Precious Metal Clay
Direct Imprint: Inkless Wipes Method for Fingers, Hand and Feet
by Julia Rai
The "Inkless Wipes" method has two components: a specially impregnated wipe in an individual sachet and a receiving sheet of paper.
The wipe is clear and is run over the hand or foot then the hand/foot is placed firmly down on the paper. A reaction happens between the fluid and the paper making the imprint magically appear. This system is used in the USA to take a footprint of newborn babies as part of their registration process.
Once the print is taken, it is scanned into a computer and opened in a programme like Photoshop. Here it is enhanced to make it sharp black and white, shrunk down to the size of the piece of jewellery, registration marks are added, it is doubled up and then printed out onto acetate. The two copies are cut in half, layered on top of each other – hence the registration marks – and then used to create a rubber stamp using a photopolymer plate.
Photopolymer plates are used in the printing process and require UV light to cure. Where the UV goes through the clear part of the acetate, it hardens the plate. Where the dense black image is blocks the UV and the plate remains soft.
After the exposure time the plate is washed to remove the soft parts leaving a rubber stamp of the child’s hand/foot. This is then used to imprint into the silver clay.