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Using your color printer to print on model airplane tissue
I saw this technique on a number of websites and finally asked Paul Bradley in Houston about the technique. Here is his helpful reply. For your color printer, inkjet printer, or laser printer.

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The process of printing on tissue is pretty simple. As you have suggested, do use a backing sheet. I have found, though, that it is a good idea to have the tissue held to the backing sheet over the entire surface. I initially simply taped it to the edge of the backing sheet that is fed into the printer. The printing process wets the tissue and causes it to expand slightly. This causes the tissue to pucker and come in contact the the print head. Streaking and the occasional tear can result. My preferred method for attaching the tissue to the backing sheet is to use 3M Photo Mount spray adhesive. I spray a light coat on the backing sheet. The backing sheet is then stuck to a piece of cardboard. The sheet is peeled off and the process repeated several times. This gets rid of excess tack. The tissue is then applied to the backing sheet and smoothed out. After printing, the tissue is easy to peel off of the backing sheet.

When printing use the setting on your printer that uses the least amount of ink. This may be called the draft or economy mode. Too much ink will cause the edges to bleed where colors come together. Also, if your printer supports a straight through paper path, use that option. The process works fine when the paper path goes through a bend, but a straight through path option just reduces the risk of the tissue separating from the backing sheet during the printing process. One more comment. Many current inkjet printers support banner printing. I use this option to print larger pieces such as those used on a wing half. Just cut your tissue in a 81/2" strip and select the banner mode. This will allow you to print a strip 81/2" wide by the width of your tissue sheet long .

Don't forget that inkjet ink is not water proof. It takes dope with no problem, but does not like water. That also includes drug store alcohol since it is mostly water. If you want to shrink printed tissue it needs to be sealed first. I use a very thin clear dope mixture to do this. I use 1 part dope to 9 parts thinner. Cover the model normally. After covering, brush or spray on the thin dope mixture. When dry you can spray on a light mist of water. Wet the tissue but avoid puddeling water. The tissue will shrink just fine and the ink will not run. Have fun developing great looking models with inkjet printed tissue. Paul Bradley - Houston, Texas

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My test print
Needed a new tail set on my prairie bird model airplane because they warped after the tissue shrank. My test is a bit different but follows pretty close to the note from Paul. I like the way the color is a bit faded by using the economy mode on the printer. With a graphics program like photoshop you can "airbrush" any detail into your models paint scheme (smoke streaks behind wing cannons and exhaust pipes, etc..) Printer labels.

Here is a good spray mount I found at my art supply store. I used a smooth card stock as my backer paper for added stability.
I pre-shrank my tissue with water and let it dry, twice. Then a quick spritz of the spray mount to the backer sheet. Let it set and then smooth on the tissue, working out wrinkles and bubbles.
I hung the printed sheet on a rod and sealed it with a single coat of spray dope.
Mounted and drying, these are not going to warp!
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