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Edible Ink

Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, it now seems like it is worth a thousand bites also. Eating something that comes out of a printer seems to be a little out in left field for some, but the folks at some of the major printer companies (HP, Canon, and Epson) have created edible ink. With their technology and your imagination, there are no limits. Now just think for a minute - let those creative juices start flowing - see you already have some cool ideas, don't you? Before you get carried away and rip the inkjet cartridges out of your printer, let's look at this a bit closer to better understand the process as a whole before you get started.

What is Edible Ink?

Have you ever taken a bite of a cake with a photo on the top of it? If so you have eaten edible ink. The printer ink comes in many colors, but so far there are no flavors.

Cakes have been the main focus of the edible ink craze. Although, there are some people getting very creative and using it on cookies, cupcakes, and candy to name just a few of the places this ink is showing up. How about tattoos? Next time you have a party for youngsters let them create tattoos using the edible ink and wafer paper. Don't like the tattoo - no problem - a lick will take care of it.

A Quick History Lesson

Edible ink and the printer partnered up in 2003. The cake decorating industry has made great strides using the edible ink and turned it into a nice profitable corner of their business. With the use of wafer paper (usually made from rice or starch) even complex designs can find their way onto a cake or cupcake or cookie.

There are other applications for the edible ink, though. Specialty pens filled with edible ink are now available. Think of what you could create with a pen and stencil! Looking like a professional artist takes little time because any flubs are wiped or licked away. Outlines disappear once they come in contact with moisture. So goodbye outlines and hello work of art!

A Few Safety Tips

Before you start printing, though, you need to consider the really - really - really important safety stuff. Do not use your regular printer for edible ink. Printer ink is toxic! To help us get off to a safe start, the folks at Canon have put together a starter kit. The Cannon iP 3500 Edible starter kit is one reasonably priced choice. If you insist on dismantling your regular printer and cleaning it up so it is safe for edible ink, it is certainly possible, but you must remember to clean or replace the print head. The bottom line, though, is that you don't bother cleaning up your old printer because the kits are so reasonable, and you know they're safe from the outset. By the way, the FDA regulates the making of the edible ink. Once a printer has been used for edible ink it should never be used for regular printing.