I love prints as an art form, but apart from some basic lino printing and screen printing I haven’t done any myself.
Print making seems a bit of a daunting thing to try, requiring expensive equipment and space. I’ve always particularly wanted to try dry point etching, so I got really excited when I saw an artist on Twitter talking about PRINTING AN ETCHING WITH A PASTA MACHINE! Gosh.
Naturally I rushed out to buy one. Luckily my local cookshop had a modest one on sale and I got some sheets of flexible clear plastic from a nearby model shop.
You will need:
- A pasta machine
- Flexible plastic sheets (preferably clear)
- Block printing ink
- An old cloth or rag
This is what I did:
1. Cut your plastic sheets to size
The plastic sheets I bought were A4, so I cut them up so that they were small enough to feed through the pasta machine. They don’t need to be clear, but it’s handy if you want to trace over a drawing.
2. Scratch your design on
I scratched my design with a pointed implement I found in an old box of tools. I’ve no idea what it’s really for. Any pointed tool you can comfortably hold should work.
3. Ink your design
I used block printing ink as it was available. It worked fine. I’m going to try printing with acrylic paint with a drying retardant mixed in. I found the best way to ink the design was to rub the ink into the scratches with a cloth, then rubbing of the excess with a dry cloth.
4. Soak your paper in water and pat dry
I printed onto cartridge paper, as I had some. Soak it in water for a few minutes first and pat dry. You’ll need to experiment with how wet the paper needs to be.
5. Layer your paper
Put your wet piece of paper onto a fresh dry sheet of paper on some felt.
6. Place your design onto the paper
Place the inked side of your plastic onto your wet paper and fold everything in half. Be sure to keep a firm grip of your plastic design plate throughout the whole process.
7. Feed through the pasta machine!
Wind the handle! You’ll need to guide the bottom end so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the machine as it emerges.
This is what I made: