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Making a Carborundum Gel Plate

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

 

Akua Carbundum Platemaking Gel is a great new product that allows you to make high contrasted, textured intaglio plates. The gel can be screen printed onto a plate and printed with Akua Intaglio InksDrypoint Plastic makes a perfect plate with a wipe-clean surface.

 

To make our own Caborundum Gel plate we used an exposed screen. A plain screen with an area sectioned off with tape also works well as the gel can be worked into when wet. A Thermofax screen may also be used.

Peel off the top piece of film from your drypoint plastic and place your plate underneath the image on your screen. Scoop a line of Carborundum Gel along the top of your screen. 

Use a squeegee to pull the gel down the screen and push it through the mesh. Hold the squeegee at a 45 degree angle and press quite firmly for best results. Be careful not to let your screen slide on the plate. 

Let your gel dry on the plate - around 20 minutes on a warm day seems to be enough. 

The Carborundum Gel can also be worked into whilst wet on the plate. We screen printed a large area of gel onto a plate using a screen exposed with a circle but you could use parcel tape to tape off a square or rectangle. 

Whilst the gel is wet, work into it with brushes and other tools to leave marks.

You can also press textures into the gel. When you're happy with the plate, leave to dry. 

When the plate is dry, peel off the back sheet of blue film.

Before inking, soak the paper - we're using Snowdon

Roll a layer of Akua Intalgio Ink onto the plate. 

Use a wad of scrim to polish the plate, removing excess ink from the smooth areas of plastic. Use a piece of cloth or tissue paper to wipe any ink smudges left on the plastic.

Blot the soaked paper. Place the plate facing up on an etching press with dampened paper on top. Cover with blankets and put through the press on a tight pressure. 

Ink up your textured plates and print in the same way. 

Your plates can be washed up with a little water. If you want to reuse your plate for a new image, we have found that the gel can be gently removed with white spirit or Zest-It (these kind of plates are therefore not suitable for printing with traditional oil based inks that require solvents for clean up). 

To print your own Carborundum Gel plates you will need: