Category Archives: Odd printmaking techniques

These ‘Odd printmaking techniques’ don’t quite fit into the other categories.

Here are posts with instructions for miscellaneous print based activities you can have a go at – great for printmakers at all levels, also teachers and group leaders.


vinyl record with print

Print a Vinyl Record

Why would you want to print a vinyl record?

Just for fun really, and because you can!

His Masters Voice label
His Masters Voice, the iconic label

Vinyl records are great ready made printing plates; thin and flat they’ll go through a printing press under pressure.

The variety of smooth and ridged areas on the surface hold ink in different ways, and you often get lettering in the mix as well.

Continue reading
Enviromesh after printing

Enviromesh mono prints

What is Enviromesh?

Enviromesh protecting a cabbage

Enviromesh protecting a cabbage

If you grow cabbages you will probably be familiar with Enviromesh. It is that springy clear plastic mesh made to keep the butterflies from laying eggs on your precious brassicas.

It is a very effective protection, although they usually find their way in round the edges.

However enviromesh has another interesting use…. Continue reading

Print from a tyre float

Roller Printing

Roller printing is a very easy activity, but one that is absorbing and encourages you to explore and appreciate your environment in new ways.

It is a good method of ‘warming up’ if you are feeling a bit lacking in inspiration – 20 minutes of roller printing will certainly lift your spirits, and you will probably Continue reading

A two-storey concertina book with scraper board etchings

Scraper board etchings

Would you like a quick, cheap, simple and eco friendly way to make etching plates?
Who wouldn’t!
Scraper board etchings could be just the thing you are looking for to perk up your printmaking life.

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

Preparing traditional etching plates is quite involved, uses specialist materials and takes considerable time and expense. Of course if you want to produce a big edition of prints you need to use metal plates.

However if you want to grab a few plates to work on while you are out and about, and produce a few experimental prints scraper board etchings are ideal.


A museum residency provides inspiration

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

I discovered this technique during a printmaking residency at Bradford Industrial Museum. I was exploring scratches and marks left by the weavers on their looms. Some marks were caused by working the looms, some were intentional graffiti.

This kind of everyday archaeology fascinates me. Have a look at your old kitchen chopping board for a good example of inadvertent traces you have left on your environment.

People everywhere like to make their mark and will scratch letters, shapes, images and dates into any surface using whatever tool is handy.


Scratch marks

scraper board

Scraper board

An old pack of scraper board (‘scratch board’ in USA) I found in the back of a cupboard gave me the idea.





tools to mark scraper board

tools to mark scraper board

I invited my fellow Inkers Printmakers to create scratch marks, the only instruction was ‘try making some marks on this scraper board’.

They immediately set to and scraped with a variety of improvised tools.

At this stage I had no plan apart from collecting scratched marks to use in the residency at the museum.


A nice surprise

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

Once I had a collection of little scratched tiles it was a short leap to the thought “I wonder how these will print”.

Answer; Fantastic! What a lovely surprise, the incised lines held ink beautifully, (Hawthorns of course) and the surface wiped clean to produce a lovely tone.

I printed the scraper board etchings as intaglio prints on top of each other in different colours to emphasise the idea of marks building up over time.


Displaying scraper board etchings

concertina book with scraper board etchings

concertina book with scraper board etchings

To display all the tiny prints I made a concertina book with split pages. This is a great dynamic structure that moves with a will of its own!




Have a look at the video to see the book in action

First get your Scraper Board

You can buy scraper board from many art suppliers. A good place to look is Jacksons Art Supplies. Be sure to get the black and white version; “This artist grade board is handmade with a heavy China clay coating on illustration board (heavy card) to ensure a hard, smooth, white coating which is then sprayed with a good coat of semi-glossy black India ink.

You can have a go at making your own but I think if you are using it for etching it is probably not worthwhile as it is a real job to get it smooth and even.

To conclude

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

scraper board etching printed as intaglio

Scraper board etching is portable; you can easily carry a supply of scraper board with you and draw in situ so the image on your plate will be immediate and spontaneous.

It is accessible; safe, and easy to scratch with improvised tools for anybody whatever their age or ability.

It is cheap.

It is environmentally friendly; the plates are made from card, clay and ink.

Try it and let me know what you produced!
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