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How To Make Transfer Sheets


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I can't speak for aidensnd, but I'm pretty sure that's what he/she's asking about. I'm curious too. Do you just 'paint' your design with cocoa butter onto an acetate strip? Or use a stencil and spray cocoa butter? Or both?

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Wull you can put colored cocoa butter on a folded clean towel like a stamp pad and use rubber stamps too - I saw Jacques T do it on tv. Then I got all the stuff & played with it. His came out better than mine...ya' think?? :laugh:

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You can "paint" freehand, multiple layer designs with different colored chocolate onto acetate, sliding the sheet onto a chilled surface between applications to allow each layer to firm up, then coating the entire thing with either dark or white chocolate and smoothing it down with another acetate sheet, flipping that onto the chilled surface.

Then peel off the sheet on the backing, cut into shapes, using a mat knife, a rolling cutting wheel or multiple wheel cutter, if you can afford one.

you can peel them off the sheet one at a time and place them on a chocolate, or you can dip the choloate onto melted chocolate that you have also spread thinly on a sheet of acetate, then

place it sticky side down on the cut piece and it should firm up quickly and you can peel the entire thing off the acetate.

The acetate will leave it with a nice, shiny surface.

I used to have a video of the process. If I can find it I will dig it out and see who made it. I know there are others now available on CD and probably on DVD that have very detailed instructions of the various processes.

You can even do a freehand design with contrasting colors on the inside of small molds, then with the mold on a chilled surface, press your still workable ganache into the mold, then finish the bottom with a thin layer of melted chocolate.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I got the video from this place.

I know the price may seem a bit steep, but you may be able to go in on it with some other people and share it.

It is worth the price.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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This is another place that has videos in addition to tranfer sheets and instruction on how to use them.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I make my own transfer sheets.

I've used my badger 250 airbrush with stencils on acetate. The coarseness of that air brush will not give you a fine image. Also when you have a stencil laying flat on acetate the cocoa butter wants to bleed under your stencil, smudging your image. But once you cut these into shapes the image isn't quite as important as the splash of color. You have to choose your design carefully and not over saturate your cocoa butter on the sheet trying to get a lot of detail.

I find finger painting on acetate looks good. For the most part I'm just getting color and abstract designs doing this. I also splatter on the cocoa butter for a nice effect. This is similar to dusting your acetate with cocoa powder or gold dust and then pouring on your base chocolate in a contrasting hue.

You can get very detailed and specific images using a piping bag and drawing on images using colored chocolate. It's not much different then doing color flow in royal icing, your just using chocolate instead of frosting.

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Thanks Andiesenji and Wendy for explaining transfers. Now I'm really curious if any stores in my area sell cocoa butter. Question: what is the best way to color cocoa butter? Would standard gel colors work, or do you need something else?

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I used powdered color because I can never remember which of the paste colors does not contain water. I think they actually call it 'candy color' now - the paste kind that is OK for use with chocolates & cocoa butter.

I never have to tax my brain with such details when I just head for the powdered. Otherwise the folks in the supply store can advise you - not like Hobby Lobby, Walmart type store but cake deco type.

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Where would one find acetate?  I have been looking at various culinary stores, but have not found any yet.

If you're looking for it in local retail, you'll have better luck in art supply stores. It will come in large sheets and rolls, so you'll have to cut it down to size yourself.

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One of the things I can no longer do, because of arthritis in my right hand, is fine airbrush painting. The joint where my index finger meets my hand is always swollen and painful and operating an airbrush is agony.

I have an ancient Pasche AB which can draw a very fine line for extremely fine detail and of course costs a lot more than other airbrushes.

I didn't buy it for culinary work, I used it for regular art work for many years and bought it when I took a class where the instructor insisted that we get this type of airbrush.

I have several others for different type of work but this was the one I used when I did cake decorating and sugar work. It will draw a line as fine as a cat's whisker.

It is also easier to clean as the color container is entirely open, this is particularly helpful when using certain types of paste colors that need to be carefully diluted and you can use minimal amounts of the color.

I often used glycerin, 100% food grade, which kept bleed and creep to a minimum and did not resist the chocolate or cause graining or slumping.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Just remember that what's usually sold as acetate in art stores is not the same plastic that is used for commercial transfer sheets--it's rigid, like what you'd use for an overhead transparency versus soft. Depending on what you're trying to do, the softer stuff can give you cleaner work.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I had a hard time finding acetate sheeting in my area, Chicagoland. What I did find in art stores was extremely expensive and much smaller then I wanted. I found some at JB Prince where it was something like . 50 cents per 18" x 24" sheet. That was a huge savings from the art store.

You must use oil based colors to color chocolate. Pastes do not work properly. I've mentioned this before, Wilton sells candy coloring oils at craft stores that works great and is inexpensive. I find using dried colors dissolved in cocoa butter impossible to use.

