Tips & Tricks
Here you will find lots of practical information and advice on how to make Paper Saver Ink meet your needs. The ink isn’t magic, nor is it perfect. You’ll be better off understanding its limitations and making your own decisions about when it does and doesn’t make sense to print with Paper Saver Ink.
- The ink is available in only one color – purple. All your printing will be monochrome, “purple and white”.
- Printing will erase more slowly (last longer) on plain paper than on ColorLok® paper. ColorLok paper has a coating which reacts with Paper Saver ink causing it to erase a bit faster.
- When we say printing we also mean copying. Most printers can do both.
- Documents that are needed in paper form only temporarily are ideal for Paper Saver ink. These might include anything that is more efficiently read or reviewed on paper than on a screen. Whatever is in you paper recycling bin that was printed or copied only a few days ago would be a good candidate.
- If a page erases before you are done reading it, just print it again.
- If you have printed a page but are not ready to read it immediately you can slow down the erasing by covering it with something to reduce air flow (see the next section on Erasing for explanation).
- There are some pens with disappearing ink available that you can use for marking corrections or taking notes. These can be purchased online. You can scan or photograph or photocopy the page to preserve the notes for longer periods.
- It’s OK to use a regular pen to write on a page printed with Paper Saver ink. You won’t be able to re-use that particular sheet of paper as new paper, but you can still recycle it. If you print 10 pages with Paper Saver ink, and write on 2, you can still reuse 8 sheets of paper, and have saved the carbon equivalent of driving half a mile.
- The ink absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) and water from the air. These react with the ink to make it gradually lose its color. The ink remains on the paper, but is colorless.
- Ink will erase faster in humid air than in dry air.
- The darker the ink on the paper, the longer it will take to erase. Lighter areas will erase faster than darker areas. Text with thinner letters will erase faster than text with thicker letters.
- The amount of airflow or air exposure influences how fast the ink erases. The fastest erasing in a stack of paper occurs on the exposed surface of the top sheet. Air does flow through paper, but slowly. A printed sheet placed face-down on a table will erase.
- In a stack of paper, the top 5 or so sheets will erase in a reasonable amount of time, with the top sheet erasing first and the 5th sheet erasing last. The rest of the stack will erase eventually but it could take many months in some cases.
- It can be helpful to use paper trays to store paper while it is erasing. For example you might use a set of 6 stacking trays. Use the top tray to receive paper ready for erasing, not worrying about the stack height. Use the bottom tray to store paper that is fully erased. Use the middle trays for 1-5 sheets of paper that are partially erased. When sheets from a middle tray are fully erased, move them to the bottom tray, and refill with 1-5 sheets from the top tray.
Use whatever trays you like. Here is a link to the trays we have been using in our lab. These particular trays stack completely vertically so you can added more sets on top if desired. The stack in our R&D lab is 30 trays high! (Disclosure: If you use the link to buy, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases).
- Don’t try to be perfect and reprint every sheet of paper forever. If paper has wrinkles or folds or staples, recycle it or use it for scratch paper. It’s not worth risking a paper jam in your printer or copier.
- If a particular sheet is not fully erasing, perhaps because it had solid black graphics, recycle it or use it for something else.
- You can re-use paper before it is fully erased. You may be able to still see faint traces of letters on paper but once you reuse it you will only see the new ink or new printing.
- You can reuse paper for permanent printing with a laser printer/copier or with inkjet.
- There’s no limit to how many times you can reuse a sheet of paper as long as it is not wrinkled.
- Since the erased ink remains on the paper, when you print over it again with Paper Saver ink, the ares that had ink before will be darker than other areas. This is not perceivable when printing text because the line widths of the letters are so small. However, if you print a photograph with Paper Saver ink over erased text the text will re-appear and be readable.
- Paper Saver ink does provide a little security for sensitive documents because the content disappears. However, if you know it’s there, it can be recovered by applying the right chemicals. Text from a page that had been printed only once could be recovered and read easily. Text from a page that had been printed 10 times would be harder to recover because many letters would overlap.
- To be safe, treat Paper Saver ink the same way you would treat normal printer ink. Don’t get it in your eyes. Don’t let it get on your skin, and if it does, wash it off immediately. Don’t let people play with it. It is much more concentrated than the Disappearing Ink sold for other purposes.