Rice Paper Printing

I am looking to add graphics to a fiberglass part.  I’ve read a bit about printing with inkjet printers on rice paper, but had a few more questions before diving in.  

  1. I need to buy an inkjet printer, one that can print on at least 11" x 17" or larger paper, and was wondering what printers other people are using?

  2. I want to be sure and get a printer that is compatible with high quality inks that will not blur when the resin is added, or fade out in the sun.  One of the printers I am looking at takes pigment based inks.  I was wondering if this produces a different result than using dye based ink?

  3. There are so many different types of rice paper. What type/brand is best for this application?

Thanks for any and all advice,


Since you are looking to add this to a part it sounds like this is not a production situation, I’d suggest you contact boardlams.com and have them make you what you need.

Thanks for the reference, I will check it out.  But this may become a production situation, so I am looking to figure out a process for doing this myself.

What’s the application?  Tell us more.  I’ve used HP inkjets in the past with good results but now I do everything with Ricoh laser devices.  I am actually in printer sales in my real job.  Keep in mind for surfboards we are generally using clear resin over a white background.  Tell us more about your process for producing this part and how much sun it will see.

I’m trying to put some graphics into a paddle blade. So it will see a lot of sun.  And the graphic needs to be able to withstand the molding process, it’s not just being applied on the surface afterwards.

What is your laser printer using for pigmentation?  I will assume it is not the wax-based coloration systems like the Xerox copier/printers at my workplace.

Weve had Epsons and HPS…

EPSONS print better and richer. but fall apart quickly.

The HP last longer but the quality isnt as good.

Unless you have a big 7 grand roll fed machine you are better off just ordering them.

Xerox is the only one in the industry using that crappy wax system.  The wax obviously wouldn’t work.  Ricoh and every other laser printer manufacturer uses a powder toner.  On the rice paper it gives really solid solids compared to ink jet.  Toner suspends on top of the surface of the paper while inkjet soaks into the paper.  I give a light coat of acrylic clear coat over the top of the print before lamination and am always careful to not over-work the resin on top of a logo as that’s what would cause you problems.  You can use either ink jet or modern laser (many older lasers used silicone oil that would cause problems).  I just have the advantage of having all the latest greatest printers at my disposal and can fix them if they break.  Also with anything new do some test panels before applying to your finished work!!!



Okay first of all you don’t want laserjet, you want inkjet. Laserjet will fade, inkjet will not if you have decent inks. I printed my lam using an Epson Artisan 1440 and an all-black ink pack that we use to make transparencies to burn screens for screen printing (obviously if you want colors you need a color pack). 


First, you want to get a pack of Super B size transparency films. These are going to be your mounting medium. Then, you buy your rice paper - I find the Fiberglass Hawaii paper to be the best as it is a little thicker and more cloth-like and therefore takes the ink better than your standard caligraphy-paper style rice paper. 


Place the transparency over the rice paper and trim the rice paper to about 2-3" larger than the Super B sheet on all sides. Then, start by folding over the two sides and taping them down to the transparency sheet with scotch tape (you want to do this as if you’re wrapping a present, same technique) You need to be sure to crease them nicely and tape them neatly and snug to the sheet. You want your rice paper to conform perfectly - too loose and it will get caught in the rollers, too tight and it will bow the transparency and most likely cause a jam. 

Then, repeat with the top and bottom, being sure to fold in the corners as well (just like a present). Once the paper has been taped down, tape it down again. You want to cover and bond any seams, so that there is nowhere on the sheet that has any kind of gap or opening. 

Then, you load you paper in (ONE SHEET AT A TIME!!) and print!

I would always reccomend printing from illustrator or indesign as they use vector-format imaging which gives you much higher quality and eliminates pixelation. For even better results, I recommend a program called Acurip (you can buy it at softwareforscreenprinters.com) which essentially optimizes the output for burning screens. This is helpful because when burning screens you must have zero light bleed on your design. Accurip closes the gaps created by printer heads and even lets you control the droplet size and weight of the ink output so you can lay the ink down heavier and darker in a single pass. 

Once printed, treat your artwork with a fixative (I remmcomend two treatments) to prevent ink bleeding and you’ll be good to go!


