Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Repurposed Project #2 Thermal Fax Wrapping Paper

While looking for items to bring home and list in my store, I frequently come across rolls of thermal fax paper. Just like this past weekend, when I was searching thrift store shelves, five rolls of thermal fax paper were screaming out at me, so I put them in the basket and brought them home. I sometimes wrap gifts in the paper or crumble it up and use it as packing material. But this last weekend I stumbled upon something unique, something I didn't even realize it had, its thermal property. I guess I kind of knew that thermal fax paper used heat to create the imprints, but didn't know that I could create a pattern on it at home without the use of a fax machine. This is something I stumbled upon while using it in an ironing project, the heat from my iron caused the paper to turn black. This started an hour long experiment with the iron and eventually lead to these designs.

To begin this project you will need:

1. A piece of thermal fax paper
2. Scissors
3. An iron
4. An ironing board or sturdy and safe ironing surface
Working with the full roll can get tricky and you might get tangled up in paper, so I suggest using a piece that is a few inches smaller than the length of your ironing board. It will be much easier to work with.


1. Set up your ironing board and turn on the iron to wool or a synthetic setting. Make sure to turn off the steam, or this will ruin the design on the paper.

2. Cut a piece of fax paper that is approximately 5" smaller than the length of your ironing board and place the paper (glossy side up) on the board so that all the edges are not hanging off. You can lightly tape each end to keep it in place, but make sure to never run over the tape with your iron.

3. Start at one end of the paper and work your way to the other. Remember to leave the iron on the paper only about 1 second , or you will get a big black blob and not the iron design. Place your first iron mark on the paper by placing your iron flat on the paper surface (point facing away from you) and lifting quickly. Don't move the iron around or the image will get blurred. You can use the whole iron if you wish, like the picture shows.

4. Then next to the first iron mark, make another, that is about 1/2" apart. Now work your way down the paper to the other end making iron marks that are about 1/2" apart. Remember not to leave the iron on the paper too long or you loose the iron design.


5. When you have reached the end of the paper, go to the other side of the board and use the pointed tip of your iron to make marks in between the tips of the other marks. Get as close as you can, but leave some white space for a great relief design. Repeat this to the end of the paper.

You are Finished!!

Now you can experiment as much as you want with the thermal paper and create your own designs.

Reminders: The design will not last forever and will become lighter and eventually fade over a period of time. If you are using the paper for gift wrap, it is best to use it within a few weeks and keep it stored in a cool area. Heat from the sun or warm rooms might turn the paper completely black or gray. Also, tape and glue remove the design.

Earth Keepers

re·cy·cle

- to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of.
- to use again in the original form or with minimal alteration.
- to help to pass through a cycle again.

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