When it comes to making stencils using a laser printer with the Ikonart Custom Stencil Kit, the quality of your artwork and laser film positive makes a big difference in how the final stencil will turn out. If your toner isn't dark enough it will allow light from the exposure unit to seep through your artwork, causing the emulsion underneath your artwork to semi-cure, which causes washout to be a total pain in the ... well, you get the idea! Follow the tips below to make sure you are starting with the best laser film positive possible.
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. Laser Printer Settings for High Density Printing
Every printer is different, but if your laser 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 artwork programs or printers have this option directly in the print dialog box. If your laser 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, you can try spraying your laser printer film with Krylon Matte Finish spray or Krylon Workable Fixatif spray after you print your artwork to increase the black ink density.
6. Troubleshooting Common Issues
If you are seeing black dots or anything unusual on your printed laser film positives, clean the toner head and paper area. If your prints look faded or uneven, make sure that your toner cartridge is good and doesn't need to be replaced.
Laser Printer Recommendations
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! If you need to buy a printer and you're not sure what to get then we generally recommend an inkjet printer, but we have plenty of Ikonart crafters that use a laser printer to create their Ikonart stencils.
Here are a few laser printers that have been mentioned in our Ikonart Crafters Facebook group by other Ikonart crafters:
- Brother HL L23000
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!