A recent Explore. Create. Make it Great. visitor asked a question about my last Pronto Plate tutorial that I couldn’t immediately answer. I always heat set digital prints simply by running them through the printer a second time. If you don’t want to mess with your printer, you can heat set in an oven, with a heat gun, or on a hot plate. I tend to draw into images with Sharpies and china markers because I always have them lying around and they are so easy to use. You just draw on the plate, ink it up, and run it through the press. Joanna wanted to know whether litho crayons had to be heat set and I hated that I couldn’t confidently answer her question. I decided to test a whole range of supplies and the above image (1st test) happened.
The two obvious problems were that the Sharpie pen (not to be confused with Sharpie marker), and litho crayon began to break down with the first run through the press. I decided to test a few other materials before heading to the kitchen.
For the second test I sprayed some paint through a paper stencil and then scribbled around it with liquid acrylic. I love the misty halo effect from the spray paint. No heat required there. The acrylic stuck in some places and wrapped around my brayer in others. I may not have given the acrylic long enough to cure before printing, but I moved it over to my heat test list anyway.
Test #3 involved a few quick scribbles with paint markers. I was impressed by how easily they took to the etching ink. No heat needed there either.
After a few more scribble tests I came up with two lists:
Materials that usually need to be heat set before printing a Pronto Plate include: (Try placing plate on tin foil in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes or so. If you do this often, you should not use the same oven that you use for food)
I hear that you can also add laser toner to water to make a wash, but I have not tried this yet. A toner wash would need to be heat set.
Materials that usually do NOT need to be heat set before printing a Pronto Plate include:
*Please note, the above list is a result of my personal experiments. You should always run your own tests before committing to a large project. Happy printing!