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How To Make Transfer Sheets

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carp mentioned, above, about Acetate Sheets at Tap Plastics. Looks like they have online ordering so even if you're not in the SF area you can get some.


Edited by John DePaula (log)

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Thanks Lloyd for sharing these tips. This is something that I've been interested in for a long time, and had been searching for information on how to make the transfer sheets using a silk screen. A friend sent me copies of an article that appeared in the May/June 2003 issue of the American Cake Decorating magazine that has step by step pictures and instructions for making your own silk screen transfer sheets. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to start playing around with it, but would love to work on this someday.

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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.

Lloyd, thank you so much for that information. One question though - when you silkscreen, do you use a food-grade photo-sensitive emulsion?

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Lloyd, thank you so much for that information. One question though - when you silkscreen, do you use a food-grade photo-sensitive emulsion?

The article I mentioned from the American Cake Decorating magazine, suggest using Ulano TZ/CL emulsion because it is food safe.

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I've just returned from the Philadelphia Candy Show with exciting new techniques to share. If you haven't heard of www.designerstencils, check them out. Their stencils are fabulous! They are also designing large stencil sheets for making transfer sheets and will also be selling acetate sheets soon.

While there, I demonstrated air brushing stencil designs on chocolate and acetate. You can also use tempered chocolate smoothed across the top of the stencil with an off set spatula to create designs. But what's really exciting is using a stenciling brush to apply warm colored cocoa butter to acetate sheets or directly onto chocolate. Imagine what you can do on the lip of a dessert plate!

Now that I've used some of Chef Rubber's fabulous pre-colored cocoa butters, I'll never bother mixing my own (with powdered food coloring). He sells over 100 colors that are ready to use. All you do is warm the plastic bottle gently in the microwave to no more than 86 degrees and it's ready to use for stenciling, air brushing, and lots of other things. His website, www.chefrubber.com, is a gold mine for chocolate artisans.

After working (and playing) with chocolate for over 30 years, it's great to discover new magic tricks to add ti my repertoire.

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I went to a demo at the Phily candy show and the chef said he melts his colored cocoa butter in a yogurt maker. Hesaid that if you put the bottles in the machine overnight it is just the right temperature. He also said the yogurt makers can be found at Walmart for about $15.00.

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I went to a demo at the Phily candy show and the chef said he melts his colored cocoa butter in a yogurt maker. Hesaid that if you put the bottles in the machine overnight it is just the right temperature.  He also said the yogurt makers can be found at Walmart for about $15.00.

Melting cocoa butter in a yogurt machine is a very slow process. It takes longer to melt cocoa butter than you might think. I use the yogurt machine to keep the bottles of cocoa butter warm once melted. I bought mine at Sur La Table. If you can find one for $15.00, grab it.

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This screen printing business to make chocolate transfer sheets is way harder than it looks. But I think I'm making progress.

1) I designed a logo in Pagemaker, then printed it in black ink onto a transparency sheet.

2) Next I prepared the screen by laying down a layer of emulsion front and back, letting it dry, then exposing the transparency for 17 minutes with a 300w light source. Developing was just a matter of washing the screen with lukewarm water. I used regular emulsion, rather than food safe, because this is just experimentation at this point.

3) The third step was to make the actual transfer sheet. For these early trials I used art store acetate as the base medium. I melted cocoa butter and colored it with Chef Rubber powders (going for a yellow-gold).

4) After the stencil was dry I poured tempered chocolate over the logos, let them set and pulled them up.

Here are some of the things I've learned so far:

- Steps 1) and 2) are really easy. Success is almost 100% assured.

- Step 3 is fraught with opportunities to fail.

- Make sure that your cocoa butter is not too liquid. Lloyd says it should be the consistency of sour cream, and Lloyd's the man. I had a lot of trouble getting it to that viscosity and more trouble holding it there.

- I started off using a standard printing squeege. This seemed to force too much material through the screen, so that the edges smudged badly.

