Edit: I would like to know how to make InkAid or something similar from raw materials, so that it can be converted into an aerosol or just handled better.

Regular paper is cheap, but photopaper costs a LOT! Likewise, transparency film, used for old projectors, is usually made from just ethyl acetate, and is really cheap. But in transparency film for Inkjet printers, a special coating is applied to this film help absorption, just like in photopaper. Again, the price goes up a lot with this coating. Apparently this special coating raises the price of paper a lot. It's also difficult to find a good DIY instructable online for how to make this coating and how to apply it.

Apparently this coating may be known as a "receptor layer". This site classifies them into two types: "particle" and "polymer".

Very broadly, it says that a layer can be made of one of any of the following materials:

  • Particle: Silica, Alumina
  • Polymer: Cellulose, gellatin, Polyvinyl alcohol

It would be cool if you could spin one of these materials into an ink. Then you could start with regular printer paper, and print a full-color sheet with one of these inks. You'd get out photo paper / transparency film. And you'd save a lot of money!

But it would also be cool if you could just turn any regular paper into photopaper.

Does anyone know of any mixtures of these chemicals that could improve ink absorption of transparency film or regular printer paper?

This Photo stackexchange post describes some solutions but not how to make them: How can I make my own coatings for handmade paper for inkjet printing?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This is outside of the norm for questions normally asked here at Photo-SE, but it's certainly interesting! I look forward to seeing where this goes with answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 23:42

3 Answers 3


I worked in the HP inkjet division they spend hundreds of millions developing the pens and films used on papers and for the transparency’s. It sounds like a cool idea but creating a uniform coating that is compatible with the ink that that will dry without smearing and provide the resolution that the printer is capable of is a tall order.

Trying to add them to the ink will probably clog the nozzles of the print head, if you have cartridges with a new print head you could give it a try but many of the refiller kits create leaks and damage the printers .

Can it be done possibly , but I doubt it as the mechanism to create the jet of ink is a simple very tiny resistor that actually boils the ink and squirts it through an orifice. A change in the viscosity will change the droplet size and the refill rate. Additional materials if particulate will quickly plug the ink Chanel’s , these Chanel’s are very tiny some of the newer ones are created with lasers, Many of the older pens were created with abrasive profiling using 25 or 50 micron sand depending on the type of pen those wafers were cleaned many times because the residue would cause failures.

So it sounds neat but probably will not really work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ HP printers heat a very small amount of ink so that it creates a small bubble than then implodes which creates a pressure wave that ejects the droplet. Only a very small percentage of the ink gets heated. The surface tension in the ink is absolutely critical for this to work. Also, you should spell channel as "channel" not "Chanel" which makes perfume. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 18:23

I can't comment on how well InkAid works, but it wouldn't be too expensive to try it out. What I will say is that a device for providing a uniform coating is called a "coating rod" or "Mayer rod". It is a metal rod with a winding of wire. Depending on the wire gauge, you can obtain different coating thicknesses. Here and here are two sites which sell such things. I'm sure there are many others. The second link in particular describes how they work. Evidently InkAid suggests their use and sells some.

As for trying to make an ink jet ink, I seriously doubt you will be successful. Ink jet ink is a very highly engineered product. Earlier in my career I attempted to ink jet biological materials and getting a formulation to work was really tough even with the aid of PhD chemists.


Since posting this question, I have gotten halfway there with two possibilities:

But I have no experience with actually using these products. In particular I'm curious if it is really worth it to purchase InkAid or not. Versus making something like it yourself

  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems more like another question rather than an answer. This isn’t a forum. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ An answer to one question can pose a question to another. InkAid and RabbitSkin glue can be considered DIY because you have to apply it yourself \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 16:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That isn’t how this site works. If you want to ask a new question. It has to posted separately as a question, not embedded in an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 16:33

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