Diy Edible Printing

Decorating By Kakie Updated 19 Jan 2013 , 7:49am by dontjoice

Kakie Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 12:54pm
post #1 of 18

I'd like to do my own edible printing, but the printers are rather expensive (£150 + inks) which would take me a long time to recoup the price.

Reconditioned printers (exactly the same model required to fit edible ink cartridges) sell really cheaply on ebay, but they'll have had normal ink used in them; apparently the ink can be cleaned out / flushed through, does anybody know how??


Any advice along these lines would be appreciated.


Thanks, Katie

17 replies
leah_s Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 4:53pm
post #2 of 18

Reconditioned is not a good idea.  But ANY printer that will accept the edible ink cartridges will do.  I bought a couple over the years at my local office supplies store for cheap.

Spuddysmom Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 5:37pm
post #3 of 18

In the long run, it is not the printer but the ink and paper which will be your biggest expense. In the USA, edible ink friendly  printers are relatively inexpensive and food safe - buy a new one.

BakingIrene Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 6:33pm
post #4 of 18

Brand new printers on for 15 pounds, and you can then sell off the regular ink cartridges.  FYI the edible inks only come in black-cyan-magenta-yellow so you are NOT looking for a higher quality photo printer with 6 or 8 cartridges.


Buy one set of refillable edible cartridges, and edible ink in bottles of at least 100mL.  Only buy the "gold" quality as lower quality ink will cause more waste of edible sheets.  Overseas shipping of the highest quality may be economical in the long run.


Finally you can sell just printed edible sheets to other bakers.  Good supplementary source of revenue.   

Kakie Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 8:04pm
post #5 of 18

That's good advice about buying the best ink! How do I know what brands are best & which to avoid?


I htink one of my problems is that in the UK we have a lot more VAT on everything we buy compared to you guys i the US, everything is depressingly expensive here in comparison!


Plus the fact that ink cartidges are only suitable for certain printers limits matters, I only know of a supply of cartridges that suits canon printers.


Why isnt reconditioned a good idea?


Do please post a link if any one knows of a Uk source of a cheap printer that's suitable for edible inks!


I've just found out that some canon printers arent compatible with Mac software, which further complicates matters!

BakingIrene Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 8:11pm
post #6 of 18

Reconditioned printers are not an option because they had the non-edible ink run through them. It cannot ever be all cleaned out.


We pay tax here too (for our national healthcare) but the printers run half of what you were quoted.  The four-colour are low end and ebay is as good a source as any. You can find any 4-colour printer compatible with Mac and then buy empty refillable cartridges for it on ebay.


For brands of edible ink, look at or for information.  


I don't know if there is a reputable UK brand of edible ink. Read the reviews if you find any online listings.  You are looking for "ultrafiltered".

Kakie Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 12:18pm
post #7 of 18

That's useful advice, thank you Irene, so to get a good quality print I should look for a printer that holds more than 4 inks and ultra filtered ink?


I'll let you know what I find! Thank you.



BakingIrene Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 2:04pm
post #8 of 18
Originally Posted by Kakie 

so to get a good quality print I should look for a printer that holds more than 4 inks and ultra filtered ink?



No, sorry, you must look ONLY for printers that use four inks.


They will print photos very well for cakes because the sugar sheets impose some limitation.


But there are ONLY four edible ink colors.

Dayti Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 2:21pm
post #9 of 18

I got a Canon MG5150 from these guys in Germany: I also got bottles of their edible ink to refill the cartridges. This printer has 5 cartridges but there are 2 black ones (the others are yellow, cyan, magenta). They are pretty fast to ship, I also get my paper from there. On the top right of the page is the button to change the language to English. Hope that helps!

Kakie Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 3:34pm
post #10 of 18

Ah I see, I was a little confused about the 2 black colours for a moment! ;)


$109 is a good deal, the best comparable deal I can find is £ GBP!


Just looking at it though and I'm now concerned about shelf life, it says the colours only last about 9-12 months, whereas I only do about 1 print per month, so worried it would block up and turn faulty on me because it's not in use enough?

