Saturday, March 8, 2014

Glow-in-the-dark printer paper


Currently in the industry I haven't found a glow-in-the-dark (GID) paper for my inkjet printer (or any inkjet printers for that matter), and I needed to create an image that would GID for an upcoming exhibit. Screen printing with photo emulsion was probably my best bet, but after spending a lot of money, headaches, disappointment and desperation, I had an inspiration; why not use the screen printer to put a flat coating of GID paint onto my printer paper. Will it work? We are about to find out.

First off, you'll need the following materials:
- glow-in-the-dark (GID) paint (I used Lukas Cyrl Studio #4607)
- Kyrlon Easy-Tack
- Kyrlon Crystal Clear
- Xacto Knife
- Hot Iron
- screen print frame
- flat smooth surface (I used plexiglass)
- squeegee
- damp paper towel
- hair dryer
- printer paper
- spray bottle of water
- newsprint paper

Second, you will need to create a black and white only image. I've tried color and failed miserably.

I use an Epson 1400 inkjet printer and 44lb matte paper so depending what you use at home, your results may vary.

1.) OK first we need to create the GID paper. Setup your screen frame and place your printer paper on smooth surface. Kyrlon Easy-Tack will help keep the paper flat when we apply the paint (I said "help" not "will", you'll still get some wrinkles which we'll take care of later).

2.) Next we apply the paint onto paper. There are many youtube videos on how to apply screen print paint and I do recommend you watch them, but basically you want to lift up the frame off the paper, run the paint through with the squeegee to "charge" the screen, then place the screen on top of the paper and run it through again. You'll get an even coat this way. Note, the edges of the paint run will always be imperfect so you are going to have the trim the paper when it drys. Expect about 3/4 of inch all around you'll lose.

3. Drying and flatting the paper is the next process. If you are doing multiple prints, you want to keep the screen moist since we are using acrylic paint. Take and damp paper towel and place it on top of the screen when not in use.

Next, take the paper and use the hair dryer and dry the paint on the paper. You'll have some lumps, but we'll fix that later.

Take two pieces of newsprint paper and sandwich your GID paper in between. Make sure the painted side lays face down as we do not want direct contact with the hot iron we are going to use. Take the spray bottle and indirectly spray the top newsprint. Now take your hot iron and run across the top nice an slow; the water droplets will work as steam and will flatten your GID paper wrinkles. Don't worry if the edges stick to the newsprint as we will trim the paper.

Trim the GID paper to appropriate printing size. I took a 13"x 19" paper and trimmed it to 8.5" x ll" letter size.

Print your image on "plain paper" setting. Using high resolution settings, such a presentation matte or gloss will make your image bleed. Careful not to touch the ink when it's completed as it will smear. Do a quick heat blast with your hair dryer. You'll also want it to air dry bout half the day (direct sunlight will help the process as well as charge the glow material). Finally, us Crystal Clear and gradually put coats to seal the image.

 If it all works out, you should have something like this at the end.

Because the inks were especial formulated for the paper, I've attached my color test to show you it is not possible and color will only bleed. Thus you want to design a simple black and white image for this project.

The previous image was a quick test and yes it is Metroid. While this is not the final piece (just a warmup folks), Metroid will be the next theme I'll be illustrating for the Bottleneck Gallery's "When the Lights Go Out" show in the coming weeks.

Till then, have fun!

1 comment:

  1. Informative and interesting! I think you just did some SCIENCE, son.