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Repurposing Objects for your Printmaking Kit

Thursday, March 21, 2019

There are many objects that can be gathered from around the house to add to your printmaking kit! Here are some of our favourite alternative uses for easily found objects that we use in the studio every day! 

Use clips on your hinged screen for an easy squeegee rest:

Securing two large clips to your frame creates a rest on which your squeegee can rest between pulls. This can keep messy ink within the frame and lowers the risk of getting ink all over the place! We have written a blog post on how to make a hinged screen printing board here

Use grip matting under your board:

This stops the board from sliding about and makes it easier to put pressure on your squeegee.

This grip matting is also really useful when cutting lino. It stops the lino from slipping about, making it both easier and safer to cut. 

Save empty tape rolls to prop your screen:

When your screen is attached to a hinged board you may need to raise your screen to flood your ink. Use an empty tape roll to hold your screen away from the paper.

Empty tape rolls are also an easy place to rest your squeegee without dirtying your table with ink:  

Use old store cards to scrape excess ink from screens:

These are a perfect flat surface to remove as much ink as possible but are not sharp so are unlikely to damage your mesh.

 

Use baking spatulas to mix ink:

It's much easier to mix screen printing inks with a flexible spatula intended for cooking rather than a metal inking spatula that you may use to mix relief inks on an inking plate. A flexible spatula will ensure you don't have any unmixed ink in your pot, giving you a smooth, even colour. 

 

Use old magazine pages to block off unwanted areas of your screen:

We often like to expose more than one image onto a screen but only want to print one at a time. Instead of taping over the whole unwanted area, we can use a magazine page with just one piece of tape to secure it to the screen. This produces less plastic waste and also protects the screen from the tape which can occasionally damage the emulsion or leave a sticky residue behind. The shiny surface of the magazine page can be wiped clean if necessary. Rob Luckins was using this technique last weekend when his workshop group were printing four layers with just one screen. 

Wash out squeezy bottles to hold thickened dyes:

Screen printing with thickened dyes is great fun, especially when breakdown printing. Because these dyes are runnier than screen printing inks it can be easier to apply them to the mesh with an old washing up liquid bottle than with a pot and spoon! Bottles with wider openings could be used for thicker inks. 


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