- Then I tried a small palette knife. The smudging wasn't so bad, but it was still a problem.

- Next I tried a small artist's sponge, daubing the cocoa butter into the stencil. This seemed to give me more control, with cleaner images, but I wasn't always able to get enough color onto the acetate sheet.

- So then came the ultimate test - pouring chocolate onto the acetate and see what happens. Well, what happened was that the image transferred nicely, but it was so dull and dark as to be nearly invisible. That was disappointing.

Now it's back to the drawing board (or the mixing bowl) to try some other variations. I'm thinking that my colored cocoa butter isn't saturated enough - that the color needs to be stronger and more opaque. I'm also going to try a different kind of plastic as the transfer sheet medium. My chocolate, BTW, was 58% Cacao Berry couverture.

Any thoughts from fellow e-gulleteers would be most welcomed. I'd attach photos, but there's nothing particularly photogenic as yet.

Cheers,


Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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How fun Steve! Did you start with colored cocoa butter and add powder for a different color? Do you think it would work just as well with white chocolate or would that be too thin?

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I'm not sure how white chocolate might work. Until I started this project I'd never done any screen printing at all, so call me NEWBIE.

Cheers,


Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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I have played around doing this and find that I can't make it work using straight cocoa butter colors. They need to be in an opaque base as you realized. The best I can do is start with white (from PCB) and add some color to it. Adding the colored cocoa butter to the white opaque cocoa butter doesn't work well. It thins it down too much (makes it transparent) and I can't get the color intensity I want, only pastels.

BUT it you buy colors for cocoa, those are different then colored cocoa butter. They are closer to being like a food coloring paste, but thinner. They will let you get an intense color with minimal added cocoa butter thinning down your opaque base. I've bought these colors thru Albert Uster and believe it or not, my local Michaels craft stores. They come in like 4 oz. bottles from Uster and about .5 oz jar at the craft store. Those little half oz. jars of black will color my chocolate a dark black! These colors should give you what you need when screen printing.

When I use my PCB colors I nuke the whole bottle on 30% power for like 2 minutes. Just enough to melt parts of the bottle but not the whole thing. I shake it up to melt more in the bottle. Then I let it set for a couple minutes. Then my colors are the right consistancy for me.

Where as, if I heat my PCB color and pour it into a bowl and let it set, then it goes from liquid to solid faster..........more surface exposed to cool air, verses holding it in the bottle.

I think your right on the verge of getting this. I do think that the consistancy of your "ink" (in this case your cocoa butter) is critical. If it's too warm/thin it will bleed and apply too thinly. I do however think a rubber scraper is the correct way to get an even layer..........you may just need a little more practice or a thinner lighter rubber scraper. The ones they use for standard silk screen inks are rather thick and bulky.

I'm not totally certain (because it's been about 20 years since I last silk screened) but the you should be able to use frisket as a food safe block. It's basicly acetate with an adhesive........I think (it used to be anyway). But then you cut in your image by hand, then apply it to your screen. Your using a light sensitive emulsion right now, and I really question that it's food safe. The reason I mention this is, it is something you need to look into now. If you can't find a food safe product to use as your block, theres no point in perfecting this. Unless your willing to hand cut your own stencils using frisket.

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You might also consider adding white powdered color to your cocoa butter. That'll add the opacity and might also help with the consistency. Depending on how much you add (white and/or other powder colors), you may be able to get closer to a sour cream consistency without having to try to get there via temperature alone.


B. Keith Ryder

BCakes by BKeith

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Wendy & Keith, thanks for the input.

Today I tried to just paint my colored cocoa butter mixture directly onto the acetate to see how it opaque it really is. It took two thick coats to get a nearly solid layer onto the medium. The transfer was better than through the screen, but still not nearly as bright as a commercial transfer sheet.

The idea of adding white to the cocoa butter makes a lot of sense, as it should add density to the base. I'll try that next.

