Heat transferring PnP onto brass

I’ve been having great difficulty getting my toner images to fully
transfer from my PnP blue paper to my brass plates. The black and
white images are laser printed onto the PnP. I prepped the brass
plates by scotch-briting them with ammonia and water, drying them,
and then being careful not to touch the surface of the brass with my
fingers. I’ve tried all different heat settings on my iron as well as
my electric griddle. I have the iron set on the second-highest
setting and the griddle set between 300-350F. I’ve even tried ironing
the brass plates while they sit on the hot griddle (sandwiching them
between 2 elements of high heat). I’ve tried burnishing the image
onto the brass by rubbing the back of the PnP with a wad of paper
towel. No matter what I try, the image only partially transfers onto
the brass - meaning that there is still black toner left on the PnP.
What am I doing wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated!


some laser printers pressure fuse the detail onto the paper. The
original ones use heat and some pressure. In the laser settings did
you increase the toner density to the maximum?


This guy prefers clay faced paper.



First of all make sure that when you photocopied your images on to
the PnP, using a laserjet copier or printer (not an inkjet), that the
machine is set on dark, as to lay down a heavy deposit of toner.
Everything you described shows that you are doing it correctly.
However, I would not use ammonia when cleaning the brass. Ammonia is
often used after etching to remove the resist, and it is possible
that even a small residue from cleaning may be reacting with the

I do a lot of etching with PnP, and often there are places where the
toner did not adhere to the copper. In these cases I use a Staedtler
lumocolor transparent red Permanent waterproof pen to touch up the
bare spots. The Staedtler pen acts as a resist. It is a rare event
when all of the toner transfers to the metal, and I almost always
have a bit of touching up to do

One other thing. I have found it useful to rub fine 220 grit
sandpaper over the metal before ironing on the. Just this light tooth
seems to help. However, I almost always have to do some touch up with
the Staedtler pen. Hope this helps.

Alma Rands

I had similar problems with the PnP blue paper. I experimented with
several brands of inkjet glossy photo paper and hit paydirt with
Staples Photo Basic Gloss SKU 648181.

I use a HP Laserjet 6L to transfer the image. The inkjet paper takes
the image perfectly. I wash the brass with a scotch-brite pad and a
pinch of Comet cleanser until the water sheets off.

Set the iron on Cotton setting. Set the griddle between 250-300
degrees. Make a sandwich of paper towel-brass-photo paper-paper
towel and iron as you do with PnP blue paper. You will get great

I found the best method to control the heat transfer by using my
vulcanizer.I set it to 300 degrees and wait for the heat light to go
out. Insert the sandwich and screw it down tight. I time small
transfers for 70 seconds, larger ones up to 2 minutes. Open the
vulcanizer and carefully slide the sandwich into a bath of ice cubes
and water. You can start peeling the paper away almost immediately.
Any touch up required can be done with a Staedtler red permanent
Lumocolor pen #313-2.

Apply 2 sided tape to the back of the brass. Attach shipping peanuts
as floats and deep etch in ferric chloride. I etch in a Tupperware
container with lid and place a small aquarium pump to the top to act
as a vibrator.

It’s In The Works Studio


I am relatively new to PnP myself, and have found two things that
seem to help: I set the iron to the highest non-steam setting, so it
sits on the line between steam and no-steam settings. Rather than
pressing with the iron edge or burnishing (which seems to cause
damage), I put firm pressure on the piece, and leave the iron on for
several minutes. Then, I let the metal cool completely, or even run
it under cool water–this has been the real key for me. Good luck!


Alicia - I set my iron to the highest setting. I have a “press
cloth” - a floursack dish towel sandwiched in between heavy-duty
aluminum foil. I place my brass inside the fold of my press cloth
and start ironing on top of the press cloth. I apply as much
pressure as possible with constant movement and at least 10-15
minutes per item. It is not fast, but I get 90%-95% transfer. I’ve
never gotten 100% transfer from PnP. I have since changed to a
different transfer system which gives me good transfer results with
less work but does not use PnP paper. I use my remaining PnP in the
oven for mass transfer projects.

Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)


It sounds like you aren’t getting the sheet hot enough. When you
overheat PnP, it will get gooey and your image will smear. If you
don’t occasionally see any signs of this, chances are your iron
isn’t providing enough heat.

You might try preheating the metal in a relatively cool (225F) oven
before dropping the PnP sheet down, then rubbing a bit with a wooden
or plastic burnishing tool to get it to stick. But if you’re using a
large sheet of brass in a relatively heavy gauge (18+), you’ll have
difficulty getting the whole thing hot enough to transfer. Perhaps
you can cut it down?

It’s also possible the metal isn’t clean. Try an abrasive cleaner
for the first cleaning. Scrub, rinse well, and rub the metal hard
with a paper towel. If there is still tarnish coming off, it’s not
clean enough. Pickling sometimes helps.

Finally, the laser printer may the problem. Some toners simply don’t
work for various reasons. If this is the case, run off the image at
a copy shop.

John Walbaum

Erica…I think you have hit on an important aspect of PnP
transfer. After heating it, pressing or burnishing it, it must be
cooled with cool water. We used to get about 70-80% transfer but
since cooling it, we get 95% or better.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!

I set the iron to the highest non-steam setting, so it sits on the
line between steam and no-steam settings. Rather than pressing with
the iron edge or burnishing (which seems to cause 

Even better is if you can find an ancient iron in a thrift store,
that does not have steam vents!

Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Even better is if you can find an ancient iron in a thrift store,
that does not have steam vents! 

Good idea but make sure you get the electrics checked out to make
sure it’s safe. I don’t know if America is the same as the UK with
regards to second hand electricals, but over here the charity shops
are not allowed to (or don’t due to liability insurance) sell second
hand electrical goods.


Regarding the use of irons… if you put a sheet of brass under the
iron (which has holes), it acts as a sold based iron and works fine.


I use a yard sale folding grill/waffle iron with the flat grill
plates. You have to experiment with which heat is best for you but I
use mine on “waffle” setting. You get great contact and can adhere
more PnP pieces at once this way and if you want to check the
temperature, you can find a magnetic stove pipe thermometer at
places selling wood stoves and sometimes hardware stores. I use mine
to make sure my hotplate is the right temp for keum-boo, too. I
started off with an iron but it was a nusance clamping it and dealing
with the point. The waffle iron folds pretty flat for storage.

Donna in VA