Jacquard deColorant (discharge paste) + lasers = "screen printing" by removing the dye

I decided to give this a try. In the spirit of the season, I used a photo I took in the catacombs under Paris.

Shockingly enough, despite years of Glowforging, this was my first photo engrave. The original image is pretty contrasty already but, I riffed off of JB Manning’s photo preparation tutorial to optimize it.

A test engrave on card stock looked good.

For the first attempt, I treated a rough rectangle with the dye removal paste and, let it dry overnight in a dark, cool room. The paste removed some of the dye even in the areas where it wasn’t layered. That may be a product of how long I left the paste in but, I assumed it was just going to do that.

Thus, for the next attempt, I saturated the entire shirt in order to try to compensate for that. That took a lot of the paste. I noticed that one was dry within a couple hours and, finished lasering and wash-out promptly. It seems to have remained darker in the un-lasered areas. Comparing with a shirt that has only been washed, it is difficult to tell if there would still be a visible border if the whole shirt weren’t coated.

The maximum engrave speed I could set was 1400. Maybe the Pro has faster options than the Basic? Anyway, I did some quick mental math (realizing the power and speed scales are not entirely linear) and, guessed 10 power. That seems to have worked okay.

I assumed the stripes on the first print were a fluke or, because I failed to wash out sizing in the new shirts before I did this. I also cleaned the optics on the machine before doing the second one.

When the stripe started to appear in the second shirt, it occurred to me that it might be an artifact from resizing the image in the GFUI. I thought I saved the PNG image at 96 DPI but, it was oversized when imported and, I just set it to the correct size. In retrospect, I should have gone back and re-exported the image. I kind of like the stripe, though. So, I think I am done with this one for now.

This was a Bella+Canvas shirt from a wholesaler.

One-minute making-of short for your amusement: