This tutorial assumes you have purchased the Laser Decal Paper available in our Supplies store. The laser decal paper we sell is the Fired-On brand. All instructions on this site are specific to the Fired-On brand of paper. It is suitable for making both fused glass decals and ceramic decals. While some of our instructions will be relevant to other brands of decal paper, we strongly suggest you perform your own tests with all other brands.
This laser decal paper will only work with printers using ‘Micr’ toner cartridges. The brands we know of that are suitable are HP and Canon. Any of their black only printers, copiers and fax machines will work, but they must be black only.
Double-check the model uses ‘Micr’ toner cartridges, just to be sure.
As of 2019, a few of HP’s NEW Black Laser printers have changed their toner formulation. Before you buy a new HP printer for this process, please check the cartridge number on HP’s MSDS site to be sure your toner contains either Iron Oxide or Ferrite. http://h22235.www2.hp.com/hpinfo/globalcitizenship/environment/productdata/ljmsdsuseng.html
There is also a link on the FAQ page at www.fired-on.com ALL Canon Black-Only laser printers still work for this process.
Designing Your Decals
Just a few notes about designing your images for use with this paper. The fused glass decals created need special consideration. Remember, the final image should be a rich sepia colour with good contrast and definition.
- Contrast. The most important thing to remember when developing you design is contrast. Your designs can be developed in grayscale, but a complex greyscale image without good contrast will not be ideal. Aim to have good contrast between elements. The final result from these decals is a sepia monochrome image and just like any monochrome image contrast between elements gives you that definition.
- Be efficient with your design. I work with art glass. It’s expensive and nothing ever gets thrown out. Everything is reusable. Likewise, while decal paper isn’t as expensive, be efficient. Include as many images as possible on your design to make the most of that sheet. You shouldn’t run decal paper through your laser printer more than once, so if you are putting a full sheet through be sure to fill it with images.
- Consider adding some text for testing. Add text or something to unused areas for testing purposes. We have added a line of text at the bottom of our Print ‘n Ship decals for just this purpose.
- Consider designing for a half sheet, especially if you have smaller designs. A lot of our downloadable decal designs are designed to use just a half sheet of decal paper.
- Image resolution should be 300 DPI. To get the best result, we suggest an image resolution of 300 DPI (dots per inch). Much the same as for normal printing. The lower resolution used for web design can work, but will be a much grainier image, which can have a certain attraction when wanting a more aged look to the result.
Printing Your Fused Glass Decals
Here are a few things to consider when printing decals.
- Test and more test. Test print your design on normal paper before committing to decal paper. You’ll want to ensure that the final printed image is the correct size, has good contrast and is pleasing to the eye.
- Set your printer to Letter size. The decal sheets are Letter size (about 216 mm x 280 mm, 8.5″ x 11″). US standard paper size. You need to set your printer to this size.
- Remove the protective tissue paper. The decal should have a sheet of protective tissue paper over it. Don’t forget to remove this before printing.
- Warm up your printers fuse roller. It is a good idea to run a number of sheets of plain paper through your printer first, to warm up the printer’s fuser roller. This helps the toner bond to the decal. I usually run about 5 sheets through (don’t reuse those sheets). If you are printing several decals you don’t need to do this between each sheet, unless the delay between printing sheets allows the fuser roller to cool down.
- Feed the decal paper into the printer one sheet at a time. I made the mistake of leaving the printer set to 5 copies and ended up wasting a couple of decal sheets before I could cancel the job.
Once you have your decals printed, read through our article on How to Apply a Custom Fused Glass Decal.