What can I print poetry onto?
March 27, 2007 8:16 PM   Subscribe

I would like to print out poetry onto something other than paper, with the intention of hanging it for display on a wall.

What are some options I could pursue? I'm fine with going out to a vendor like, say, Kinko's and printing on something like foamcore. If I wanted... could I somehow buy the right equipment and do all the printing myself?

Beyond foamcore, I'm not sure what other materials might work. I'm envisioning short poems (sonnet length), and placed somewhere for public viewing. Think better than a piece of paper taped onto a wall, and not quite as fancy as a framed painting in a museum. The image in my head is the equivalent of a nicely framed (large) photograph in someone's hallway.

Thanks for any thoughts or advice!
posted by avoision to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What about printing on fabric? Linen would look nice.
posted by JujuB at 8:24 PM on March 27, 2007

Blik will make custom, removable prose decals for your walls, or you could adhere them to paper and frame it.
posted by lalex at 8:24 PM on March 27, 2007

I've been playing with the idea of getting those word decal things made up in poems that I like and attaching them to the glass of vintage wood windows that I have collected. (They have an etched glass color option.) Just a thought.
posted by jeanmari at 8:34 PM on March 27, 2007

This thread on the blue has some links to new printing technologies. Here's one on the green that has information on printer transfer paper, among others printing methods.
posted by yohko at 8:36 PM on March 27, 2007

Maybe this.
posted by dobbs at 8:45 PM on March 27, 2007

Bubblegum (or, more practically, embossing tape, same link). I think the red embossing tape tacked/glued on to a plain surface (metal? plastic? wood? fake any of the above?) would be fairly eye-catching... maybe enough so to get around the small character size.

And to be super-practical, you can always get nice paper at a craft supply shop, print on your regular old printer, and just mat it instead of framing. In fact you'll notice that a lot of school/low budget exhibits are just matted, no frame, due to being cheaper and easier to hang (can anyone say tape?). It will still look nice and professional, and the mat takes it from piece of paper on the wall to piece of artwork on the wall.
posted by anaelith at 8:50 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Try printing onto an overhead, then placing it on top of a sheet of rice paper, which is on top of a piece of textured paper... or something to that effect. Frame it and you're good to go.
posted by perpetualstroll at 9:41 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

To be more specific, an overhead transparency.
posted by perpetualstroll at 9:41 PM on March 27, 2007

You could get a Gocco, make lots of little silk screens of poems (or parts of poems), and print them on wood, fabric, whatever. You can also use the screens with glass etching gel.
posted by thinman at 10:13 PM on March 27, 2007

Er... that should have been a link to Gocco.
posted by thinman at 10:14 PM on March 27, 2007

Check out wallwords.com
posted by ranchgirl7 at 10:26 PM on March 27, 2007

you could print the poems onto labels (i've used these before, they have great waterproof labels).

The labels could then be stuck to wood or any flat surface (if you want flat). Or, a rounded surface like a glass jar, a vase...something else 3D?
posted by hazel at 11:23 PM on March 27, 2007

Lazertran decal papers let you print out (or photocopy) what you want and apply it to almost any surface - wood, metal, fabric, clay, paper, plastic, etc.

I've used the silk, inkjet, and the photocopier decals successfully. You can usually find Lazertran at art supply or craft stores.
posted by faineant at 2:28 AM on March 28, 2007

Whoops, lost half my post - you can also use an inkjet printer to print directly onto canvas. There are a variety of manufacturers, the link is just one example. In addition to the aforementioned craft and art supply stores, often the big box office supply stores also carry printable canvas .
posted by faineant at 2:38 AM on March 28, 2007

An unmodified inkjet printer (or better yet, a plotter) will take sheets of heavy watercolor paper with no problem. A friend of mine has been printing 24x36" photos like this for a long time. The colors can bleed a bit, but the detail is still quite sharp
posted by zachxman at 3:12 AM on March 28, 2007

For text and high constrast photos, I've found that xerox transfers work quite well. You would need to make a reversed, xerox copy of the text to be printed and aquire some oil of wintergreen or oil of peppermint (available at most aromatherapy shops).

Place the copy face down on the surface you would like to print on and massage the oil of wintergreen in to the paper. After about a minute or two, the xerox ink should be completely transferred onto your print surface.

I've used this method succesfully on paper (many different weights), vinyl surfaces, plastics, and glass. I'm pretty sure it would work on wood although the grain would definitely interfere with the transfer.

Lazertran, as faineant suggested, is quite nice but not as simple and inexpensive. Lazertran will give you cleaner lines while xerox transfer tends to have a more aged/worn look.
posted by RobertFrost at 3:42 AM on March 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Try to find an old-fashioned typewriter, and load it with toilet paper. The ink will spread out more but it should remain quite readable.
posted by Anything at 10:54 AM on March 28, 2007

Uh I guess the word large rules that out. Apologies.
posted by Anything at 10:55 AM on March 28, 2007

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