Thermofax Printing & Heat Press

thermofax prints with flock and foilScheduled 2018 dates:
Sun 5 August

11:30am – 5:30pm

Venue: INTRA
Suitable for ages 14+
Class size 8 max

Make a lightweight thermofax / Gocco screen from your own artwork using this super easy screen printing method. Print onto fabric, paper, a t-shirt or a tote bag and experiment with flock and foil finishes using a heat press. Then take the screen home for more printing!

‘Thermofax’ screens can be made with the Print Gocco system using a flash of bright light to make a stencil on a heat sensitive film. The method of printing is very similar to regular screen printing but with lighter frames and squeegees. It’s a great for artwork with line art and solid colour, only takes a few minutes to make up a screen, and offers an instant solution for screen printing smaller work.

The screens last well, are very easy to store, and can be reused again and again. Use your screen to print party invites, t-shirts, birthday cards, bags, fabric, stationery and wrapping paper etc.

In this workshop led by Xtina Lamb, you’ll expose the heat sensitive screen mesh with your own artwork, stretch it on a plastic frame, then print onto textiles using a squeegee and one ink colour at a time. You’ll see some of Xtina’s extensive Gocco machine collection, and use a Riso Screenfax to expose your screen.

Making thermofax screens

thermofax prints, some with foil effects

Workshop includes:

  • Create and keep a thermofax screen
  • Use your own artwork or source an image from the studio’s design library
  • Print onto paper, card or textiles
  • Compare Gocco, Screenfax and thermofax machines
  • Add foil and flock effects to your prints with a heat press
  • Troubleshooting tips
  • Look at examples of Gocco / Thermofax work

It’s a small group so you’ll have individual attention, and all the materials are included in the price. No printing experience is necessary.

Textile print of flies with heatpress foil effect


  • Pay by phone 01634 753299
  • Pay by cash or cards in person at INTRA

If you have any questions about the course or payment, please call or send us an email.


On booking you will be sent details of the types of artwork that work best with this system. You can bring along artwork to use or create or copy something on the day. The general rule is to use clear black and white lineart with good contrast, and avoid grey tones and shading. You can bring along images on a memory stick, or print outs at roughly A6 (postcard) size. If you don’t have your own design to work with, you can pick something from the studio’s design library with hundreds of illustrated and vintage books.


Please give us as much notice as possible if you are not able to come to a course that you have booked. If you cancel with seven or more days notice, we will reschedule or refund your booking. For cancellations less than seven days before the workshop date – we may be able to offer you a discount on a future booking, but please note that we have to cover space, preparation and tutor costs and if you cancel at the last minute we still have to pay for these.

Print Gocco kit for screen printing

Riso SP-180 and SP-275 Screenfax machines

What are Thermofax and Print Gocco?

‘Thermofax’ is often used as a generic term for systems that use the same heat sensitive mesh as Print Gocco. It is popular for printing on textiles, but is also used to make self-inking rubber stamps. Thermofax machines can only process the less fine grades of mesh (70 – 100 thread) and the mesh is fed through the machine on rollers. When using thermofax machines to make screens, line art is more successful than blocked areas of colour, but thermofax screens made with a Riso Screenfax can cope very well with both types of artwork.

Print Gocco is a small scale system for making short runs of about 200 or 300 postcard sized prints inside a machine that easily fits on a kitchen table. It is commonly used with oil based inks, but you can also make screens to print with water-based inks and a squeegee. The system uses a fine mesh (70 – 200 thread) with a heat sensitive coating and when it is exposed with carbon-based artwork, a stencil is created instantly. Gocco machines use flash bulbs that have to be discarded after use, but Riso Screenfax machines have bulbs that can be re-used thousands of times.

Print Gocco was hugely popular for home use in the 80s in Japan, where there is a tradition of hand making New Year’s cards. Sadly the production of machines and supplies has stopped and the future of Gocco is uncertain. Xtina Lamb is one of a handful of UK-based Gocco printers to run courses. She has collected equipment and supplies that will allow her to use the Gocco machines and run workshops for many years to come.

Gocco / thermofax screen printed tote bags

Gocco / thermofax screen printed tote bags

3 thoughts on “Thermofax Printing & Heat Press

  1. Hello Xtina, can you advise me on where to get a thermofax machine in the UK. I understand you can use tattoo transfer machines for this ourpose but want to make sure I dont buy he wrong one.

    Many thanks Sue Jones

    • Hi Susan
      There are no manufacturers of suitable thermofax machines in the UK that I know of. You can buy a Panenka thermofax machine from Germany or second hand, but I don’t advise it as this needs the blue ‘S’ type Riso mesh and that has been discontinued so their usefulness is limited now for screen printing. Only the white type for the GoccoPro machines is still being made by Riso. You can still buy the blue type in some places but it’s getting harder. Don’t buy a random tattoo spirit master machine as it’s unlikely to work. Some of the old 3M machines work with the new mesh, and if you can find a Riso Screenfax or XspresScreen Screen Maker 1000 those work with it too. I’ll be selling my Panenka machine to a tattooist when I can no longer get the blue mesh, and I’m switching to the white mesh for use with my Screenfax machine for most thermofax screens now.

      • Quick update – I’m now selling my A3 Panenka Thermofax machine. It’s the larger of the two German-made machines, and can be used to make screen printing stencils or tattoo spirit masters for transferring designs to the skin. The machine has a UK power supply. You can still buy the blue mesh at the moment to make screens, though I’m not sure how long it will be until the supply runs out, so it would be best to buy as much as you can afford. Spirit masters are still easily available. Get in touch if you are interested, it’ll be going on eBay soon.


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