Juice Box Drypoint With a 3D Printed Press
When it comes to intaglio printmaking, juice box printing is probably the easiest to start with. We use it in workshops with kids, but professional printmakers love it too!
You might only be able to get about 10-15 good prints from it, after that the plate will start to fall apart, but it’s great for small ideas and might not be as scary as using expensive metal plates for your drypoint. A different variation of this technique is to use old CD’s as your plate.
1. Get a Juice Box Plate
The idea is to use basic juice boxes/milk boxes/Tetra Pak as printing plates. Just clean the box under some running water and cut it into small pieces. It can be fun to leave some creases from the packaging, they will show on the final print.
2. Scratch Into Juice Box Plate
Now scratch your artwork into the aluminium/silver side of the box with a drypoint needle or something that’s sharp enough. It’s super easy to work with, you can cut things out or even remove the first layer, so that the card underneath will soak up a lot of ink and print like it’s a crosshatched area. If you can feel the scratches with your finger tips, it’s deep enough.
3. Ink up plate
Once you’re happy, you can place your plate on a cleanable surface (like acrylic or glass), apply a small amount of etching ink on the plate, and use your finger to push it into the grooves. You only need a little bit of ink! A business card can help push the ink into the grooves while scraping the ink from the surface. The cleaner the surface is at this stage, the easier it will be to wipe off the excess.
Now use some regular printer paper or tissue paper to wipe the surface clean while leaving the ink in the grooves. A little ink on the surface of the plate can be nice, but try to remove most of it.
Now put some clean tissue paper on the press bed to keep it clean, place the plate on top of it with the inked up side facing up, add some damp etching paper, put the felt on top, and roll it through the press.
Done! You can also try putting more colours into your artwork by either spreading two or more inks on the plate and wiping it into the grooves or by using multiple plates and printing them in several steps. Here are some prints from the community to give you ideas!
drypoints on the right by Lisa Trindeitmar, C. Stempel & Dörte Köstlin-Thompson (from top to bottom)
prints by Ilaria Appel and Friedrich Mayer (from left to right)
You can find more techniques and helpful information in our free ebook!