If you can, I think it's best to buy already colored cocoa butter. You can find them at Albert Uster Company and PCB Company, both are online.

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For anyone in the SF Bay area, Tap Plastics, has acetate as well as a whole bunch of other types of plastic products useful in pastry/sugar work/etc.

This is where I get my acetate, which they feature in various thicknesses. I also get all sorts of stuff that I find useful, like the plastic dowels I use as mini-rolling pins for fondant, gum paste, and etc... They sell scrap plastic by the pound in a bin and that's where I get most of my stuff.

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Just to add to the sources for acetate, BakeDeco.com has acetate sheets in quantites of 50 and 100 for around $25 and $50 respectively. I'll second Wendy's comments about the powdered color. I haven't been able to get them to dissolve completely in cocoa butter, although this isn't a really visible problem once it has solidified. The colors don't look as vivid as the premixed colored cocoa butter products either, and seem to only function relatively well on white chocolate. This is only my experience, and I've only had a few weeks working with the stuff, so take it for what it's worth. :)

Josh Usovsky

"Will Work For Sugar"

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  • 8 months later...

I read about a chocolatier in Santa Cruz, California, Lloyd Martin, who uses his computer to make designs, then prints them onto sheets with food safe ink and transfers the images to his pieces. Check out the article in the local paper.

I know there are printers that cake bakers use with "icing sheets" that you can lay on top of the product, but Martin prints finely detailed logos and such to transfer to his chocolates.

Does anybody have experience in using this medium for transfers?

Cheers

Edited by stscam (log)

Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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I read about a chocolatier in Santa Cruz, California, Lloyd Martin, who uses his computer to make designs, then prints them onto sheets with food safe ink and transfers the images to his pieces.  Check out the article in the  local paper.

I know there are printers that cake bakers use with "icing sheets" that you can lay on top of the product, but Martin prints finely detailed logos and such to transfer to his chocolates.

Does anybody have experience in using this medium for transfers?

Cheers

I have also wondered about this. Can you use regular edible ink cartridges on a transfer sheet? Does it need to be a cocoa-butter based ink cartridge (do those even exist?). Sorry no answers, only more questions.

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Welcome the the eGullet Society For Arts & Letters dmalouf.

Regular inks are not edible. You need cocoa butter based ink and a smooth surface to adhear it to as professional transfer sheets come on. I don't beleive the equipment to print transfer sheets is inexspensive.......or we'd see alot of places making their own.

To the best of my knowledge you can make your own, I have. But their crude compared to whats commerical printed.

Printing on fondant, chocolate plastic and gum paste requires a different type of printer that prints dirrectly on the surface of them. These aren't cheap either.

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Well the thing is what are you going to use as your ink if you silk screen? Just colored cocoa butter doesn't work on acetate like you might be imagining. It wants to bead up when you put it on acetate sheets.

They must use some additives to print patterns on transfer sheets........or there's something about the blank transfer sheet companies use that makes cocoa butter adhear well to it. Maybe even controling the temp of the paper being printed on..... so it adhears instantly.

You can stencil on logos after you've set your chocolate using gold or silver dusts. You can use rubber stamps to apply the dust onto chocolate.

But you can't just put images on acetate in cocoa butter and make anything similar to what you buy with transfer sheets.

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Lloyd used to be a subscriber here. Maybe there is still an address for him and you can ask him directly. He and I "graduated" from chocolate school together and I remember he was trying to create his own guitar slicer and buying used equipment when he could so I doubt he bought anything too fancy to create his transfers. That said, I did see a chocolate transfer creating machine on ebay a few months ago that had a buy it now price of like $24,000!

I paint on acetate using colored chocolate and then slice into shapes and place on top of wet chocolates. I rarely use actual transfers because the affordable ones bore me and the fun, exciting ones just aren't worth the cost (for me).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is the big secret. You mix powdered food color in melted cocoa butter until it is the consistancy of, say, sour cream and then you use it to print on acetate (or mylar or polyethelene or polypropolene) using a silk screen. No special machines or hitech ink jet printers. But it will take a lot of trial and error to get good at it. I have been printing transfer sheets for about a year and a half, and I am just beginning to feel confident about acheiving consistant results.

I know a quy who lives not too far from me who, I was told, went to Switzerland and spent $50,000 to learn how to print transfer sheets. I know about him because he buys his screens from the same company that I buy mine from, and the owner of that company told me about him. I tracked this person down, and the only information that I could get from him was that he printed transfer sheets--so there are secrets to be learned.

Now, I have a lot of experience in the graphic arts world (not to mention engineering) before I started making chocolates, so when I started looking at transfer sheets I immediatally know how they were made. There are only two printing processes that will deposit a thick enough layer of "ink" to be used for transfer sheets--screen printing and pad printing. Pad printing is how PCB puts the transfers in their one-shot dome molds.

Find someone who knows how to do graphic arts screen printing (not t shirts) and pick their brain.

Lloyd

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