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.
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 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):
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.
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.
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.
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.