Sunday, April 24, 2011

A word of warning about copper sulfate etchant

Last year I posted the recipe for an aluminium and zinc etchant made from copper sulfate. I forgot to add something very important.

Before you etch anything in this, stick an unprotected piece of aluminium into it, about 1x3 inches large. Leave it there for 5-10 minutes. This will take the edge off it so it isn't so strong. If you don't do this, the first plate you etch may become a complete mess. It will bite your needlepoint lines into lines 2mm wide, and it will even bite holes through areas protected by the ground.

Alternatively, when etching your first plate, just make sure to check it every 3-5 minutes to make sure it isn't being ravaged.

It isn't nitric acid, but it is extremely strong.

I forgot to do this just now and have suffered the printmaking equivalent of my computer crashing after drawing something on illustrator for 4 hours and not saving it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Removing ground

As an alternative to turpentine / methylated spirits for removing grounds, some block outs, and adhesives in general, I use a citrus based solvent called De-Solv-it. It comes in a spray container. You spray it on (outside or in a well ventilated area), leave it a minute, and wipe it off with a dry rag and no effort.

This is an Australian made product and you can get it at most hardware shops. If you live elsewhere around the world, just ask for a citrus based solvent. They work well, are less carcinogenic, are less likely to kill the nerve cells in the tips of your fingers, and don't stink as much!