Author: John

Tips for Icing Printers and Frosting Sheets

I bought an icing printer last year. It hasn’t all been rainbows and lollipops, but it has been enjoyable. Here are some examples of cookies I’ve baked with it:

First, let’s have a look at the printer. You can either buy a printer created specifically for icing printing, such as the one sold here, or you can buy a NEW printer that is compatible with the food coloring “ink” cartridges. (You may see a list of those printers here.)
I purchased an Epson WorkForce 30 printer from the list of compatible printers. (I bought it on Amazon.)

Let’s talk about “ink” next. Food coloring cartridges are, to put it mildly, pricey. Find the edible ink you require by looking through the list of compatible printers.

My printer’s ink costs $90. It’s $90! How long is it going to last? Well, that is debatable. It depends on the images printed and how much ink is wasted cleaning nozzles, performing print checks, and so on. I guess that a full set of ink will last 30-40 pages.

I’ve discovered that the greatest tip for ink is to replenish it with these ink refills. They’re $10 per color, and they’re great to have on hand if you run out of magenta, and your printer won’t work without it.

Filling the tanks can be a pain, and I won’t pretend to know any tricks other than batting your eyelids and hoping your husband will take over. It was effective for me.

Preparing for printing:

Scan or save your photo to your computer. Crop it to the size of your cookie cutter using picture editing software (I like PhotoScape). Viewing the image at 100% and holding your cookie cutter up to the screen is the easiest method to achieve this. I try to make my photos slightly smaller than the cutter’s actual size.

Fill a Word or Open Office document with as many photographs as you can. I usually get 6 cookies on each sheet, but you’ll get more if your cookies are smaller. The icing sheets offer a 7.5 x 10″ printing area.

BEFORE PRINTING:

  • Perform a nozzle inspection on the printer.
  • Run the print head cleaning if any colors aren’t printing (you may need to run it twice).
  • Turn off the printer, remove the specific color, and swab the nozzle with a moist QTip if one of the colors is still not printing.
  • On a blank sheet of paper, print a test page. (You can terminate the print job once you see that it is printing correctly to avoid wasting ink.)

Print the image or images onto the icing sheet now.

The sheets can be applied in a variety of ways. (I’m not talking about cakes here; I’m just talking about cookies.)

I find that if the sheets have “aged” a little after printing, they are a little simpler to work with. However, when I attempted to utilize them right away, I experienced tearing issues. This could be because I reside in a very humid place, but I’m not sure.

So, if I’m going to use them straight away, I leave them out on the counter for at least 15 minutes to dry off. If you keep them out for too long, they will become brittle. I keep them in a gallon-sized container if I do not intend to use them right away. Then, before using them, I’ll trim them to the appropriate size and set them aside while preparing the cookies.

Method #1 (my favorite): Cut the photos to the desired size and set them aside. Royal icing should be used to outline and fill the cookie. Remove the backing from the frosting sheet and gently place it on the cookie while the icing is still wet. Pat down the edges and corners. It could take up to 48 hours for this to dry.

Method #2 (for these St. Patrick’s Day cookies, I used this method): Prepare the photographs by cutting them to the desired size and setting them aside. Using water, loosen the royal icing to a piping consistency. It shouldn’t be runny, but it should be easy to spread. Remove the backing from the image and apply the loosened icing on the back. Stick to the cookie’s instructions. These take less time to dry because the icing isn’t as wet underneath. (When you don’t want to add or see a border, I favor this option.)

Brushing corn syrup on the back of the image and applying it to a dried cookie is method #3. This strategy hasn’t worked for me yet. The corn syrup appeared to shred and stretch the sheets, and those that didn’t tear felt sticky to the touch.

A couple more suggestions….

