Thermofax Blooper

I picked up an old thermal copier a while back; once artifacts lingering in old public school Audio-Visual closets–next to the overhead projectors–these things are now in high demand by fiber artists (they make silk screens) and tattoo artists (for design stencils):

I got mine on Craigslist for $200.

For a very clear and lucid explanation of how/why you’d want to use a thermofax for fiber art, read this blog post.

Anyway, my machine seems to work fine, and I just made my first silkscreen from a black and white photocopy, here it is:

Since this was just a sample, I made a quick “frame” with duct tape:

And here it is, outside with some fabric and dye paste; but when I made my first attempt at a print, all I got was a rectangular blob of dye paste on my fabric.

I won’t both showing you the blob. I think the problem is that my black and white copy from the copy shop isn’t toner-based. If you don’t use a carbon-based black-and-white original for the design, the thermal copier won’t be able to bind the image to the silkscreen mesh.

I’ll have to try again.

3 thoughts on “Thermofax Blooper

  1. Clare–It is a bummer when you try something new and it doesn’t work…if you email me your original (scanning is okay), I can print it for you on my laser b/w printer….it should work perfectly….

    • Mary, thanks for the offer. The problem is, I have photographs I’m copying, so the images I’m looking for I can’t print out at home. I’m hoping the problem is that the copy shop I used has a non-toner based photocopy machine. Or else I just picked a bad image to try and create a thermofax with; when I get back (I’m off to Asheville tomorrow for 5 days) I’m going to try and make a stencil with a simple pencil (i.e. toner) drawing; that way at least I’ll know my thermofax machine does work!

      Talk to you when I get back. 🙂

  2. I’ve been wondering about this thermofax thingie. I followed the link from your baby steps art post….. now i’m going to follow the link in here to more of an explanation.

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