Reveal and conceal, Stage 2, Workshop 9, Paper laminates

14 March 2016

Having just completed the assignment on screen printing, I was keen to give this workshop a go. I started with a series of test samples designed to help me learn the techniques and the effects which can be achieved.

SAMPLE PL1: Inkjet printed tree photo and newspaper on organza and voile

What I learnt from these samples: All types of sheer synthetic worked well and gave similar results. The newspaper gave a bold image whilst the inkjet printout was more faded in appearance.

I wanted to determine how newspaper and inkjet printed paper would appear when laminated with different sheer synthetics. I used three different fabrics (pinned to my workbench), under which I placed the papers that I wanted to laminate. I placed a silk screen over the fabric and applied Liquidex matt acrylic medium to the entire surface using a squidgee. 

Above: SAMPLE PL1a) Matt polyester organza

Above: SAMPLE PL1b) Sparkly polyester organza

Above: SAMPLE PL1c) polyester voile.

All three fabrics gave similar results, with the colours of the newspaper image being bolder than the inkjet image. Although the newspaper cutting lamination was similar, the tree image (identical printout for each) was lightest with polyester voile lamination and brightest with the sparkly organza.

The process worked well with no problems with getting either image to adhere to the fabric, and removal of the paper was straightforward.


SAMPLE PL2: Masking tape with polyester voile and inkjet printout

What I learnt from this sample: The masking paper was a very effective stencil, although the inkjet printout gave a poor, barely discernible image.

I used an image from my Grandmother photo collection for this sample. My grandmother has passed away and neither myself nor my father know who is in the photograph. This image may be all that is left of their memory, but they are anonymous. I thought it was a suitable image to use because it exposes the fragility and transience of the marks that we leave on earth during our lives.

I started my making a screen up with masking paper stencil strips, and I prepared the image and fabric as described for sample 1.

The image below is of the printout before the lamination process, which was complete using the same technique as sample 1.

After the lamination process (below) you can see that the selective application of the acrylic medium has meant that the lamination was fragmented, with the image not being transferred in areas shielded by the masking paper stencil. 

Although the process worked well and the stencil worked as I expected, I was disappointed that the resulting image was extremely pale – so much so that it was difficult to make out the subject matter.  


SAMPLE PL3: Inkjet printout strips, polyester voile

What I learnt from this sample: This method gives unattractive results due to acrylic medium being deposited in the areas where there is no paper. As for sample 3, the inkjet printout gave a lamination which was pale and bleached in appearance.

Instead of using a mask or stencil to selectively apply the acrylic medium with a screen, this method relies on strips of paper being laid underneath the fabric, then the acrylic medium being applied to the whole surface (I also used a screen to ensure even coverage).

The result is shown below:


The lamination has worked well and the torn paper has given an interesting effect. However, what you can’t see in the photo is that acrylic medium has left messy marks in the spaces where there is no paper. It looks similar to clear glue, and it has the effect of blocking the screen mesh – all in all a very untidy, unattractive result.


SAMPLE PL4: Cobweb spray screen, polyester voile, inkjet printout

What I learnt from this sample: A fractured image could not be created when using the cobweb spray screen to apply acrylic medium. Again the inkjet printout resulted in an extremely pale lamination.

I thought I would use the cobweb spray screen (see below) to selectively apply acrylic medium. The aim or producing a fractured image.


Once again I used the wedding photograph.

The results are very disappointing because the acrylic medium was just ran under the cobweb screen and laminated the whole paper. Also the image is once again pale.


SAMPLE PL5: Mourning scene (inkjet printout) with newspaper cuttings, polyester voile

What I learnt from this sample: The inkjet printout of the photograph was extremely poor when laminated and was completely overwhelmed by the boldness of the newspaper cuttings. They did not work together.

I wanted to reinforce the sadness and quiet reflection of the mourning scene in my photograph (a graveside image) with the introduction of text and flowers.

Once again the inkjet printout is indiscernible and there is a mismatch with the bold images from the newspaper lamination.


SAMPLES PL6: Newsprint stencil, with paper lamination onto polyester voile

What I learnt from these samples: The stencil worked well, except where the pieces were extremely small and themselves became laminated to the acrylic medium. The magazine paper gave much better results than the inkjet printout.

SAMPLE PL6a) Inkjet printout

I used a stencil of a leaf in positive and negative image which was laid onto the fabric before playing acrylic matt medium to the entire surface using a screen.

The results for this lamination were disappointing because of the colour degradation of the image, and also because the very small stencil pieces were not picked up but the screen, so instead, stuck and laminated themselves to the fabric surface!

SAMPLE PL6b): Magazine paper

The same screen and stencil was used as in sample 6a) (which meant that the very small pieces were not present). I chose a magazine image of a tree covered hilltop, so the image fitted well with the subject of the stencil.

This is a lovely result which echoes the subtle tonal variation of Autumn leaves. I am pleased with the process and the result.


A note on inkjet printouts – reading this blog you might wonder why I did not learn from the poor results with the inkjet printouts after so many samples! The reason is because samples 2-6 were worked in a batch, and it was only after they were all processed that I realised I had a technical issue.


SAMPLES PL7: Inkjet printout, different papers, sparkly polyester organza

What I learnt from this sample: The quality of printer paper made little difference to the results of the lamination. The pale images must be due to the printer ink.

I printed out two identical photographs on the inkjet printer, one on premium paper (which I had been using for samples 1-7), and the other on the ‘value’ paper. I chose the mourning image because it had given the worst (palest) results of all the samples. I used the sparkly polyester organza, because in my controlled experiments at sample 1, it had given the boldest results of all the fabrics.

SAMPLE PL7a) Value paper

SAMPLE PL7b) Premium paper

There is little to choose between the images, with both giving poor results. If anything the value paper is slightly better (a darker, more discernible image).


SAMPLE PL8: Inkjet printout and colour photocopy on sparkly organza

What I learnt from this sample: Colour photocopies give excellent colour and image definition. Inkjet printouts with my printer/ink combination should be avoided.

I wanted to reaffirm the findings of samples 7 by comparing the same image laminated from a colour photocopy and inkjet printout. The only colour photocopy I have was of one of the buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and which had been left over from my screen printing assignment.

As the colour photocopy image was very true to the original, I have not included it hear for reasons of copyright. However, the inkjet printout once again appeared pale and washed out (it appeared that the colours had run during the process). This proved my theory.

As the inkjet printout laminations were pale to the point of being barely discernible, I cannot foresee a situation where I would ever use them in a lamination project.


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