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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Printing on foil using digital ground

At school/work the 6th Formers are encouraged to experiment with different mediums. I've used gesso and gel mediums before but I'd never heard of digital ground so I took some home this weekend to see what it can do.

Digital ground allows you to print on usually non-printable surfaces. One example given is aluminium foil so this is what I tried.
First I spread the digital ground, which is a clear liquid, on to the foil. The instructions said to do two layers in opposite directions, allowing to dry in between, so that's what I did.
Shout out to foam brushes by the way. I'm a recent convert. 

Then I printed my image on to the foil using an ink jet printer. I printed a box the shape of my photo first so I knew where to position the foil on the paper, or 'carrier sheet' as a youtube lady called it. I used masking tape to keep the foil in place, sticking it on three edges.
The photo came out a lot clearer than I thought it would, though it was a bit pale, but this is probably because it's quite a light photo to start with.

Then I started thinking about what to do with the image.
I cut out layers of cardboard the size of the image to show the different rocks, using tracing paper to get he shapes exact. Then I stuck the 5 layers together using PVA glue.

I mixed some plaster with water and glue to build up some texture where the rocks were. I also put some glue on the figure to get some texture on the clothing.

Once the plaster and glue were dry I stuck the foil to the cardboard. I used this handy tool - sold as a nail varnish dotter in Poundland - to press the foil into the edges of the card without ripping it.

This is what it looked like with all the foil stuck down. Pretty cool but the image was still a bit pale.

So I tried painting on it using acrylics and that's when I found that the digital ground can do some weird things when it touches water. In some places it made the paint crack or crinkle, in other places it started washing off the foil and in some places it made the printer ink mix with the paint.

I added black and white paint to accentuate the highlights and shadows and I'm really pleased with how the rocks turned out. I think the face could do with some paint to fit in with the rest but I don't want to risk it because I don't know how the digital ground will react.

For a first experiment I call this one a success. What shall I try printing on next...

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