Sunday, January 30, 2011

Printing Designs on Paper using Laser Toner

When I first started experimenting with printing designs on paper and gluing them to wooden pawns (which I termed digitally painting), I used my inkjet printer at home for printing out all of the designs. After I finally settled on a design, I laid out a large sheet of all the components and printed them up using an HP Color LaserJet. One of the things I immediately noticed was that the colors went darker. But, as I was hurried to get some figures out for a convention, I only did as many as I needed; I set aside the remainders on the sheet I had printed to do them later.

Well, I have gone back to the remainders and have been working on finishing the rest of the British squad; six figures are just not enough. So I started building the remaining six. As I started working with the paper, because it is handled much rougher than a normal page might be, the dried toner started flaking off. Now I noticed this when I originally started building the figures before the convention, but this time it seemed much worse, so I suspect that some slow-acting chemical reaction is still occurring and the toner is continuing to dry out and harden, making it brittle. So, the solution seems to be to fix the toner to the page.

As the figures that I game with have not exhibited flaking after they were finished, I can assume that the varnishes I put on have done a sufficient job of fixing the toner to the paper, so I tried an experiment while building. I brushed Future acrylic floor wax (the acrylic painter's miracle fluid) on to the paper over the toner and let it dry. This seemed to completely solve the issue, plus it brightened the colors (which may or may not be a good thing, depending upon your point of view).

One final note: the paper will warp, of course, when you wet it with Future, but by rubbing the back of the paper you can control the curling and remove the wavy effects in the paper.

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