I did a workshop with Melbourne jeweller Anna Davern studying sublimation printing onto metal. It also involved quite a lot of basic metalwork techniques for those who needed it, i.e. especially me!
Sublimation printing = 'Design your graphics in your computer and or scan the image into your computer. When you get ready to print the image be sure to "flip or mirror image" the image so it will be a transfer. If you will design a hairline rectangular border 1/8 inch larger than your metal plate you wish to print and center all your graphics inside that border; it will help you center the graphics on the plate when you are ready to print. You will be printing the "border" with your graphics centered in the border.
It will take approximately 15 minutes for your heat press to get to printing temperature so turn it on ahead of time. Set the temperature to 350° to 360°F. This temperature is important. Any setting under 340° may cause the toner to stick too tightly to the metal and may cause gray printing. Any setting over 370° may cause the toner to "bleed" and the edges of your characters may be slightly distorted.
Remove the plastic protective covering from the metal plate. Preheat the bottom pad of your heat press for 5 or 6 seconds by closing the heat press without anything in it. Now lay your transfer "ink side up" on the warm pad of the heat press. This will pre-shrink the paper prior to printing. This will keep the image from blurring during the printing process. Center your cut metal plate inside the hairline rectangle you designed on your computer. Pull the handle of your heat press down until it locks in place. This process does not require heavy pressure. Set the timer for 20-25 seconds.
When the timer goes off, open the heat press. Immediately, while the metal is still in the heat press, separate the paper from the metal plate. The best way to do this is to pick up one edge of the paper and quickly turn the paper and the metal plate upside down. You will find the metal and the paper are stuck together. With your other hand (with a clean glove on or a clean heavy cloth wrapped around your finger) hold the metal plate down and pull the paper away from the metal. Do this quickly; you have a window of only a few seconds to separate the metal and the paper. Do not move your finger around on the metal as you may pick up some toner on your glove and double print the metal where the glove touches the metal the second time.
Now remove the metal from the heat press and lay in down on some object (that is heat resistant) to cool down.' It's too complicated for me to explain in my own words, so I borrowed some from here, an American site called Sublimation TOG LLC - there are also Australian firms which sell the stuff.
Will talk more about the process in other posts but now I want to put some piccies in:
The square pieces have been printed with an image or images, and sometimes overprinted with other images,, and then have had another printed piece/s glued directly to them (with superglue). They are going into the mixed media stash and will be used in various ways. If I ever use them, I'll post photos of the finished works!
The smaller blanks have all been printed with one image on each and mostly turned into brooches, except of course for the obvious pair of earrings that I made to match one of the brooches.