Juice Box Drypoint With a 3D Printed Press

Juice Box Drypoint Cover


Difficulty: easy

Materials needed:

. juice box/Tetra Pak
. damp etching paper (learn more in our free ebook)
. tissue paper or regular copy paper
. etching ink (learn more in our free ebook)
. scissors
. drypoint needle or sharp nail

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.


TetraPak as Plate


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.


Using a Drypoint Tool to Scratch into Milk Carton Plate


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.


Ink Up Plate Using a Business Card


4. Wipe

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.


Wipe Excess Ink With Tissue Paper


5. Print

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.


Place Inked Up plate On Press Bed


Blanket, Damp Paper, Plate, Paper, Bed (Top To Bottom)


Finished TetraPak Print and Plate


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)


Variation of Juice Box Printing With Colours


prints by Ilaria Appel and Friedrich Mayer (from left to right)


Prints by Ilaria Appel and Friedrich Mayer


You can find more techniques and helpful information in our free ebook!

Also, we'd love to see your prints, please feel free to share them on social media with #openpressproject and tag us @openpressproject! Happy printing!