Printing Information for Inkjet and Laser Printers

Printing Information for Inkjet and Laser Printers

Published by Fawn Giese, IKONART on 7th May 2020

When it comes to making stencils with the IKONART Custom Stencil Kit, the quality of your artwork and film positives make a big difference in how the final stencil will turn out. If your ink isn't dark enough it will allow light from the exposure light to seep through your artwork, causing the emulsion underneath your artwork to semi-cure, and then washout will be a total pain in the ... well, you get the idea! Follow the tips below to make sure you are starting with the best film positive possible.


Inkjet or Laser Printer for IKONART

Either an inkjet or laser printer will work with our IKONART Custom Stencil Kit, so if you already own a printer, use what you got! 

However, if you are looking to buy a printer, we recommend getting an inkjet printer. Inkjet printers generally print darker positives, which in turn blocks out the light better and makes the washout process much easier and faster.  

Here are some printers we recommend that have been tested by other crafters using IKONART: 

  • Canon Pixma iX6820 - click here to read Aaron's thoughts on using this printer with IKONART Inkjet Film, and also download his printer setup cheat sheet
  • Brother MFC-J805DW (black cartridge double size of other cartridges) - click here to watch a video on how Autumn set up this printer for use with IKONART Inkjet Film

Printing on IKONART Inkjet Printer Film

1. Start with high quality artwork

The quality of your artwork is very important when it comes to how your final stencil will turn out. High density artwork that is 100% black with crisp edges will give you the best positive to block out the UV light.

2. Printer Settings

Every printer is different, but if your printer allows you to adjust ink and paper settings, we recommend adjusting the ink setting on your printer to print in only black ink and adjusting the paper setting to glossy or photo. This will give you the most density when printing. 

Here is an example of how to change the the print settings on your inkjet printer for best print results (options may vary depending on your printer):

  • Click File and then click Print
  • In the Print window, open the Properties (may be called Options, Printer Setup, or Printer Preferences)
  • Under Paper Type, choose Inkjet, Glossy, or Photo
  • Under Print Quality, choose Best
  • Under Color options, choose Black & White or Black Only (if that is an option)
  • Under Printer Speed, choose the slowest option possible or uncheck any boxes that say fast or quick
3. Mirror your artwork

When printing, we recommend mirroring your artwork for best results. Some printers have this option directly in the print dialog box. If your printer does not give you that option, you will need to mirror your artwork in your design program.

But why? When you mirror your artwork, it allows you to put the printed side of your printer transparency in contact with the emulsion side of the IKONART stencil, therefore creating a better seal between your artwork and stencil film, which will help to eliminate light from seeping in under the edges of your design. 

4. Print on the emulsion side

When printing on the IKONART Inkjet Printer Film, it is important that you print on the EMULSION side of the film. The emulsion side is the side that is not shiny. This side of the film has a special coating that makes your ink darker and also helps it dry faster. If you try to print on the shiny side, your ink will not dry. Here are some tips to tell which side is the emulsion side of the film:

  • The side that is less shiny - just remember... milky not silky! 
  • The side you can put your fingernail into
  • If you lick your finger, the side your finger gets stuck to
  • If you rub the film with your finger, the side that squeaks
5. Always Use Genuine Inks

No matter what type of printer you have, we always recommend you use the brand of ink that was made for your printer. For example, if you have an Epson printer, you should be using Epson brand inks. Knock-off or cheaper inks do NOT print as dark as the ink that was designed to be used with the printer you have.


Printing on IKONART Laser Printer Film

1. Start with high quality artwork

The quality of your artwork is very important when it comes to how your final stencil will turn out. High density artwork that is 100% black with crisp edges will give you the best positive to block out the UV light.

2. Printer Settings

Every printer is different, but if your printer allows you to adjust quality settings, we recommend adjusting the quality print setting on your printer to "high quality" or "best quality". This will give you the most density when printing. Also make sure that your toner cartridge doesn't need to be replaced and adjust your paper type settings.

Here is an example of how to change the the print settings on your laser printer for best print results (options may vary depending on your printer):

  • Click File and then click Print
  • In the Print window, open the Properties (may be called Options, Printer Setup, or Printer Preferences)
  • Under Paper Type, choose Coated Paper, Vellum, or Presentation Matte
  • Under Print Quality, choose Best
  • Under Color options, choose Black & White or Black Only (if that is an option)
  • Under Printer Speed, choose the slowest option possible or uncheck any boxes that say fast or quick
3. Mirror your artwork

When printing with a laser printer, you must mirror your artwork. Some printers have this option directly in the print dialog box. If your printer does not give you that option, you will need to mirror your artwork in your design program.

But why? Laser film positives are not as dense as inkjet film positives, so reflecting/mirroring your art helps to achieve a quality stencil with faster washout. When you mirror your artwork, it allows you to put the printed side of your printer transparency in contact with the emulsion side of the IKONART Stencil Film, therefore creating a better seal between your artwork and stencil film, which will help to eliminate light from seeping in under the edges of your design. 

4. Print on EITHER SIDE OF THE LASER PRINTER FILM

When printing on the IKONART Laser Printer Film you can print on either side of the film. Both sides of the film are the same.

5. Toner Enhancement Spray

If you are still having trouble with density using your laser printer, try our Toner Enhancement Spray. You spray this on your artwork after you print to increase the black ink density.


Questions About IKONART

Choosing a printer and getting it setup can feel overwhelming, but once you figure it out, you will be making custom, reusable stencils quicker and easier. If you have any more questions about printing film positives for the IKONART Custom Stencil Kit, please contact us today!

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