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How would i harden printer ink to stand up to lots of handling (on a plastic-type substance)? Answered

Hello fellow instructable'r,

I have been trying to make my own custom guitar picks and, so far, have been extremely surprised with my results. First, i wondered if it was possible for a guitar pick to even run through my printer (regular load in front, print to front) without jamming it. I found out that i could. Then, i tried printing a NIN (Nine Inch Nails) logo on it and it worked. My only problem is that i can't get the ink to dry and become durable enough to let me touch it and not take ink off/ make fingerprints on it. For now, i have put tape over the side i printed on, but is there any way that you know of that i can make the ink more permanent? I was thinking of maybe using clear coat spray or that clear top coat for nail polish. Just so you guys know, i used a yellow dunlop tortex .73mm pick.



As Caitlinsdad mentions, using the transfer sheets normally used for t-shirts, allow you to print on the one side, which then gets ironed onto the shirt with the ink faced inwards. If you have a program for printing such transfers, it will reverse the image so you don't have to, so that when you apply it, it is oriented correctly. Of course, you wouldn't want to iron your picks, so maybe closer to a decal type of transfer would be better....oh, I see gmoon already suggested that too...sorry

How would i do something like a decal, though? I don't really have any problem ironing on my picks, but i've done something like that before for a puzzle, and it even chipped then. i'm just wondering if it would stand up to any playing at all.

Hmm, yeah, I was wondering about that myself....even if you didn't go out to the edge with it, it may still wear off quickly ...

I guess for now i'm stuck with just having picks that look good that i cant touch! haha. At least they look cool

Yes, without some sort of lamentation or maybe having them laser etched and then printed on (it might hold a wee bit better, but not guaranteed to ;-)

I think the problem is that most ink-jet printers are some kind of water-based ink formulation where the dyes or light pigments will just dry on top of the plastic pick. Unless it dyes the plastic and you can't change the formulation of the ink-jet cartridge or react the ink with something permanent - maybe you can it wouldn't really adhere to the pick and stand up to use. Maybe try an iron-on inkjet T-shirt transfer to a pick. At least you have a more durable solid transfer that may work. Otherwise, a clear coat of any sort would work but it changes the feel of the pick. I've never tried but maybe get a printable CD, and cut a pick out of that. Good luck.

Thanks for all of the input, but wouldn't i need to get some sort of specialized printer for a printable cd? as far as i know, i can't use my current printer for that.

Some inkjets have a carrier tray like the single sheet feed, I'm not sure which models but they do make dedicated expensive mass CD/DVD printers. How about using a regular laminator to embed the printed stuff but also have some sort of stiffener plastic sheet part to make a custom pick. It may not wear too well though.

You could get a clear, spray on glaze from a crafts store.


9 years ago

Have you tried inkjet waterslide decals? (google it, you'll find lots of info and products)

Many DIY guitar FX and amp builders use them for graphics, lettering, dial scales, etc... Usually a few coats of clear are added to "fix" the decal once it's applied.