Website Title: Bluevirus

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Printing on toilet tissue

 

Have you ever wonder if it's possible to print on toilet tissue?
Well, recently I had to make a ~5m long print on toilet tissue. In order to save you a lot of time and tissues and if you are planing to do the same I recommend you to follow these steps: 

  1. paper dimension
  2. define paper properties
  3. be creative
  4. create pdf
  5. convert to images
  6. do some handicrafts
  7. print it
Jump to Conclusion.

If you printer supports endless paper you may or may not change some steps. What you are going to need is

  • some software installed on your computer:
    • Word processing program to layout your paper like libreoffice
    • printing software like cups
    • bash
  • 1x normal papera
  • toilet tissue
  • sticky tape
  • a printer

 

  1. paper dimension

    First you have to find out the size of a piece of toilet paper. Mine has the dimension 99mm × 123mm
  2. define paper properties

    Open your word processing or other layouting program. There you have to define the custom paper dimension. Thus will give us the ability to layout each piece of toilet tissue seperatly as a normal paper.
    In libreoffice you can simply go to Format->Page... , select Page-Tab. Change format to custom and also change the width (=99mm), height (123mm) and the border (whatever, I used 1 cm).
  3. be creative

    Use your imagination to layout, design and fill up the tissue as you want.
  4. create pdf

    Convert the document to a pdf. Remember keeping the paper dimension is mandatory.
    In libreoffice you can simply use 'Export as PDF'.
  5. convert to images

    Before continuing we have to recapitulate what we are intending to do:
    We want to print the PDF on toilet tissue. It's obvious that we don't want to print each page apart from the others. But many printers (like mine: Canon MP620) do not support printing on endless paper. The way out might be the middle one. We are going to print severel pages at once and have to make those pieces as big as possible.
    So you have to do some research about your printers maximum paper length that is supported.
    My printer just didn't do nothing as I tried to print 5m at once. The printer driver for my windows pc revelead that custom paper should not extend 676mm length.

    To merge the pages toghether I've created a bash file. In order to make that working you have to install some additional software: pdftk, imagemagick.

    Now we also have to consider that you printer does not really like toilet tissue since it is not that stiff. My printer just wrapped and destroyed the paper. I've found out that a little piece of preceding normal paper with the same width will direct all the toilet tissue savely through to printer.

    Example: So lets say that we have the toilet tissue with the dimension of 99mm × 123mm of a single slice, the maximum printable paper length of 676m and we want to have 2cm (=20mm) preceding paper.
    First, you have to edit the bash file and change the lines 33 and 34 to: widthmm=99
    heightmm=126
    # I know it should be 123 but somehow my printer
                 #stretches the length when pulling it in
    Now we execute the script: ./toiletmerge.sh -i mydoc.pdf -m 676 -p 20
    With a maximum of 5 pages per sheet-set we need 8 sheet-sets. Preceding blank normal page length is 20mm.
    Merging ...
     [ ################################################################# ] 100 %
    done.
    Set sheet dimension in printer settings to 99mm x 630mm
    This will generate some images with the name mydoc_0.png, mydoc_1.png, etc... and give us some valuable information. We can read from the output that for the next step we need to prepare 8 sheet sets consisting of 5 toilet tissue slices.
  6. do some handicrafts

    As we know from the previous step, you need to cut the toilet tissue in some pieces. For each of that sheet-sets we also need to cut out a preceding paper . In our example it that has the height of 2cm and the same width as the toilet paper has. Now you have to stick the normal paper to the toilet paper with some sticky tape on the backside where no printing will be done.
  7. print it

    Now print the image to the paper. I used my favourite graphics editor.
    You may also use cups directly (but this is unconfirmed). But before that you may need to set the standard source to rear tray (not cassette) and replace <printerId> with the printed id. lp -d <printerId> -o PageSize=Custom.99x630mm -o fitplot mydoc_0.png
    Finally you have to stick all the papers together in the right order.

Conclusion

As you might have seen it is possible to do some printings on toilet tissues. However it is not recommended to do this to with a whole role. But with my 5 meters I had to do it was ok.

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For the past eight years after teaching toeilt paper food sculpture lessons to my university students and K-12 teachers and children from the region, as well as conducting several toeilt paper food sculpture workshops at state level art education conferences in Indiana and Kentucky, I wrote a book called Recipes for Sculpture: Toilet Paper Food Sculpture and More published by Kendall Hunt in 2011. It's a great how to book that includes step by step instructions with clear photographs to illustrate all steps from beginning to end. It even includes several templates for the novice sculptor. The ISBN # is 978-0-7575-8946-1. Check it out I think you'll enjoy it! Cordially, Camille M. Serre, Ph.D.