Making Prints without a Printing 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 printing 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.
Drypoint Printing Press Alternatives
There are workarounds to make both relief and intaglio prints at home that include hand transfer, or printing press alternatives.
The effort to print an intaglio etching by hand might be too challenging for beginners. If the prints fail, first-timers might lose interest in printmaking.
To avoid that risk, I’d recommend acquiring a small embossing machine to try with a few sheets of plexiglass to make some drypoint prints.
We need successes in the studio to stay interested in building new skills.
Maybe a small printing press alternative would help… here is a post by artist Annie Day in Australia. She describes using the pressure from a small, inexpensive die cutting machine to print her beautiful dry points, etchings, linocuts and collagraphs. Might that work for you?
Research Printing Press Workarounds
If you search the net for artists experimenting with printmaking from embossing machines, you’ll find successful plexiglass drypoint engravings printed with a Sizzix Big Shot ($75).
There is also a group on facebook full of tips and tricks to jerry rig embossing machines and pasta makers into workable printing presses over here.
The basic printing press mechanics of applied pressure should work on an embossing machine with a little tweaking. Adjustments of the paper, and layered padding or cards will help keep everything snug and secure as the plate goes through the machine.
Share your Successful Results
If you’ve tried one of these groovy little embossing machines, please leave a comment to let us know how you like them.
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!
P.S. You can subscribe (its free) to get each of these posts as an email here.
P.P.S. Here is another post all about drypoint engraving and etching on plexiglass, with more links to useful resources.
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