Rice paper/ graphics

I'm hoping to put some calligraphy on the deck of my MC 16.5.  So I tested the "laser print on rice paper" approach on a bit of scrap.  The rice paper is expected to wet out and become fully transparent like fiberglass when treated with epoxy.

Well, it didn't disappear completely.  Laid down a thin layer of epoxy first, set the graphic in, and then fully wet with epoxy but still a bit of a shadow.  BTW, put fiberglass over it just to confirm everything is normal and the fiberglass wetted normally.

Any experience?  Any advice?  Is it the rice paper brand, perhaps?  The one I bought has a shiny side (good for printing) but it occurs to me that this may prevent wetting with epoxy.  

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RE: Rice paper/ graphics


I did that with rice paper and although I can see the paper shadow it is so slight that I am satisfied with the transparency of it. This is it covered with fiberglass and three coats of epoxy but no varnish. How does this compare with your test? Rice paper onlay

RE: Rice paper/ graphics

In my case the "shadow" depends very much on the lighting. It's easiest to see in low-angled light and totally invisible in bright sunlight. It also blends with the grain and for most people it's not noticeable unless it's pointed out.

Since it follows the edge of the paper you can minimize it by creative cutting. That is, you can cut the paper in a curve instead of a line (since eyes laser-focus on atraight lines), you can cut the edge to match the general grain pattern in the application area or you can cut the paper so that any shadow works with instead of against the graphic.

The side of the paper doesn't make any difference that I can see. On my WD12 I put the mirror image of the duck graphic on each side of the bow by simply flipping the paper and they look the same.




RE: Rice paper/ graphics

Thanks for the replies, folks.

@Randy - My test results are comparable, I reckon, in that I can't make out the "shadow" in your photo and mine is very light, also.  One of those "you only see it if it's pointed out" flaws, I guess.  It won't be the only one on my boat!

@Laslo - Yes, cutting a nice smooth oval around the caligraphy is my plan. 

I'm a little disappointed, having gotten the idea from the surfboard crowd online that the rice paper would become as transparent as fiberglass, but what the heck!  Gonna do it anyway!

RE: Rice paper/ graphics

I’ve just been down the same path and the rice paper was key.  I tried a couple different packages of paper I found on Amazon.  Same results as you.  The paper didn’t wet out clear.  I then bought some (expensive) paper from Greenlight Surf.  Night & day difference.  Just glassed my Shearwater deck this morning and the graphic turned out perfect.     

RE: Rice paper/ graphics

   @Ripp - Thanks for the tip!  

RE: Rice paper/ graphics

   Are you concerned about the red fading when it's in the sun for awhile?  I've got an image I would like to use, that has alot of blue in it, but was told it wouldn't hold up under UV

RE: Rice paper/ graphics

   Way late to the game for the original post but I've been working on this same issue and struggled with a handfull of different types of "rice paper", including the stuff from Greenlight Surf.  None of it came out even close to the transparency I was looking for and had seen with some of the other builders like Laszlo's duck.  Then, with the help of a nice lady at my local art supply store who understood what I was trying to do because some of the local skateboarders do the same thing, I learned about "Silk Tissue" made from Gampi fibers.  This is the stuff you want to use.  You can find online suppliers here if your local store doesn't carry it.  

Legion Paper - Silk Tissue

Here's a couple practice pieces I've done in progess.  I'm really happy with the transparency of the results and the durability and workability of the material.

RE: Rice paper/ graphics


Thanks for the tip on the silk tissue. Your dragon is quite striking. What kind of printer is that? Laser or some kind of ink?



RE: Rice paper/ graphics

   Thanks Lazlo,

This was actually a test run I put on the underside of the deck where it will never be seen.  I used the commercial office printer/copier (Konica?) at work for the black and then touched it up with a couple colored sharpies.  The sharpie ink will definitely run.  Won't use that for any final artwork.

This is a turtle I did off the same color printer without any sharpies!  Even tried some half-tone stuff that came out pretty well.  The technique gives me lots of options for future graphic details.