Aluminium tape plate by Kate Tidmarsh

“Aluminium Tape” prints from readers, inspired by posts on the Curious printmaker blog

An important reason for writing this blog is to encourage people to have a go and experiment with printmaking, so it is great when readers get back to me with information about what they have done as a result of seeing a particular post.

I was delighted to receive an email from Angela Harpham with examples of plates made by the Joint Practice Group, as Sinclair Ashman and Kate Tidmarsh had already posted about their aluminium tape plates on Instagram (see below), and Handprinted had added the technique to their website, I realised there were quite a few people playing around with this technique in the seclusion of their own studios. It seemed like a good idea to bring it all together…

Good intentions are the first step

A lot of the time people tell me that a post has inspired them and they are going to do something. That makes me happy, and it is obviously the first step – it is better when I get a message about what you have actually done, and even better when you send me pictures. Please be encouraged by the curious printmakers featured here and send in your prints too so I can add them to the blog.

Aluminium tape posts

I posted about using tape in January 2019, and the technique quickly generated a lot of interest. Many people who already had it in their tool box hadn’t really explored its potential, and people who came to it for the first time were very excited by the possibilities. I hope the extra examples here will set you off on some experiments of your own…..

Aluminium tape prints from The Joint Practice Group

We are an offshoot of Sheffield Printmakers who joined together to share practice a couple of years ago. We have grown in size, (9 of us now) and in confidence. We sometimes do a practical session, and sometimes we share ideas on how to develop our work, we also share information on books and suppliers and visit printmaking exhibitions. Most of us work from home, and some have a designated room to work in; a couple of people have their own studios. 

Aluminium tape prints by the joint practice group
A mosaic of prints and plates by the joint practice group

The foil tape printing was one of the sessions that we held at my place.  I supplied various items for people to choose from and mount-board scraps. Four of us worked on my kitchen table and we trapped material under the tape.  

The moon and tree is another plate that I made, and printed on my press using Caligo inks.  This was an embossed one, using some lichen and a card circle to mask out. 

Aluminium tape plate by Angela Harpham
‘Tree and Moon’ aluminium tape plate by Angela Harpham
tree with moon aluminium tape print
Tree with Moon aluminium tape print by Angela Harpham

We had a lovely afternoon making the plates.  We each then took them home and printed them.


Angela Harpham
Artist Printmaker Photographer
See more of Angela’s work at https://www.angelaharphamphotoart.me.uk/


Sinclair Ashman; experiments with aluminium tape

Aluminium tape print by Sinclair Ashman
Print from an aluminium tape plate by Sinclair Ashman

Inspired by Emily’s blog post on the technique, the prints from aluminium foil tape were experiments to discover the range of tones and subtleties that might be achievable using this method. As the surface of the foil plates are much smoother than my usual collagraphs, it took a while to work out how much ink to apply, and how much to wipe them, however, once I worked this out, (with Emily’s advice), the results were exceptionally good, and very different in character.

print from aluminium foil plate by Sinclair Ashman
A print from an aluminium foil plate by Sinclair Ashman

It was fun to mess around with making marks in the foil surface, as well as trapping materials beneath it.

Kate Tidmarsh; prints and plates made with aluminium tape

aluminium tape combined with other textures on Collagraph plate
aluminium tape combined with other textures on Collagraph plate

Inking and wiping is everything – at one point you suggested to me to use ink without any transparent in for intaglio areas (neat), then not to overwipe the surface, and of course try a relief roll on top.

Aluminium tape print with plants
Aluminium tape plate with plants. Kate Tidmarsh
Three prints from aluminium tape plate
Three different prints from aluminium tape plate. Kate Tidmarsh

Too much pressure once the plate is made can create extra wrinkling – but this is probably because I am using such flimsy base plates most of the time. I also just love wrinkling up the tape on purpose – great texture with no pva, so no sealing. 

See more of Kates prints on Instagram; @katespapers

Handprinted; the aluminium tape technique

The team at Handprinted tested out the aluminium foil technique (always a good idea) before sharing it with their followers.

Inking an aluminium foil plate at Handprinted
Inking an aluminium foil plate at Handprinted

“Handprinted are a small business passionate about printmaking and dyeing. We have just three full time members of staff who are all printmakers so we understand the products we sell and are happy to guide our customers with purchases or help with printing problems.”

Four aluminium plate prints from Handprinted
Four aluminium tape plates from Handprinted

Handprinted is based in Bognor Regis with a shop downstairs and a print studio upstairs. We teach a wide variety of classes with tutors coming from all over the UK to teach for us.”

How do I make aluminium tape prints too?

If you are reading this post before you’ve seen the instructions, have a look at these posts for detailed info on how to do it.  
Printing plates from aulminium tape

Embossed aluminium printing plates

Kitchen foil printing plates

Share your prints on Instagram

Do you use Instagram? If the answer is no, I would say ‘why not?’ it is fantastic for visual artists, providing a very positive arena to share images with others who are enthusiastic about the same weird things as we are. It is very easy to set up an account, and if you do you will be able to share examples of your work with fellow curious printmaker followers.

#thecuriousprintmaker

I have set up a hashtag; #thecuriousprintmaker on Instagram. If you add this to any of your instagram posts they will appear under that heading, as well as on your own page, so when anybody searches on #thecuriousprintmaker they will find them.

Let me know what happens

Whether you are active on instagram or not it is always lovely to hear from people who have felt inspired by the blog – please leave your comments on a specific post, or contact me to let me know how you get on, especially if you have felt excited by a new technique as a result of reading about it here.

Many thanks to: The Joint Practice Group from Sheffield; Sinclair Ashman; Kate Tidmarsh, and Handprinted for sharing their work.

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