Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Using a Cuttlebug as a printing press for Dry Point Printing using acetate sheets and Lino Cutting

After playing with a borrowed machine, I have just bought myself a Cuttlebug which is an embossing and cutting machine, with potential for cutting tags, alphabets and embossing backgrounds... and I am already using it for that.

However, when I first tried it out, it  also occurred to me that it might be possible to use (or maybe that is abuse) the machine as a printing press...

I have been doing a chunky house swap for atcsforall.com, so I had made 6" x 4" drawings of house fronts for that, so I thought that they would make  ideal linear shapes for printing from.

I have to say it took a bit of trial and error!

I used a water soluble black printing ink (Calder colours Ocaldo block printing water colour) rolled it out on a plastic tray with my printing roller and then rolled the black ink over the acetate  plate.  Because it is clear I always scratch the surface with a finger nail before I get started to make sure that the  incised side is facing up.

I had not got any scrim, so after pushing the ink into the plate with a rectangle of cardboard, I scrubbed the ink off using newspaper. It is VERY messy so I used disposable latex gloves. It took several goes to clean the plate and a lot of pressure.

Then I took the gloves off and washed my hands so that I would not be gunging up my new machine!

I had already dampened some coloured card by spraying it with water and then interleaving it between sheets of kitchen roll.

I placed the plate face down on to a sheet of the damp paper.

  Then I carefully sandwiched the plate in lots of newsprint so that
a. there was no stray ink to get on the Cuttlebug
b.there was a certain amount of give when the print went through the roller.

I put it through the machine using the normal configuration recommended for embossing - first plate a,  then plate b, then the sandwich of print, then the other plate b on top and wound it through the machine..

First I made the paper too wet and the print  was watery.

Then I tried again and the prints were too faint (it is sounding like the three bears!).

But I still thought it ought to be possible so  I went back to the acetate plates.

I went over each plate again and cut the lines again with a slightly broader etching needle.

 I also made the printing ink a little more liquid with a squirt of water from a sprayer to make sure that the ink went really well down into the etched lines.

(It's probably not a good idea to change two things at once but I was a dying to see what I got).

And here are my first successful plates.

It also works for lino cutting, though again I had to mess about with different layers of paper filling to get the lino and paper to go through the machine without stressing the machine too much, or without it just rolling through and not printing.

I used a Tim Holtz Distress ink pad which I rubbed over the surface of the lino which was lying in a sandwich of paper - this also printed very well, though  it is easier to take lino prints than the dry point as you can take a print off lino by rubbing the receiving paper on the back with a baren.

However,  I am very pleased with my first experiments -  especially the dry point as it is impossible to take prints from the acetate plates without using some sort of press.

Mmm now for some chine-collee perhaps?

1 comment:

  1. I did some chine colle with my big shot sizzix using tissue paper and nori paste and it works pretty well.