In the past it was required to screen print photo resist onto intaglio plates using hazardous
and dangerous chemicals to produce the image; or coat the plate with a photographic
polymer sheet like, for example, ImagOn. In my research to find a simple, low-cost, and safe form of
transfer I came up with a way to use inkjet paper to make a toner transfer that doesn’t require a
water bath or any other chemicals to produce the transfer.
Toner Matrix : Etched Copper
Warning: Ink jet paper can cause damage to a photocopier, that’s why I recommend
you use or buy an older machine if you intend to make a number of plates and use this
processes continually within your shop.
Materials needed for the Photocopy Etch:
(other glossy photo papers can be used)
Everything you will need
Method:The steps are simple for a 5 x 7 inch plate:
Import your image into Photoshop.
I recommend you bitmap your image with a halftone dot 150 dpi at 40 lpi.
You can go higher but I would run a small test before hand.
Print out your image onto regular copy paper.
Now take this and your glossy photo paper to your photocopier machine.
Simply place your image onto the photocopier bed.
Place your glossy paper in Tray 2 or the external tray feed.
Set the photocopier on the following settings:
Setting for copier
Text Image Quality
Paper select tray 2
Now press copy.
Step 4 (optional)
Repeat Step 3, re-running your inkjet paper back though the photocopier.
No shifting should occur.
You can run the photo paper through once depending on the copier and how heavy the toner is.
Clean the plate.
Place your plate on a piece of wood board.
Preheat an iron on its hottest setting (cotton) or a hot plate to 400 degrees.
Pre-heat the plate using the iron for 1–2 minutes.
Place the image which has been printed on glossy photo paper, onto your plate.
After the inkjet has been placed face down on the plate, let paper and plate heat up.
Place the iron on top and press down.
Move the iron slowly over the whole plate for between to 2–5 minutes.
Press the image down with a wooden spoon.
Pull up one corner to see if a good transfer has taken place.
If not, reheat that area and repeat the pressing action with a wood or metal spoon.
Above left: Example of good transfer (with gloss)
Above right: Example of a bad transfer: wasn't allowed to heat up sufficiently to make the transfer
Take the paper off and etch your plate using an appropriate nontoxic process e.g.