I've got some PCB colored cocoa butter here, so I'll try that too.

Thanks & cheers,


Edited by stscam (log)

Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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Saturday's experiment in transfer making involved: adding white color powder to my cocoa butter mixture in an effort to make it more opaque; making sure the consistency of the mixture was sour-creamy rather than liquid; and using a plastic bench scraper to apply more pressure to the "ink" to force more through the screen.

The results were encouraging. Adding more white helped "darken" the color. Using a less liquid "ink" and applying more pressure seemed to push more onto the acetate. It's still not as strong an image as I would like, but it's far closer than any previous effort. The thicker "ink" helped, but I still got some smear on the plastic - probably from applying too much pressure.

I'm also thinking the screen I'm using is too fine (bought it already in a frame at an art store), and the cocoa butter is having a tough time "oozing" through. The lines of the screen fabric are also visible on the finished image. I'm going to look around for something less fine. Also - does anybody think using a roller rather than a straight squeege (like the scraper) would work any better?

Making incremental progress. Maybe pictures soon.

Cheers,


Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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A few tips on transfer sheets:

Use powdered food color and plain cocoa butter--don't use the expensive stuff from PCB or chef rubber. Use Titanium dioxide to make it opaque. Use very fine screen material (I have used up to 355 threads/inch). Use the stiffest squeege you can find (at least 70 durometer).

Most of the emulsions are probably food safe--Ulano only had the TZ certified--most of the other emulsions have a similar chemical makeup.

Screen printing is more difficult than it appears--especially if you are making up your own "ink". I'm still throwing away a lot of prints, but then I am trying to work to a finer tolerance than what is available commercially.

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I am sure there is a thres of this around , however I will ask anyway :biggrin: .

To make your own transfer sheets can I use normal acetate sheets out of a craft store ( if they have any), and then just proceed with colored cocoa butter?

If is the case the rubber chef premade colored cocoa butter will work ok, or I should buy just the color and do my mix with the cocoa butter?

Thank you for your help :rolleyes:


Vanessa

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I am sure there is a thres of this around , however I will ask  anyway  :biggrin: .

To make your own transfer sheets  can I use normal acetate sheets out of a craft store ( if they have any), and then just proceed with colored cocoa butter?

If is the case the rubber chef premade colored cocoa butter will work ok, or I should buy just the color and do my mix with the cocoa butter?

Thank you for your help  :rolleyes:

Either the premixed colours in cocoa butter or the ones you mix yourself will work fine. See this thread for some links to opacifying your colours for transfers.

You can find acetate at craft stores, office supply stores or art stores.

Edited to make 'this thread' into a link - what a neat feature.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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Hi, I just ran through this thread because I was interested to see if there was any mention of having to temper the cocoa butter before applying it to the transfer sheet but I couldn't find anything. Does the cocoa butter have to be tempered before being applied? I've never actually tried tempering it before but have read that it is necessary (though not in direct reference to this application :huh: ).

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Hi, I just ran through this thread because I was interested to see if there was any mention of having to temper the cocoa butter before applying it to the transfer sheet but I couldn't find anything. Does the cocoa butter have to be tempered before being applied? I've never actually tried tempering it before but have read that it is necessary (though not in direct reference to this application  :huh: ).

Hello , cocoa butter does not need to be tempered prior use.


Vanessa

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Hi, I just ran through this thread because I was interested to see if there was any mention of having to temper the cocoa butter before applying it to the transfer sheet but I couldn't find anything. Does the cocoa butter have to be tempered before being applied? I've never actually tried tempering it before but have read that it is necessary (though not in direct reference to this application  :huh: ).

I don't try to temper the cocoa butter (I don't think you can temper cocoa butter, per se) and have had no problems.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I don't try to temper the cocoa butter (I don't think you can temper cocoa butter, per se) and have had no problems.

