Golden Digital Grounds

Golden Digital Grounds are a medium for coating a material then printing on the material using an ink-jet printer for a unique and different way to create art and broaden your creative horizons.

Ease of Use, Performance: 20/25
Look & Feel: 24/25
Features 24/25
How much I enjoy 24/25

Total: 92/100

Golden Digital Grounds

Golden is a professional art supply company specializing in artist colors including acrylic paints and a wide range of gesso’s and other painting products for artists. Golden has been in the artist supply business as a company since 1980 but has a history going back to 1950.

Sam Golden created some of the first acrylic paints including a product called Aquatec and continued to produce fine acrylic paints for years. After a brief attempt at retirement he continued creating artists paints and now the company sells a wide range of paints and mediums.

Golden Digital Grounds are a paintable medium that covers porous and nonporous surfaces for ink-jet printing using either the Non Porous, Gloss or White(matte). The mediums cover the material but you will have to use the correct medium according to the surface you want to print on as well as ensure a complete coverage using two or more coats.

Golden Digital Grounds work with thin materials like paper, fabrics, foils and very thin woods but it needs to be thin enough to run through your printer. Examples I could think of or found on the internet are fabric like silks and canvas, watercolor paper, rice paper, leather and wallpaper.

Your imagination is about the limit but you have to be able to fit the material and the backing paper if needed through your printer. When you decide to start experimenting with a Golden Digital Ground you need to take a good look at your printer and how the paper feeds through it as well as the general design of the printer.

The Golden website has a great explanation for all this on their website in a product information sheet and instructions but the main points you need to worry about is a feed from the back ink jet printer and flatness. Your printer needs to allow your material to feed through the printer as easily as possible and this mainly means a printer that feeds the paper from the back or top and not the front.

If the paper has to be fed from the front and go around a roller that is about an inch in diameter this means your paper or material is turning a pretty tight corner. For some things like a rice paper or other paper like material this may not be a problem but for most things, especially anything you tape to a carrier sheet it may not work.

I found several models of Epson, Canon and HP printers that feed from the back and would work well for this use, my Epson Stylus Photo R280 worked just fine. Other models that feed from the back or through the top would probably work well but I would not even try any that have a front feed or turn sharp corner using rollers.

Once you have your printer and Digital Grounds you need to choose an appropriate material and this is where the fun and imagination can take place. I used a couple of different cloths and fabrics, paper that worked well and also tried a thin sheet of balsa wood that did not work.   

Mainly if the material can travel through the printer it probably will print on but for things that get thicker than about 1/32 on an inch it may not feed. You can find birch sheets in 1/64 inch thick pieces at hobby stores and craft stores which may go through your printer.

The balsa wood I tried did not make it through, the printer actually stopped the balsa wood but the paper carrier did start to make it through. Other materials are simple to just tape down to a plain piece of paper around the edges then paint a couple times with the Digital Ground.

All you need to do for taping is ensure the tape in on the three sides you are feeding into the printer so the head does not catch on edges as it prints. Once on a carrier piece of paper you simply paint side to side and let dry then paint top to bottom to ensure complete coverage.

Printing is as simple as printing a regular photo or image from your computer or printer and using the common glossy or premium paper settings for the best image you can get on your new material. I had great results on canvas and fabrics but for common canvas it may be cheaper to just purchase the print on canvas you can buy.

I saw a demonstration of the Golden Digital Grounds by a representative of Golden at an art store, which is how I found out about the product. She printed on wall paper, several different papers like rice paper and specialty papers used for calligraphy as well as fabrics.

You can use the Golden Digital Grounds for a wide range of crafts and photography projects and even scrapbooking and photo albums. Printing on a variety of surfaces and creating a unique set of pictures like a wedding or graduation collage would be one idea and there are so many different things that this really does make your imagination the only limit.

Printing on aluminum foil and a canvas as well as a nice paper and a regular glossy printer paper would make a fantastic collage for a wedding, family portrait or graduation set. There really is no limits but your imagination for printing on a wide variety of mediums and Golden allows you the chance with Digital Grounds.

You can find the Golden Digital Grounds at some art supply stores in 8, 16, 32 and 128 ounce bottles as well as a kit with two or three of the varieties. To give an idea of price I found the Digital Grounds kit of three 2 ounce bottles and two Gel topcoats for finishing your project at a local art supply store called ArtMaterials for $27.

An 8 ounce bottle costs about $17 for any of the three types and can be found at local and internet stores as well as the Golden website. Golden has a great variety of ideas and instructions so check out the Golden website for more information, dealer locations near you of the Digital Grounds products and more.

Golden Digital Grounds Webpage

Digital Grounds Information Sheet