Bel Decal. 4 
gallon can minimum order. There is a china painters supply store who 
sells it in pints or more. Rhynne or something like that. Marci would 
know. The internet has dozens of sources for "cover coat".

It is easy to make images with several  colors as long as the two 
colors are in different places. You do a selective emboss using 
different color powder stains in selected areas of the decal. As I 
said before I once made a 4 color decal that yielded a color picture 
of my granddaughter and her dog/ But it took all morning to do it. 
Not really practical.

The printer: That is the hard part. The business plan of ink jet 
printer makers is to sell printers cheap and ink cartridges dear.You 
want a printer that will print with just one cartridge in the black 
position. The firmware in the printer may or may not allow it.  Most 
printers now employ a chip on the cartridge to prevent it being 
refilled after it is empty. There are countless ways to overcome this 
and every year the printer engineers dream up some new way to stop it.

  The Epson WF-M1030 is a new design ink jet that is a good candidate. 
It is a black only printer and is pretty cheap. It uses a very large 
cart. that is good for 4000 copies (They Say) and also there is a 
smaller one for less $.. What I plan to do is use the starter cart 
they give you with it. Empty it and wash it out and put in the home 
brew ink. you should get about 1000 copies with the cart before it 
says "empty". Then you could get one of the smaller carts they offer 
and empty it and refill it before using it . That way there is no 
problem with the chip untill you empty it.
I have one of these M1030's that we use as a black only text printer 
and If you want to try this I may be ahead of you and can help on the 
cart .refill methods.

Maybe tomorrow I will put up some pictures of embossed decal work on 
the internet.

Fred Paget

Twin Dragon Studio
Mill Valley, CA, USA

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