Making Prints without a Press
On my youtube channel, one of the most frequent comments left on printmaking tutorials is how to make art prints and printmaking without a press. A press is an expensive investment, and they’re heavy, with a large footprint that’ll take up quite a bit of floor space in a room. There are also many to choose from, so it’s understandable that beginning printmakers are overwhelmed.
There are workarounds for some printmaking methods (relief/block prints), but not all of them. Hand transfer of drypoint engravings, etchings and intaglio style prints is a lot of work, fickle in nature, and it might be so challenging for beginners that they lose interest in printmaking. We all need successes in the studio to stay interested in continuing a new art-endeavor. Recently, I saw an intriguing post by artist Annie Day in Australia, using a small, inexpensive XCut Xpress ($150) die cutting machine made by DoCrafts to print her dry points, etchings, linocuts and collagraphs. Check it out here.
Research Other Artist Workarounds
If you search the net for artists experimenting with printmaking from these little machines, you’ll find successful drypoint engravings printed with a Cricut Cuttlebug ($60) machine too. Check out these posts: here, here and here. I haven’t tried either of these machines as alternatives to etching presses, but the basic principles of applied pressure should work with a little tweaking of the paper, and layered padding or cards to help keep everything snug and non-moveable as the plate goes through the machine.
Share your Successful Results
If you’ve tried one of these groovy little machines, please leave a comment to let us know how you like it, and if you have a blog that shows your set up, leave a link too. I think this option is very exciting, for the size and portability, the affordable price point, and the opportunity for new printmakers to produce small format editions on a kitchen table. How cool is that!?
Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post!
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P.P.S. My Australian artist friend DP (check out her blog here) commented on this amazing new-to-me Scottish printmaker named Colin Blanchard. His post about using the CriCut includes two demonstration videos! Have a look here. And he started a Facebook Group to share tips, tricks and work done on these little printing press alternatives here!
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe