Step 12: Peel the Paper from the Map

Picture of Peel the Paper from the Map
After the "sandwich cools both sheets of paper can be peeled from the plastic map.

The Clear top film should be fully bonded to the White film after ironing.  The ink will be sealed in between.
After cooling the map can be peeled from the two sheets of paper.
After removal of the two sheets of paper, any ragged edge from film overlap mis-match, can be trimmed with scissors.

Tips to improve map quality

By nature liquids do not adhere well to plastic.  Printer Ink is no exception; it does not absorb into the plastic like paper.  It sits on the surface and "beads-up" due to liquid surface tension.
These maps only becomes permanent after the Clear plastic film has been bonded over the printed surface.

Reiterated below are, important tips to minimize ink migration and improve map legibility:

1. Have the clear plastic peeled and ready before printing.  Ironing the Clear plastic top film should occur imediatly after printing.  The longer the printed map waits around before being sealed with the top layer, the more time the ink has to bead-up and/or smear.

2. Do not move the Clear film when placing it on the printed surface for ironing.  Try not to adjust or shift the clear film when placing it on the freshly printed map.  Moving the top film over the printed surface, prior to ironing, will drag and smear the floating, still liquid, ink.

3. Print using Draft mode.  Higher quality print settings will deposit more ink on the plastic. This is not good.  Larger quantities of ink will increase liquid beading and smearing.

4. Print in Black and White.  Color maps can be made, as shown, however color ink (at least the ink used here) is much more water soluble; tending to bead the most, and smear the easiest before the Clear top film is applied.  Large fields of color ink will look messy and blurred.  Black ink is more stable and remains more defined; it migrates less.

5. Choose maps without fine details or small fonts.  As mentioned earlier, this process will produce a quick ready reference map that is waterproof however, not a perfect quality master map. Due to the liquid ink and plastic interaction when printed, some amount of ink beading is inevitable.  For the most part this is not a problem;  as well defined routes and details will be clear.  Smaller fine details/fonts however, may be difficult to discern.
Totally brilliant, it only happened to me just once, gonna try this next vacation trip!
mt4b3n3 years ago
Hey, great tutorial... Though I wonder what's wrong with buying laser- or inkjet-compatible synthetic paper and printing directly onto that? I'm sure you've thought of that, just wondering if you have any advantages in your technique (besides the fun of doing it, of course!).

Also, how well does your map react to being repeatedly folded and refolded?