Altering photos to make Gocco screens

I have been doing a lot of this recently so I thought I’d write a post about it.  Basically, the idea is to use photos with high contrast and to use photo editing software to take all the grey out and just leave black and white.  When printed with a laser printer, the black areas are full of carbon which is heated up when the Gocco bulbs flash, then they stick to the Gocco screen, melt the plastic and expose the screen in those areas.

I use Paint Shop Pro 10.01 so these screenshots come from that.  You can use Photoshop and probably other software too.

This is one of the photos I used.

cottages in slate museum

They are some of the houses in the Slate Museum that we visited at Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales.  It has pretty good contrast – darks and lights.  I opened it in Paint Shop Pro and clicked on Adjust – Brightness and Contrast – Threshold.

screenshot of process

This was the first result I got from that.  I thought that was too dark so I decreased the number in the box a bit.


That was better (97 is the number in the box for this second try).


However, large dark areas do tend to get splotchy and detail gets lost so I thought I’d decrease it a bit more, to 81 in the box.  That was better, so here is the result:

cottages ready for Gocco print

I haven’t actually printed this yet but I’ll let you know how it works!  This one would be best for the hi-mesh framed screens for paper (though you could use them to print on fabric as well).  I have found myself mostly using the unframed film for repeat textures and patterns.  Here is one such example, a photo of an unusual manmade “waterfall” at Villandry in the Loire Valley in France where we holidayed last year.

villandry waterfall

This is the image I came up with after playing with it in Paint Shop Pro using the above process.  Again I haven’t actually printed it yet but I can see it giving an interesting texture on fabric…


If you’re looking for a Print Gocco machine and live in the UK, I still have some B6 machines to sell. I have sold all the PG10s, though.


  1. What an informative post, Liz. Thanks. And just for good measure – you have been nominated! Please see my blog.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this…great ideas! Now, to save up and buy a thermofax so I can do the same, but larger….

  3. Thanks for the tutorial,very informative, I have rung Guenther, a lovely man and the goodies sholud arrive tomorrow.I can see it is ging to be very addictive

  4. I found this post through the Gocco flickr group. Thanks for sharing such an informative article!

  5. That’s a great tutorial Liz! Now I have a little more time I’m starting to visit blogs again and thinking of ordering those bulbs at last too.

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