Archive | May, 2008

How do napkins get printed

17 May
  1. I get a lot of questions about printing napkins. Basically what can be printed, how many characters per line, and can a person have their own art incorporated. Hopefully this will answer some of the questions. There are numerous printing machines for napkins, the printing process is called hot stamping, because it uses heat to transfer an image onto a napkin or ribbon.
  2. This is a hot stamping machine, there are a lot of different types of machines, but for napkin printing they are mostly manual machines with a lever to be pulled or a foot pedal if it is slightly automated
  3. This is the printing plate that pre-fabricated metal letters and emblems are lined up one at a time to create the wording necessary for customer’s specifications
  4. These are  metal letters and pre-fabricated emblems that manufacturers have in stock, there are different fonts available and printers invest in numerous emblems for specific occasions
  5. These letters were lined up one at a time with 24 point font and it takes up 3/4 of the printing plate, the longest line has 20 characters including spacers, and this particular set up has 3 lines, which does not leave much room for an emblem, to fit a larger emblem, the set up would have to be done with 2 lines or smaller font, fonts are available in various sizes and most printers have a small variety of fonts due to cost of each set of pre-fabricated letters.  This is why it is difficult to ask for a font pulled out of a computer, they do exist, but the printer might not have it availalbe because of the cost associated with purchasing sets of fonts
  6. Now the printing plate gets turned down towards the table, a transfer tape gets inserted into the machine and a lever is pulled. The machine is heated to approximately 240-260 degrees and when the lever is pulled down the metal letters press against the transfer tape, and the transfer tape presses against the napkin and the image gets transferred
  7. This is the final product, the transfer tape left a silver image on the napkin, silver transfer tape was used.  Custom images can be done, but there is a cost attached to the custom plate.  It gets send out to an ingraver and an image form a provided artwork gets ingraved into a metal plate, most printers do not do the engravings, they send out to have them done, a simple 2″ x 2″ custom plate costs anywhere from $35.00-$50.00 depending on the engraver and difficulty of the project. Hot stamping napkins by manual machines get printed only in one color because the set up is transfered by one color transfer tape. 2 colors can be done but at that point the napkin would have to be printed twice, once with one color and then a new set up would have to be made for the next color, the problem with such a print is that napkins get lined up manually for printing and it would be almost impossible to line up a printed napkin for the next color
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Graduation

4 May
  1. To create a graduation centerpiece I used the following items: 1 small 7″ paper plate (any color), 6″ Styrofoam circle, 26 metallic 9″x9″ squares (tissue can be used, but you must double them up) 12 pins with heads, hot glue gun, 24 gauge arts and crafts wire, 2 gold stars onion grass picks and 1 graduation hat stick.
  2. fold all 4 corners of the sqares to the top, pinch the center, use 5 inches of the pre-cut wire and fold in half, twist around the pinched end and keep twisting to the end, cut the wire with scissors or wire cutters at 1.25″ length. If you are using 2 colors you will need 12 in one color and 12 in another color, I am suding metalic gold and metalic navy blue
  3. I used the 9 inch paper plate as a stand to give the centerpiece a little extra height. First I wrapped the styrofoam disc in paper and used the pis to secure it, this is just so the white of the styrofoam does not shine thru, I glued the covered styrofoam disc to the bottom of the plate.
  4. Now I inserted the wired tips of the pre-made squares into the covered disc, the spacing is about .75″ to 1 inch, I used 16 pcs on the first layer, and then to make it fuller and taller I created a 2nd layer. I inserted 8 pcs of folded squares about an 1 inch from the middle, leavinf the center for the final part of the centerpiece.
  5. I used 2 stems of metallic gold onion grass with stars and a plastic graduation stick, then I wired all the pcs together and cut the stems to 1.25 inches. Next I cut a hole in a center of 2 pcs of the 9 inch squares (one of each color) and inserted the cut stem thru the center, I scrunched the paper around the stems and wired again to create a little puff.
  6. I poked a hole in the center of the styrofoam to make room for the 3 wired stems but first filled it with hot glue to make sure it stays put. That completed the centerpiec. The final size of the creation is 15 inches in diameter and 14 inches tall