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CLEAR FILM that is archival, pigment inkjet compatible, and in of itself can be a final product? Is there such a thing? Answered

problem: I've been calling art stores as well as photography stores, paper stores, film manufacturers, printer companies -- nobody seems to know if there is such a thing as printing onto clear plastic film as a final product. Everyone says their products are meant for transferring or negatives etc. (I tried printing on non-coated Mylar D, and the ink just beads off.)

goal: What I have been creating are art pieces on clear transfer film and selling them. I print on them, I paint on them, I apply reflective & dichroic materials on them, and layer them on top of each other; I manipulate the art pieces in every interesting way I possibly can. My collectors and potential clients want to be assured that my pieces will have a long lasting quality to them. I want to be able to give all of the correct information rather than "I don't know".

my materials: I use a canon ipf8400 with archival fine art pigment inks. I just need a clear film that is also archival. Or something as close as possible to being the most durable, long lasting material available that is inkjet compatible. There has to be something out there? Or at least a protective clear spray or finish? I can't be the only one interested in creating artwork with transparent qualities? I have been using transfer film, 4ml thick. Does anyone have any tips at all to help me think in the right direction? 

question: Is there such a thing as a Clear Film that is archival, pigment inkjet compatible, and in of itself can be a final product? Or what is the closest I can possibly get to that?


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1 year ago

as explained by Downunder35m, the inkjet compatible transparent sheets have one or more layers of coating to act as an ink receiver.
The manufacturers, of course, do not disclosure their coating formulations but a search through google patents gives you good clues on that.
I have tried my homemade formulation and I obtained satisfactory results with a swellable coating made from the following main components:
- Regular colorless gelatin;
- Chitosan.

The gelatin is the same you can eat in cakes and puddings and the Chitosan is a obtained after some reactions of Chitin with something else. The later is usually obtained from Crab Shells.

In order to be able to mix Chitosan with the gelatin, the prior has to be well ground as fine as possible and then dissolved in some acid solution (malic or acetic acid).

Besides these two components, you can add the following:
- UV protection components;
- Humectants (these components reduce the surface tension and allow the mixture to better wet the substrate surface)
- Biocides.

I hope this gives you some directions for tinkering and eventually finding a solution which will allow you to print on any plastic you choose and not only on the one available in the market.




3 years ago

We are in the same boat almost.
You need this:probably the most archival.
Pictorico TPS100, Ultra Premium Over Head Projector Transparency Inkjet Film, 184gsm,5.7mil., 42"x65.6' Roll with 2" Core
I have used smaller sheets of this for fine art transparent work.
Its about as archival as needed.

Inkpress makes some clear film, I have not used it. There is duratrans, slightly opaque.

Moab desert Varnish to protect print .
I cant see any visual signs of a coat with this. Maybe on super glossy prints, which I dont do anyway.

for regular clear film, you will need to treat transparency
DIGITAL GROUND for Non Porous Surfaces

Dont use any solvents around these medias and the printer.
Hope this helps.


5 years ago

Maybe this?


Use a Color Laser printer (or any copying shop) to print your Design onto a Overhead Transparency !

Just be sure to mirror the design so when you look at it through the protective plastic it will look right. You will then need to glue something to the back of it to keep the toner from scraping off. Maybe use two sheets and some clear glue for see throuh?


5 years ago

I go against my usual judgement here and assume this is a real question and not the first step of a spam round.

Printing on tansparent film is no problem anymore with ink jets.
But as you already noticed it is next to impossible to find information on the product itself in terms of UV stability, staying soft and flexible or discoloration.
Photo paper is often the best choice for a long lasting impression but useless as you need it to be transparent.

A bit of background info:
The foil consists of several layers.
1. The actual foil.
2. A layer to bond to a semi "soakable" material.
3. The soakable layer to take the ink.
4. A finnishing layer that partially bond with the ink to help fixing it place.

In most cases you can see and feel the "right" side as is a bit rough and looks less glossy.
Check the transperacy films made by HP and maybe contact them in regards to expected life time.

In my days of daily experiments I tried glass sheets with mixed results.
One of my rinters had a drawer for printing on DVD's directly and I misused it to feed thin glass shetts into the printer.
The actual print medium on it was several layers of gum arabic solution as used for making your own acrylic paint.
Gum arabic dissolves good in water but very bad in alcohol, so not every ink worked as expected as the alcohol based ones would not soak into the gum.
But it might be worth a test on your end, even if you just try a drop directly from the ink tank with a paint brush.