BakingIrene Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 4:10pm
post #11 of 18

With various brands of inkjet printers, I know that it suffices to print one sheet per week to keep the heads clean without wasting ink on the "head clean" cycle.


If you print that much less, then you would be better off paying somebody else for that one sheet a month.


Or else set up to print edible sheets for other people--you only need to print 3 sheets per month for $$$ to keep the printer in fine condition.


The refillable cartridges can also be refilled halfway. 

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 5:05pm
post #12 of 18

The only sure ways to completely remove all traces of non-edible ink, without replacing enough parts to cost more than a completely new printer, would also turn the printer into a large paperweight.


Which is to say that the first rule of edible printing is that the printer designated for that purpose is never to be used with any other kind of ink. And the second rule of edible printing is that the printer designated for that purpose is never to be used with any other kind of ink.


No picture on a cake is worth making anybody even a little bit sick (q.v., the Disco Dust thread).


(And since I [1] don't allow inkjet printers in the house, and [2] use maybe 3-4 sheets of edible images per year, at most, and generally gang the images to make the best use of the media, I just drop $9-10 at the local cake supply when I need one made up.)

Kakie Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 5:16pm
post #13 of 18

Well, I was so nearly there with the purchase, until I spotted about the frequency of use problem!

Like the idea of selling the prints, but then creating the market for it is another problem in itself.

Thank you everyone for all your advice, I'll keep the advice safe in case my needs do increase.!



chollyhale Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 5:33pm
post #14 of 18

I print about as often as you and I just order my sheets individually, as needed. There are quite a few other bakers selling individual sheets online, or local cake stores sometimes do it too. It's easy and you can just add the cost of the printed sheet to your cake quote. 

Cakesvillenl Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 5:53pm
post #15 of 18

I would suggest that you surf the internet for suppliers of the edible ink first and they will give you the names of the printers that they are compatible with.  You can then find the printer that you can afford knowing that you can buy the colour.  Also you must have a dedicated printer, which means that it can only be used for the one purpose ie. solely for edible colour or solely for normal inks.  You can never interchange as the chemicals in the normal printing inks can cause sickness or allergic reactions.  I agree with some of the other replies that if you are only printing 1 per month it makes them very expensive and will be a few years before you see any return on your investment. 

Dayti Posted 16 Jan 2013 , 12:03am
post #16 of 18

I was totally against edible printers before I got mine. I really only got it because it made sense for things like corporate cupcake orders...I can print a zillion logos waaaay faster than I can make them out of anything else edible, and more accurately too. I actually use it now for all sorts of decos. Or make up a whole sheet of patterns and punch shapes out with craft punches. Make patterned ribbons to go around your cake. I think the only thing I haven't done with it is print someones photo to stick on a cake. Right now you think you'll only use it once a month, but when you get it you'll think of other things to do with it and then wonder how you lived without it.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 16 Jan 2013 , 12:36am
post #17 of 18

I second the part about (so far) not putting anybody's face on a cake: my first edible image order was a picture of a trophy and an International Printing Museum logo (and I had them printed in duplicate, and the spares may still be usable for this year's Leland Award ceremony, although I'd like to get a better trophy pix . . .) . And the second was a slightly-doctored picture of a speed limit sign, along with a couple more IPM logos (never know when they might come in handy). And I expect to use it for other non-photographic things as well, given that my piping skills are those of a novice.


But in my case, the fact thatI bake for family, friends, colleagues, and the Printing Museum. Not for hire. If I throw out an egg carton with fewer than half a dozen left unused, I've been doing a lot of baking. Not only would I not reach a break-even point on doing my own edible printing; I'd keep digging myself deeper into the hole.


But my situation is not the OP's situation. She has to decide for herself what's the most cost-effective.

dontjoice Posted 19 Jan 2013 , 7:49am
post #18 of 18

The only sure ways to completely remove all traces of non-edible ink, without replacing enough parts to cost more than a completely new printer, would also turn the printer into a large paperweight.



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