Images can be torn apart by “hot hands.” My hands are always cold, except while I’m decorating cookies. If this happens to you, immediately wash your hands in very cold water and thoroughly dry them. As needed, repeat the process. I’ll also remove the ice pack for the kid’s lunchbox from the freezer and keep it for a bit.
Finishing the cookies with a piped or powdered edge is a great technique to disguise any uneven edges. A #16-star tip is one of my favorites!
To avoid ink clogging, use your printer once a week, even if you don’t need to.
Before packaging, wait at least 24 hours. To check if the image is dry, gently tap it.
Never use real ink in your icing printer.
Now, here’s the actual question: would I buy another one? I’m not certain. It’s convenient to have, but troubleshooting hasn’t been enjoyable.

If you don’t have access to an icing printer but still want to make the icing,

Here’s how to use images printed on icing sheets. Format your photos and bring them to your local bakery supply business on an SD card or flash drive (or even the grocery store). Call beforehand, but they can almost certainly print for you! The cost of a sheet of pastry at our bakery supplier is around $7.

How to Improve Your Print Design

With these suggestions, I wish to assist new designers in their pursuit of improved print design. The advice applies to all types of print design, whether a brochure, a poster, or a logo. The following is in no particular order.

  1. Do not forget to bleed
    The bleed is the portion of the document on the left side that allows your printer to maneuver around paper and design imperfections. The printer will use whatever you toss at them, regardless of the restrictions on their website. A safe standard for the work is a 3mm bleed on all sides.

InDesign’s settings are right there in the new file dialogue… but they’re buried! Before they become visible, you must use the more options button. You can find them in the file > document setup dialogue if you already have a document open. More information can be found in the article What is Bleed.

1. It’s entertaining to overprint.

Do you have a budget that only allows you to use two Pantone(PMS) colors? It’s no problem—experiment with overprinting options to create a more dimensional look with a limited color palette.

You can even work with only two Pantone colors if you work in duotone or monotone.

2. Consider alternatives to the paper

If you aim for the wider vision, the human mind will fill in the gaps. You are using the border of your paper as another tool to work with, maybe a lot of fun.

This isn’t the end-all solution to all of your design issues. It should assist you in seeing that your labor does not cease at the paper’s edge.

3. Paper size guidelines are useful, but don’t let them limit your creativity.

Square booklets, for example, provide a more engaging reading experience, while smaller ones (such as A5) are considerably easier to transport. Take a break from the normal A4 and try something new.

4. People enjoy reading.

In contrast to several recent designers, I still believe that form follows function. In print design, this indicates that you should focus on the content if you’re working on something with textual material.

You should incorporate typography into your design, but you should always strive for maximum readability.

5. Content quantity: less is greater.

If you have the impression that there is too much information on your page, you are correct. Define what is truly necessary and eliminate visual clutter. Less is more, as cliched as it may sound. Tell the customer if they are forcing you to squeeze too much content onto a single page.

6. Follow the grid.

Working with grids is essential for successful design. Based on its proportional relationships, composition principles for the foundation of your plan are a smart concept.

Don’t always stick to the traditional three-column layout. A 7-column configuration allows for a lot of fun options… Two-column layouts, a 3/3/1 layout with a sidebar, and so on…

7. Typography reigns supreme.

No amount of lines or other elements will make up for a lousy typographical layout. The typefaces you use the most in your project give it a voice: don’t just pick the first font you like; consider what voice it should have and how to express it to your target audience. The simplest well-designed typefaces, such as Helvetica, Swiss, or Akzidenz Grotesk, can save you from the worst typographic horror scenarios.

It takes time to become familiar with a font. Pick a selection of 5 to 8 fonts that you believe will work for you and focus on those. That’s also a fantastic method to see which fonts go well together and which don’t.

8. Reverse

Do you want to make a quotation or a logo stand out more? Invert the situation. White on black (or any dark hue for that matter) always adds strength to any design or typography.

How to troubleshoot a printer for the most common issues

Printer technology hasn’t progressed all that much. We have 3D printers, but their advancement hasn’t made it easier to use a regular home printer. A print job is still handled in much the same way it was a decade ago, and printer problems have remained relatively unchanged.

