Photo transfer paper enables glass artists to add photographic and other designs to their fused glass creations. This tutorial will demonstrate how to use photo transfer paper in your fused glass art.
Select your image. Note that images with light and dark contrast are the most successful, especially in small project. Photos can be difficult to use if there is not sufficient contrast. Most photos will need to be edited in photoshop to increase the contrast before they can be printed onto the laser water-slide decal paper. The photo transfer paper will produce a sepia image.
Print the image out on a laser printer that uses a carbon based toner with a high level of black iron oxide, such as a Hewlett Packard Laser Printer. Toners with low levels of black iron oxide will burn off in the firing process.
Follow the paper manufacturer's instructions to fix the paper onto the glass. Place the image in warm water and soak the back paper off. Place the transfer paper onto the glass, squeegee it for air bubbles and wait for it to dry.
Use a paper towel or a squeegee to blot the decal until it is completely dry. Be sure the decal is smooth on the face of the glass.
The image will be pretty stable once the back paper is removed and the image is dry. Take care not to scratch it as you work.
The image can be fused on the surface or capped by placing clear glass on top and full fusing the two pieces together. Either clear frit or sheet can be used to cap the image. If left uncapped, the ink will turn a sepia tone. If capped, the black oxides should turn a lovely shade of umber and the image is permanently fixed 'inside' the glass.
Fire according to paper manufacturers instructions. Ramp to 1350 degrees F. Crash the kiln temperature down to 1000 degrees F by opening the door and venting.
If your decal includes words, it will help to prepare the decals as a mirror image using a computer program like photoshop. Print the decal in reverse. Soak the decal as above and then slide the decal off upside down (paper side up) so that the words read correctly and are facing away from the glass. Be careful so you do not rub off part of the carbon based ink when putting the decals on the glass. Photo transfer paper can be purchased from Lazetran, Beldecal and Delphi.
Never leave a kiln unattended when firing.