By Christina VanGinkel
If you have ever wanted to place a title or image on a layout, but the layout was of a size that it would not fit in your printer, or you had wanted to use a rub-on, but could not find the one you wanted, make your own! If you have a computer with an inkjet printer, a simple graphics program or word processor, and a blank transparency, all you need to do is add a popsicle stick to the mix and you will have everything you need to make your own transparencies whenever and of whatever you want.
The process is actually quite simple. Basically, you print on the wrong side, or glossy side, of a transparency in reverse, allow to dry thoroughly, and apply the same as you would any other rub-on.
For those of you, who need a bit more direction, follow along and before you know it, you will be making all the transparencies you could ever need or want.
NOTE: I have heard that this same process will work in a laser printer, but I have not tried it so cannot vouch for that process. I would recommend to those who wish to try it with their laser printer, to be sure that they only use a transparency sheet that is made for a laser printer, as a laser printer becomes warm and the wrong transparency could melt, ruining your printer.
Pick up a pack of transparencies that are made for use in an inkjet printer. Next, in a graphics program or word processing program such as Microsoft word, choose or design your title or graphic. This can be color or black. For the first couple that you make, I would recommend that you choose a somewhat simple design just for the sake of ease when applying it to your layout or project that you plan to use it on.
Once you have your title or graphic ready on screen, determine if your printer has a reverse printing option, otherwise you will need to flip the title or graphic in the program it was made in. If you do not flip it or print it in reverse through the printer setting, any text you print will be backwards when applied. Reversing a graphic might not be an issue, especially if the graphic is symmetrical from the front or back, but if you plan to make many of your own rub-ons, it might be best to get in the habit of reversing or flipping them all, so you do not forget this step when it is important.
Be sure your printer's print quality is set to its highest or best setting. This will assure that an optimum amount of ink is applied during the printing process and will guarantee that the finished rub-on will be as good a quality as you could make.
Once you have double-checked the image or text is flipped or will be printed in reverse and the print quality is set to the highest level, place your transparency in your printer wrong side up. A transparency consists of two sides, one a bit rougher than the other. This would normally be the side you would print on, but not when you are making your own rub-ons. You will want to print on the smooth side.
When it comes out of the printer, be sure you do not touch the text or image as it will be wet and will stay wet much longer than you would think. Avoid touching it, as it will smear quite easily. If you hold the transparency on its edge and look at it, you will be able to see the wetness, To check it for dryness, look at it the same way as tempting as it might be to touch it to check it for dryness. Place it somewhere to dry where it will not fall to the floor or risk having anything set on it by accident.
Once it is dry, apply it face down where you want to use it, and with the rounded edge of the popsicle stick, rub the backside of the transparency until it is moved from the transparency to the paper. Wipe the transparency clean, and it can be reused many times.