Day 24 - printing on tissue paper

Although this is part of #100DragonDays, it’s not specific to the paper mache dragon. In fact, it might be stalling some more on that. But it’s been a busy day, and if it wasn’t for #The100DayProject I would have skipped today. So I just did a little experimenting. I picked one of the blah colors I wasn’t likely to need, and a test image that went well with it.

First attempt

To print on tissue paper, you first have to attach it to a backing. (Or so I assume. I suppose I could try a plain sheet of tissue. I mean, what could go wrong?)

My first attempt didn’t come out so well - a little too much adhesive, a little too much impatience. It printed well, but it is firmly bonded to that backing.

Printed tissue

The second attempt was a little better. I sprayed very lightly, and waited (almost) the full minute the can recommends, and it didn’t stick except at the top where I sprayed a little more heavily. You may be able to see, if you look closely, that some of the ink came through the paper onto the backing. I don’t think it soaked through - the tissue has pinholes in it here and there. The ink didn’t seem to bleed much at all. Success!

Tissue back side

It’s a little hard to see the difference, but this is the back side. I sprayed half of it with the Krylon (lightly) and it brought the color right through. A heavy coat of Krylon will make the tissue transparent, even once it dries. A light coat will give you some translucence, enough to make the image visible from both sides. If this wasn’t a test image, I’d have shot one or two more very light coats on this side, and the same on the other, letting it dry in between - but since I was doing this on the kitchen table, it wasn’t worth the fumes.

The details

  • This is plain old cheap non-bleeding craft/gift tissue. I have ordered some nice Japanese Esaki tissue for the real thing.
  • It’s 3M repositionable adhesive, on cardstock. I suspect I could have gotten away with taping the tissue at the top of the paper and letting it feed through, and I’ll probably try that later.
  • The tissue is stuck shiny-side down, so the printer is printing on the rougher side.
  • It’s an Epson inkjet printer, no special ink. We also have a color laser, but I wasn’t sure how the heat would interact with the adhesive.
  • The finish spray is Krylon UV-blocking Clear, matte finish. It comes in both matte and glossy (and semi-gloss, I think), and in a Crystal Clear version that’s slightly cheaper. But tissue fades when you even look at it funny, so I went with the UV-blocking.
  • Use the Krylon in a well-ventilated area - ideally, outside. The can warnings are not kidding, that stuff is potent.

I can think of some fun applications for the end product, but I’m not sure yet if this is what I want for the dragon. Computer-printed stuff always feels somewhat like cheating (though admittedly I already have some of that going on in the eyes). We’ll see.