Monday, February 4, 2013

Spoiler: boasting about my coaster *or* laser colour transfers

Transferring coloured laser copies... very lovely.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a colour copier that uses toner available for me at work.  I've had this in the past, never made use of it (ya know, for things other than work) but, as I looked through some images for my contribution to this year's Coaster Boaster event, I thought it might be a good way to do layered stamps (which I've never tried to do before... mistakes ahoy!).

The real thing: the Steam Whistle beer coaster.
This year, I'm contributing a Steam Whistle coaster for the event - my favourite Toronto beer. Did you know that you can have a free drink if you visit the Steam Whistle brewery at the Roundhouse?  Now you do.  So no excuses if you go letterboxing downtown Toronto.

Anyways, the coaster for Steam Whistle is just their iconic green logo with the steam whistle and a blue overlay for the text.  I'll take artistic license to make the ring around the outside blue as well, and from that I figured that it would be easy to carve two stamps to layer this image (so long as I can come up with a fairly repeatable way to line up the images, of course).

Two transferred images - the tiny text smudged on the first.
Since the image is just two colours, and I've got a colour copier, I printed out a sheet with two copies of the Steam Whistle logo and tried the transfer with my iron.  My findings were thus: it took a heck of a lot longer to transfer than just black.  At first, only the yellow from the green was transferring - with more heat, the green started to go, then with more heat the blue finally transferred.  This probably took a couple minutes all told.  I will just note this for myself and next time not keep lifting the paper to peek, and here's why: the paper warps ever so slightly when I did this and so the image on that area being lifted was not as clear (almost had very minor multiple registrations).  This happened to be where the teensy text for "Canada's Premium Pilsner" was written and it's smudged enough to make it difficult to try to carve that.  Fortunately, there are actually two transfers for this layered stamp, and I'll just use the other one for the blue layer.

Anyways, the transfers look great, very colourful - I'd do this again.  Off to carve.  One carve for the green background image - steam, another for the blue whistle and text.

You can see above on the bottom left the cutout transferred image.  At the top, the carving for the blue was done (oops, mucked up the A - but to err is human!) and part way done the lower right.  I actually found it helpful to have both colours on the rubber while I was carving to understand how the images would go together, but I could see this being confusing on a more complicated image.

Okay, so once I finished the carving, I went through probably about 25 inkings to try to figure out how to line these suckers up - and how to describe to boxers on the trail how to reliably repeat it.  What was I thinking?  Jeez. Mostly my advice is, try your best!  Gah. I tried lines galore, measured pretty much everything, but still couldn't get reliable transfers.  There's got to be a better way.  Next project.

Anyways, I'm still happy with the result. The colour transfer was helpful and just as clear as a typical black transfer.

Anyways, if you'd like to see this stamp in the wild, it's being sent across the border for GreatBigSabres as yet unscheduled Coaster Boaster even this coming spring. (I'm sure there's some sort of joke to be made here about sending booze across the border, but it escapes me...) Last year's event and entries were stellar - I'm really looking forward to it.

Happy trails!


  1. nice job Bumble! seriously cool.

    1. Thanks, tiggs! You'll have to come out for the event, a bit of a drive - I know - but well worth it!

  2. Very cool. I no longer have access to a printer at work for such activities. It was a cold, sad day when I found that out. So my transfers are less than stellar. I am hoping to pick up some saving grace tips at the mini meet. I am assuming we are going to this together. I know where I won't be parking my Maybe an early sat, over night, then some more action Sunday. The last event was soo good that I am in pain I do not have all the stamps haha.

    1. That is so sad! The loss of good transfer printers is a sad thing indeed. Did they phase out the old ones? That happened to me. I cried. Begged. If they were going to throw out the copier, why couldn't I just have it?

      Sounds like a plan - I'll let you pick the hotel this time ;) Or we could camp if you're going to sleeping bag it, anyway.