When it comes to making stencils using an inkjet printer with the Ikonart Custom Stencil Kit, the quality of your artwork and inkjet film positive makes 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 unit to seep through your artwork, causing the emulsion underneath your artwork to semi-cure, which causes washout to be a total pain. Follow the tips below to make sure you are starting with the best inkjet film positive possible.
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.
Every printer is different, but if your inkjet 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):
When printing with an inkjet printer we recommend mirroring your artwork for best results. Some artwork programs or printers have this option directly in the print dialog box. If your inkjet 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 printed 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.
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:
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.
Only put ONE sheet of Inkjet Printer Film in your printer at a time. There are some printers that are not able to read film transparencies. If your printer keeps spitting out blank sheets, you may need to "trick" it into printing on a transparency. Here are some tricks we recommend trying:
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 inkjet printers we recommend: