As part of the part-time MA course third year students are required to produce a print 8cm x 10cm in an edition of 60.  I have worked on several quite different prints over the past few weeks and have now settled on one.  This is based on a stitched piece I made a while ago for a friend, sadly now deceased.

From a photo of the original I used Photoshop to crop, strengthen the colour and enhance, then made a frame and adjusted the shade and colour overall.  Once the image was ok and worked at the correct size I made test prints on my Epson inkjet., onto paper and silk fabric (Jacquard).

Then took the image to digital print on fabric at college, which is a dye print on 136cm wide silk.

Dye print dancer001
Sally dancing, digital dye print

I was not really happy with the result so reverted to an A4 inkjet print.  As my Epson ET 2500 printer is prone to all sorts of unwanted ink on the prints this was a slow process, with far too much waste.  Each sheet (8 1/2″ x 11″) costs about £1.20. But on the plus side  cutting out the individual prints is easy.

inkjet print dancer fault001
Typical print failures on my Epson ET-2500, which is cheap to refill but has few other good points.

Each A4 sheet contained four images.  I used iron-on two side fusible webbing (Bondaweb), to attach the prints – can also be used to aid cutting out if the images are printed onto fabric without a paper backing.

Once cut I peeled of the Bondaweb backing and then place the print onto the base card (20cm x 25cm) and again iron on to fuse the webbing to the card.  Repeat sixty times.

Laser cut plywood

August 12th.  After struggling with the idea of ‘bridges’ to hold the various pieces in place on the cut plywood sheets for each toy I have decided to abandon them altogether.  The bridges are very small, about 1mm and are engraved rather that cut, at 2mm depth in the 3mm plywood.  This holds the pieces in place but when they are pressed out there are often small splinters of ply.  This is not good in a toy.

So I am now going to eliminate all bridges and instead use paper transfer paper, as used in the sign making industry to transfer cut vinyl lettering etc.  This is very cheap adhesive paper on a roll, many widths available; I will use 150mm (>A5) as I generally aim to cut A5 sheets so as to have easy and consistent packaging.

When cutting is complete the plywood is left on the cutter bed and the paper tape applied and pressed or rolled down firmly.

The integrity of the piece is maintained, separation of pieces is easy, no splinters, no engraving needed.


First iteration tugboat for web
First iteration tugboat

The two toy boats I have been working on came back from Cut&Burn, the tugboat was almost entirely right, just a few minor corrections.  The image above is missing the cabin mid-deck, it was not quite right.  Just a few corrections and alterations then a second cut next week.