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Thermo-Fax or Thermofax is an old technology developed by 3M in the 1950s. The machines generated the masters used to print mimeograph copies but became obsolete with the widespread use of photocopiers and computers. Many machine have been ‘reclaimed’ by textile artists and tattoo artists to make thermofax screens or tattoo stencils respectively. Original machines are now rare but new machines are being manufactured in Germany. The thermofax screens supplied by Thermofax Screens are made using a modern machine. The thermofax printing process is particularly good for reproducing images or textural marks that would be difficult and expensive to produce using other screen methods such as photo emulsion.
Ready-made thermofax screens can be ordered securely online. Browse the designs and click on the thumbnail images to see a larger image and the size and price details of each design.
Click the Add To Basket button for the items you wish to purchase. You can see and edit the items in your shopping basket at any time by clicking the Show Basket button.
When you have finished shopping click the Go to Checkout button and follow the instructions. At the checkout you can pay with credit or debit cards or Paypal. For more information on this see How do I pay?
Note on copyright - ready-made thermofax screens are copyright free for personal use (this includes the exhibition and/or sale of single, individual items such as quilts, textile pieces, scarves etc). If you wish to use Thermofax Screens ready-made designs for commercial purposes please contact us.
You can order by post. Make a note of the name of each item you wish to order and then print a copy of the order form. Complete the form and post it to Thermofax Screens with your payment. The address, postal charges and other details can be found on the order form (PDF).
You can supply artwork to be made into custom thermofax screens. Please note that you can order and pay for the screens through the website but you will need to send your images separately via post or email. Step-by-step instructions for preparing your images and ordering custom screens can be found here.
Written or printed words such as your own handwriting, computer printed text, postcards, letters, recipes, certificates, maps, school reports etc make excellent screens. Graphic marks made with all sorts of tools can also make very good screens – anything from fine spidery lines to more substantial marks. These can be photocopied or scanned and then reduced or enlarged to make interesting images. Sketches, doodles and children’s drawing are all suitable as images along with rubbings of textured surfaces and photocopies of items like grasses, seedheads, threads, rice or lentils. Photographs can also be a good source of imagery but will usually benefit from some digital manipulation in a photo program such as Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. Whatever your source, the images you send should be positive, and black and white.
Important note on copyright: if you wish to use artwork or photographs that you do not own, please make sure that they are copyright free or that you have permission for their use. It may be a copyright infringement to reproduce someone else’s work even if it is in a different medium or has been altered in some way.
Textile screen inks are available to buy from Thermofax Screens. The inks are water-based, ready to use straight from the pot and only require heat setting with an iron to make them permanent. Colours can be intermixed and can also be made more transparent by adding transparent extender base. Detailed instructions for use are supplied with orders for textile screen inks, or you can download this handy factsheet: Textile Screen Inks (PDF).
Other products suitable for use with thermofax screens include Procion MX dyes that have been thickened with sodium alginate (Manutex). You can also print with discharge paste to remove colour from cloth, with glue or fabric size for metal foil application and with products like Fibre-Etch for devoré effects.
Find out more about with this handy factsheet: Print Media (PDF).
You will need a suitable surface to print on. This should be neither too hard, nor too soft. Two layers of felt, stretched and stapled over some plywood would be perfect but you could improvise with an old blanket or similar. The print surface should be covered with a drop cloth to absorb excess media and to prevent the image from blurring. The drop cloth could be calico, cotton drill or even an old bed sheet but it should be washable – especially important after using dye paints.
You will also need a suitable squeegee. Standard silkscreen squeegees are too aggressive for use with a thermofax screen. You can order a suitable squeegee with your thermofax screen or alternatively you can use a rubber edged grouting tools (available from DIY stores).
Instructions for the use and care of thermofax screens are supplied with each screen order. You can also download the instructions here: How to use you Thermofax Screen (PDF).
With care you will get hundreds of prints from a thermofax screen. However, they do not last forever. The media you use, how often you use them (eg repeatedly for long sessions or sporadically) and how carefully they are washed and dried will all affect their longevity and eventually the screen will break down.
Once the image is beyond further use, the mesh can be cut out and the frame reused with a new image - see the price list for details of replacement imaged mesh. The mesh is supplied with instructions ready for you to attach to your old frame.
You can order gift vouchers online or by mail order. To order gift vouchers online, choose the value of the voucher from the drop-down menu, fill in the recipient information and add to your basket. To order by mail order, print an order form (PDF), fill in the value of the voucher(s) required and include the recipient's email address if you wish the voucher to be sent to them directly.
A gift voucher with a unique ID code will be emailed to the recipient or to you if you prefer to give the voucher personally. If you want the voucher to be posted, please indicate this on your order. There is no p+p charge for vouchers.
To redeem a gift voucher online, add the products you want to buy to your basket as usual. Type your voucher ID code in the space provided and click recalculate. The value of the voucher will be deducted from the total and you can then proceed to checkout to pay the balance.
To redeem a gift voucher by mail order, fill in an order form (PDF) as usual, calculate the postage and then deduct the value of the voucher from the total. You must include the voucher ID code in the space provided.
Please note that vouchers must be redeemed in full so the value of your order must equal or exceed the value of the voucher.
Credit and debit card payments – for online orders, choose the debit or credit card payment option and follow the instructions on the secure checkout pages. For mail order, complete the card details in the space on the order form (PDF). Your card will not be charged until your order is processed.
Paypal – choose the Paypal option and follow the instructions on the secure checkout pages.
Cheque – payment can be made with a GBP (£) cheque made payable to Thermofax Screens. Send the cheque and your completed order form (PDF) to the address on the form.
BACS or IBAN payment – see the order form (PDF) for details if you wish to make an internet bank payment. Please note that your order will not be processed until payment has been received. You will also need to send details of your order, including delivery address, by email or post.
Orders will be processed and despatched as quickly as possible. Generally speaking, an order for ready-made screens will be despatched slightly quicker than an order for custom screens. Most orders will be despatched within 3 to 5 days of their receipt and we will notify you if there is any undue delay in processing. The delivery time will depend on the destination and method of despatch – please see How will my order be sent?
UK orders will be sent by the most appropriate mail service. As a general guide, small orders will be sent by Royal Mail First Class in the UK and by Royal Mail Airmail to Europe and the rest of the world. Please note, tracking is not available with the standard Royal Mail services. Large orders and parcels weighing more than 2kg may be sent by one of the courier services. If you have special delivery requirements please contact us for more information.
If you wish, you can collect your order from The Bramble Patch, West Street, Weedon, Northamptonshire NN7 4QU. There is no charge for this service so if you choose this option at the checkout, no delivery charge will be added to your order and an email will be sent to you when your order is ready to collect from The Bramble Patch.
If you order online the delivery charges will be automatically calculated according to the weight of the items selected and the destination. If you prefer to order by post, you will find the postage costs on the downloadable order form (PDF)
Please note that if you are ordering from outside the UK or the EU you may be required to pay customs duty.
Contact us you have a question not covered on this page.
Order forms should be posted to:
Thermofax Screens, Foxley Farm, Foxley, Towcester, Northamptonshire NN12 8HP, United Kingdom