I’ll upload some photos once I get a chance. But here’s a picture of my logo so you can see the results:

Tape? Waste of time… energy and paper.

Screen printing plate adhesive. Mount the paper in 10 seconds. Better ink saturation. No chance of jams. Easy release. No waste


Right, but with spray adheisives you need to be careful because if you put it on too thick it wil absorb into the rice paper and you will be able to see it once you saturate the paper with resin, seen it a ton of times. When you call tape a “waste of time” you really need to think of it more relatively. Is it really a waste of time just because it adds about ten seconds to your process? And then lets say you do mount the paper to the film with a spray adheisive - then you need to trim the overhang off the edges  or have the sheet already cut PERFECTLY to size, and then you must PERFECTLY center it on the film or you will have overhang or undercut somewhere. Then lets say you do get it mounted perfectly, you need to make sure all the edges are completely sealed because even the slightest wrinkle or gap in the adheisive will create a weak point that can lift and separate. 


And your claim that it has “no chance of jams” yet also has “easy release” is completely contradictory - all it takes is one small lift and the whole page will release and jam. Not to mention you’re risking getting adheisive all over your rollers and printer heads which are no fun to clean off

Ive printed easily 500 sheets of super b this year.

Our sheets are 26 x 38. thats 4 equal pieces of super B. if you fold the paper in 4 and use your square and a razor blade. 2 cuts and you end up with 4 pieces just a hair smaller than the substrate. We use duraclear vs transparancies.

never seen an adhesive stick to the paper in any sort of quantity… It doesnt really even stick to the paper. I just stack them when they come off, the printed sheets dont stick to each other. Im sure if you sprayed it like a maniac you may have issues.

Platen adhesive is very light tack, peals off super easy.

Cant say ive ever had a jam.

never had to clean my rollers.

Running an Epson and HP.

Easy realease and no chance of jams isnt a contradiction,  just what ive experienced in 5 years of using the printers and platen adhesive.

10 seconds is still time. Although im pretty sure  its going to take you more than 10 seconds.

     I did printing on rice paper for years and about 300-400 a month on a Epson c series printer that used Durabrite inks. It is not an easy task to take on and after years of doing it I finally gave all the shapers their logos on discs and let them do their own if they wanted to. I would only have them done by a real screen printer now because you still will have problems with a colored blank because the inks arent opaque enough to block the board color. Aloha,Kokua

welcome to swaylocks Jessica


  nice to have a lady here , we had a few in the past , a couple made some boards …

I found any easy way to do it on the cheap (backyard style) was to place double sided tape in each corner of an a4 piece of paper then place a trimmed piece of rice paper on to it.

Get it all flat and they (usually) come out nice. In the long-run I rekon screen printed logos look way better. 

Funny thing is I use Laser now and mount my Rice Paper the way Aqua describes and I have no problems, but what do I know.  Back when I used to mount with tape I did have jamming problems and that’s precisely why I changed my method of mounting the paper.  Never had a laser logo fade either and they look better than inkjet any day.

The good lasers look way closer to screened than inkjet. Because of the density. Never seen a fading either.

Now you have printers that print white… that definitely helps.

Thanks for all the advice.  I recently got access to an Epson Stylus Pro 3880 so I’ll be trying that out first.

So I got some of the Fiberglass Hawaii paper today.  And I taped it carefully around a piece of card stock (don’t have the transparencies that you guys recommended yet) and ran it through the printer (epson stylus pro 3880).  No jamming or anything like that, seemed to run smoothly.  But there was a fair amount of ink smudging, especially around the edges of the piece of paper, not just right next to the print.  And loss of clarity where there were any fine lines close together.  I had just run the same print job on a basic white sheet of paper and it came out fine with no smudging or problems.   How do I prevent this smudging?



not trying to hijack, but I want to do a color photograph under the lam.

if anyone has any protips on how to pull that off, I would be greatly appreciative.

if I can make this work, the gent I’m building the board for will literally cry. I definitely want to make him cry…in a super happy stocked way.

I am in Los Angeles, will pay monies if anyone is interested in taking the gig.