Category Archives: Tools and Materials

Posts about the history and science behind certain printmaking tools and materials

The possible list of printmaking tools and materials is very long!

This is especially true if you are fond of experimenting as almost anything can be used in making prints. It is particularly hard to resist collecting other peoples throw outs or rummaging through bins to find new sources of inspiration.

Understanding the science of your printmaking materials

These posts have information about a number of basic materials that we use frequently, it is important to understand the nature of these, as their physical and chemical properties will affect how they react with each other.

Some materials (not many) have dangers and it is essential to be aware of your own and others safety when printmaking.

Telling the story of your printmaking tools and materials

Lots of printmaking tools and materials have a long history and folklore attached to them. Some  have been in use for thousands of years, while others are very modern inventions. Being aware of the history adds to the delight and helps to make connections with printmakers from previous eras.

pvc in different thicknesses

Clear PVC printing plates

I have been experimenting with using flexible clear pvc as a relief printing plate. So far it seems to be a great material that makes all parts of the process from transferring original designs to registering plates much easier. Lino printing is not my main technique so I may have missed something – but I’d say clear pvc printing plates are definitely worth a go if you Continue reading

shellac flakes in meths

What is Shellac?

Nowadays the shellac you come across is usually in a nail bar. Here we are looking at a different material – the original shellac. Find out why this is a really useful varnish and sealant for printmakers, particularly when making collagraph plates.

shellac flakes

golden shellac flakes

Shellac is a natural resin secreted by lac beetles living on trees in India. It recorded use dates back over 3000 years, and it was used for a multitude of purposes until the invention of plastic mostly replaced it.

Nowadays it is used in wood finishes, you may know it as French polish, knotting or Continue reading