Print 1. Project 14: Selecting techniques

Planning the print process

I really enjoyed Project 13 despite the length of time it took me to get through it.  I’m going to build on the techniques I used to create the carousel horses prints.  Some of the points that particularly attracted me and that I am continuing to use during this project are below:

Base print layer – 3mm foamex board:

  • Very easy to cut to size with a Stanley knife
  • This product has become a favourite of mine.  I can set particular detail in place by either incising or embossing into it as per intaglio printing, or I can build the surface using low-relief items such as masking tape and texture gels to form a collagraphic print.

    Sample boards

  • Both intaglio and relief printing can be achieved simultaneously using sturdy damp paper.
  • Selected areas can be coloured in the style of a monoprint, so forming infinitely changeable effects.


    Monoprint colour samples

  • It readily accepts oil based inks rolled, brushed, dragged (as with a credit card, forcing the ink into intaglio sections) or dabbed.
  • As it has a slick plastic surface, ink placement errors can be cleaned away very effectively with cotton buds, tissues or cloth without leaving any residue (if done immediately).
  • Fairly robust although definition slowly compresses after multiple prints.
  • Easy to register as it is rigid and so not too hard to align multiple layers.
  • Quick clean up.

Second print layer – silk-cut lino:

  • Since buying good quality lino cutting tools and learning how to sharpen them properly I’ve found a real liking for lino cutting.
  • The design transfer from tracing paper is efficient and doesn’t smudge when cutting.
  • Mark-making with a wide variety of tools is very successful.
  • Cleaning with specialist products instead of water stops the hessian backing becoming wet and causing the lino to warp and bend.  This means multiple registration becomes more accurate.
  • Quite a lot of detail can be achieved.
  • Quick and easy clean up.
  • Has longevity so many prints can be taken.
  • Can be lightly heated to make cutting flow better.  I have a 50x50cm electric heat pad in a sheepskin cover that I can slip the lino into if it is particularly cold.  This softens the surface and allows easier cutting.  Extremely useful.

New techniques I will be using:

  • The base layer will be a monoprint with collagraph aspects.  I will be adhering and sealing wispy scrim fabric to my base.  I haven’t used fabric before and hope to be able to leave white areas showing around the open weave.
  • So far nearly all my lino cuts have had a good ‘frame’ or surround to them.P14cIn other words, the lino edging has remained in place to give stability when rolling inks and registering multi-layers.  It also gives the fingers something to hold on to.  However, for this project I will be cutting away the vast majority of the lino, leaving very specific small areas to print with barely any edging and background.
  • Chine collé.  I have a range of very light Japanese papers to incorporate.  I will try both precise placement and also more random effects.
  • I will experiment with printing a second lino-block as a blind emboss.  I’m sure I’ll have to use damp paper for this.


  • I am also considering some raw edge prints as opposed to my usual rectangles.
  • Whatever else I can think to try before and during the process.

Embossing picture from


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
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