Tempering is basically simply getting the cocoa butter to crystalize properly. Chocolate as we know it is simply cocoa butter, cocoa solids (i.e., basically what you have with cocoa powder), sugar and sometimes an emulsifier. The cocoa solids, sugar, and emulsifier do not play a role in the crystalization of the cocoa butter. (There are some exceptions.)

When I purchase cocoa butter in bulk (i.e., by the palate), it comes in tempered form.

So, yes, it is possible to temper cocoa butter by itself.

-Art


Amano Artisan Chocolate

http://www.amanochocolate.com/

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Silly question I know , but i dont have problem making transfer sheet ( got some arts school in my past :raz: ) the trouble is how to use them correctly , I never used them before I made one to try and maybe the acetate I am using isnt the right type beacue the colored cocoa butter stayed on the sheet and not on the chocolate surface , some of them did transfer ok , but still the surface didnt look nice and smooth .Is there any method to use transfer sheet properly , I am doing something wrong ( probably yes ! ).And there is one type of acetate better than other , I think I bought the one that doesnt bleed if u stencil and paint on it and have the feeling that might be it , the color stay on the surface and doesnt tranfer pn other surfaces.

Thank you vanessa


Vanessa

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Silly question I know , but i dont have problem making transfer sheet ( got some arts school in my past  :raz: ) the trouble is how to use them correctly , I never used them before I made one to try and maybe the acetate I am using isnt the right type beacue the colored cocoa butter stayed on the sheet and not on the chocolate surface , some of them did transfer ok , but still the surface didnt look nice and smooth .Is there any method  to use transfer sheet properly , I am doing something wrong ( probably yes ! ).And there is one type of acetate better than other , I think I bought the one that doesnt bleed if u stencil and paint on it and have the feeling that might be it , the color stay on the surface and doesnt tranfer pn other surfaces.

Thank you vanessa

Is it perfectly clear and shiny, or is one or both sides slightly rough?


Cheryl, The Sweet Side

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Silly question I know , but i dont have problem making transfer sheet ( got some arts school in my past  :raz: ) the trouble is how to use them correctly , I never used them before I made one to try and maybe the acetate I am using isnt the right type beacue the colored cocoa butter stayed on the sheet and not on the chocolate surface , some of them did transfer ok , but still the surface didnt look nice and smooth .Is there any method  to use transfer sheet properly , I am doing something wrong ( probably yes ! ).And there is one type of acetate better than other , I think I bought the one that doesnt bleed if u stencil and paint on it and have the feeling that might be it , the color stay on the surface and doesnt tranfer pn other surfaces.

Thank you vanessa

Is it perfectly clear and shiny, or is one or both sides slightly rough?

it is perfecly clear on both sides ,on the package it says "wet media film specially treated on both sides to sccept paint, markers airbrush, without bleeding crawling or chpping" dura-lar the acetate alternative


Vanessa

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Silly question I know , but i dont have problem making transfer sheet ( got some arts school in my past  :raz: ) the trouble is how to use them correctly , I never used them before I made one to try and maybe the acetate I am using isnt the right type beacue the colored cocoa butter stayed on the sheet and not on the chocolate surface , some of them did transfer ok , but still the surface didnt look nice and smooth .Is there any method  to use transfer sheet properly , I am doing something wrong ( probably yes ! ).And there is one type of acetate better than other , I think I bought the one that doesnt bleed if u stencil and paint on it and have the feeling that might be it , the color stay on the surface and doesnt tranfer pn other surfaces.

Thank you vanessa

Is it perfectly clear and shiny, or is one or both sides slightly rough?

it is perfecly clear on both sides ,on the package it says "wet media film specially treated on both sides to sccept paint, markers airbrush, without bleeding crawling or chpping" dura-lar the acetate alternative

I wouldn't use it. It may not be food safe, and the treatment that is preventing the chipping is also preventing the cocoa butter from releasing.


Cheryl, The Sweet Side

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