Petra Kaiser prints your
Petra Kaiser prints your images out for you. Check out her website: http://kaiser-lee-glass-art.com/
Or if you are some of the yahoo glass groups too, you might find people that are willing to print your images for you. (yahoo: warmglass, glassfusion, artglasspics, kilnglass).
If you do get a b&w laserjet and you are ready to print your own, check out http://www.beldecal.com/ for the transfer paper….last time I bought it theirs was the best price I could find.
If you do buy a b&w laserjet…I highly recommend a basic HP model, but do your homework first and check the MSDS sheet to see which model has the highest iron oxide content. If you can get your hands on an older HP LaserJet 1020….get it. That model seems to have the highest content and prints nicely. (I bought one new, and I bought one at a thrift store for $1.29, I also have the HP LaserJet 1006.) The newer models have less iron oxide and you have to either manipulate your photos in a photo editing program to be darker or layer your print. Or another option is to buy a MICR toner (magnetic ink character recognition, like they use in the banks) as they tend to print darker than a normal printer due to the increased amount of iron oxide.
When printing your own it is best to print a few copies before you put your decal paper in the printer, so you can warm up the printer, and it lets you see what your copy will look like and if you will need to make any adjustments. Be sure to remove the tissue paper from the decal paper before printing. I try to let my decals dry overnight after printing before I use them.
Cut them close to the design and soak in lukewarm water. Place it on the glass and position it where you want it. Once you are pleased with its’ location, take a paper towel and blot up the excess water, get another paper towel and place it over the decal and use a brayer and work any more water that is left around and under the decal. Make sure before you fire your decal/glass to remove any residue (from the decal) that is on the glass around the edges of the decal….sometimes if you move the decal around very much it will leave a smear …if you don’t clean it up with water or rubbing alcohol before firing, it is permanent and will show after firing. Make sure the decal is completely dry before firing.
All kilns are different, but I fire my decals at a tack fuse. I find if I go any hotter it will distort or even make the decal crack due to the glass moving. Therefore if I want any embellishments on my glass piece I will full fuse those in one firing, and the next I apply the decal and tack fuse.
Some people add powdered frit for color on the decal, or around the decal.
As far as clear capping decals, I have had this conversation with lots of glass artists….overall it is not a successful venture. If you clear cap decals no bigger than 2″ x 2″…you can do it, but go any bigger that is when you get into trouble. You either get bubbles between the clear cap and base glass that generally end up in the most conspicuous places, or the decal will distort and tear. I do know of someone that uses clear powder frit over the top to achieve the look of the clear cap…but I haven’t seen it in person. At first I didn’t like the decals without the clear cap, but now I think they look very nice, and many times more crisp.
Experiment, experiment, experiment! If you do have someone print your images, have a few extras made so you can try them before you do your final piece.