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Try the "Toner Transfer Paper" by Pulsar, is great stuff. The blue film is no good.
About etchant: don't spend time trying everything. The best, that is used by the machines and also works great at home, is a 30 to 40% solution of Nitric Acid. It is also easy to dispose, just dissolve it with abundant water and hit the drain. Use a small fan to disperse the irritant fumes.
Right after etching, I spray with Shellac, it will take solder at any time, and it's a great flux.
I find that th easiest way is to use a hot air PVC soldering iron that has no temperature control. You find the best combination of temperature and airflow that will melt and blow away the solder. Piece of cake.
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