Basic printer fixes to troubleshoot

An offline printer is a printer that won’t work normally. It’s installed on your machine, but it’s not ready to receive a print job right now. You can’t see it on your PC, but if it were available, you could send a print job to it right away without having to install drivers or set up the printer.

Your printer may cause the issue, or it could be a system issue. For the most part, we’ll focus on the printer in this post, with a few software/OS fixes thrown in for good measure.

1. Verify that the printer is ready to print.

Examine your printer; it should have a light that shows that it is ready to accept a print job. There’s a problem with your printer if the light isn’t on. Perform the following tests:

  • Ensure that the paper tray is fully loaded and that the paper is pushed back so that the printer’s sensor detects the presence of paper.
  • Make sure that none of the panels are partially open and that none of them are closed. Examine the printer thoroughly to ensure that no doors are even slightly ajar.
  • Check that no hardware components are missing; a printer has a lot of little pieces on its outside, and if one of them is missing or incorrectly installed, the printer will not be ready to receive a print job.
  • Check to see whether the printer has a functional button; generally, when you switch on a printer, you would hear it warm up the toner. This indicates that the printer is operational.
  • Check the printer for blinking lights; these signal that something is wrong with it, such as a panel is open, the paper is stuck, the printer is out of ink, and so on.
  • A test page can be printed using an on-board button on some printers. If your printer has one, press it to see if it prints a test page.

2. Examine the printer cords

Ensure that the printer’s cords are securely attached. Examine them for any damage, such as a torn cable or rust at the connection points. Change the wire connecting your printer to your Windows 10 computer.

3. Examine the printer’s on/off switch.

A physical On/Off switch was found on some printers. It should generally be around where the printer’s power cable connects, but check the entire device to see whether one exists. Check to see if it’s switched on.

4. Disinfect the printer

To clean the printer, use a soft cloth. Use a hairdryer on low settings to blow dust away from hard-to-reach areas using cool air. If dust blocks a printer’s sensors, it may not enter its ready state and appear offline, or a light on the printer may continue to flicker, indicating a problem.

5. Make sure there are no paper clogs.

Examine the machine for paper jams and remove any paper that is stuck within. A paper jam is difficult to dislodge, so check your printer’s manual to learn which panels may be opened to free a jammed sheet of paper. It’s important to remember that a printer doesn’t need to be jammed with a complete sheet of paper. A ripped and left-inside-the-printer little part will be just as problematic.

6. Remove and reinstall the printer

The offline printer problem is frequently resolved by uninstalling and reinstalling a printer. It will also assist you in determining whether or not your system detects the printer at all.

  • Open the Settings app on your phone.
  • Go to the Devices tab.
  • Printers and scanners should be chosen.
  • Select the printer you’re trying to print with from the list of installed printers.
  • Remove the device by clicking the Remove button.
  • Remove the printer from your computer.
  • Disconnect the printer from the power supply.
  • Wait a few minutes before reconnecting the printer to a power source.
  • Join the printer on your computer.
  • It will be detected by Windows 10, and drivers will be installed.
  • Attempt to print something.

7. Restart the application

You should also restart the app you’re using to send a print job if you discovered the printer tray wasn’t loaded correctly or a panel on it was open, and the problem has been resolved. It’s possible that the app won’t detect a change in the printer’s ready state in advance.

8. Switch USB ports

Although an old printer will operate with a new Windows 10 machine, it may not work with all USB connections. Locate your system’s composite port and attach the printer to it. This is usually the charging port, and a lightning symbol is occasionally displayed next to it. Try all of your system’s USB ports to see if the printer connects if you’re not sure.

Conclusion

Printers, regardless of brand or model, experience issues from time to time. It’s a good idea to maintain a printer plugged in at all times so that the toner never dries out and the printer can heat it regularly. It’s also a good idea to keep the printer’s handbook on hand. It will assist you in repairing jams and identifying other issues.