Bullseye Decals

So I recently started playing with these Bullseye Decals for glass fusing. It was a pretty steep learning curve and I ruined some decent glass along the way, so I decided to document the process that I came up with for fusing these.

Considerations

There are a number of things you need to consider that will dramatically change the quality of print.

Printer

You need a LASER JET (and not an ink jet). Laser printers use toner. Toner contains iron. The iron is what leaves the sepia color in the glass when everything else burns off.

Not all laser jet printers are created equal. The first time I did this I used the laser printer at work, fused the glass, and everything just washed right off. D’oh!

I did a lot of research online and finally bought this one: HP Laserjet Pro M118dw Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer.

Its wireless, costs around $130, and is a pretty compact size to just fit on a desk. It comes with toner, but if you need more make sure to get the HP cartridges CF294A and not some substitute as the replacement cartridges often don’t have as much iron in the toner. I HIGHLY recommend this printer as a it’s been an amazing workhorse for me.

There are some printer tips that will help you get the best quality out of your prints.

  1. Turn up the darkness so that the printer is printing more ink. Once the printer is on the network, head over to the printer configuration page (that should work for you) and select the “Print” Tab and set the print setting to the darkest. This will help the prints show best when they turn to sepia.
  2. When printing, load the decal paper with the shiny side (where the print needs to go) UP!
    Note: You can always test this by marking a piece of paper if you forget.
  3. Run at least 1 page of the print on normal paper first to warm up the printer and make sure the ink is going.

The prints here really come out great.

Glass

I’ve done this on both the Bullseye COE 90 glass and Spectrum96 COE 96 glass. They both have different annealing temperatures and are very different glass, but the print part comes out about the same each time. I favor the SPECTRUM 96 because the smooth roll leaves less bubbles in the glass which makes the print stand out. For both, here’s the process:

  1. Cut the glass to the size you want.
  2. Fuse the glass into the 1/4″ thickness it wants to be. Unless you want shadows, I always do the WHITE on top.
  3. Place the decal. It’s best to cut the decal to the same size as the glass, even if the decal is smaller. So, for a 4″ x 4″ coaster, cut a 4″ x 4″ decal, even if the print itself only takes up a 1″ corner of it. Otherwise, you get the edge of the decal showing as sort of “dirty”, which isn’t great.
  4. Fuse the decal. I have found that, no matter what glass you fuse onto, 1300 gives the best burn in temp with the detail you want afterwards. Lower than 1300 and things start to rub off. Higher than 1300 and the decal starts to lighten.

Bullseye

SegmentRate (deg/hr)Set TempHold Time (mins)
1300122020
2600148020
3999990060
41007001
Firing Schedule Using Bullseye

Spectrum

SegmentRate (deg/hr)Set TempHold Time (mins)
1300122020
2600140020
3999996060
41007001
Firing Schedule Using Spectrum

Decal

SegmentRate (deg/hr)Set TempHold Time (mins)
1300122020
2600130010
3999990060
41007001
Firing Schedule after Applying the Decal

Decal Process

The decal process is fairly straightforward.

  1. Cut the decal to the size you want.
  2. Dunk the decal under water. Make sure the water dish you’re using is big enough to keep the entire decal submerged. The decal will curl when it gets wet, use your fingers to push it out and keep it submerged.
  3. You’ll hear the decal fizzle and might see a string of bubbles rising from it. This is the water getting in between the decal and the backing paper.
  4. Once the fizzing or bubbles stop (about 20-30 seconds) remove the decal and place it on the glass. Try to align the decal over the glass where you want it.
  5. Hold down the decal on one side and slide the backing paper out from the other side. Try to keep the decal in place.
  6. Slide the decal around until it’s exactly where you want it.
  7. Use a scraper to remove any excess water from underneath and ensure the decal is 100% sticky and flat. There should be no folds or bumps. Do this ONLY when the decal is in position and be gentle with the stencil as you can scrape the images off.

Other Tips

  1. Try to use high contrast images. Up the brightness and contrast if you can.
  2. Spec out ahead of time what they’ll look like by adding a Sepia filter on your computer. It won’t turn out exactly like this, but it will give you some idea.
  3. Use a silicone spatula or spreader in order to push the water out from under the decal. I’ve found over time that silicone works best, everything else tends to scratch. The following are my recommendations:
    1. Long and Skinny – Best for bigger pieces that are > 4″. This allows you to push the water out all at once.
    2. Normal Spatulas – Having a set of these is great for everything up to around coaster size. I find them to be best for test tiles and jewelry and give me a great hand hold.
    3. Bowl Scrapers (large and extra large) – These are great because they have flat portions and curved portions so you can choose which section to use, which gives you a different amount of contact on the glass. The shape is also feels great in your hand, which is a plus. These are the closest to what Bullseye actually sells, just an FYI, but a couple bucks cheaper.

The Outcome

2 Replies to “Bullseye Decals

  1. Hello!
    I was wondering how current this page is with the information on the printer. I have a friend who has been using a Ricoh printer, but those are uber-expensive for my needs.
    I have been wanting to get into the decal thing, and seeing your post encourages me. so thank you!

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