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- Etching Guide and Tutorial : Introduction -
tool list prep plate apply ground transfer art hard ground soft ground aquatint acid bath ink and print etching tips

Most people just don't realize how fun and rewarding the etching experience can be! It is truly, not only for the wretched. Simply put, etching uses acid to burn lines and images into a zinc plate. Ink is then added to plate then the plate is run through the press with a piece of paper; resulting in a print. Each print is printed individually (using a hand crank press) and each print is an original piece of art. Print editions are limited as the plate eventually wears.

I am but an overzealous amateur. I recommend Ruth Leaf's book, Etching, Engraving and Other Intaglio Printmaking Techniques as a definitive guide to the etching process. Remember though, as an etcher, you are part scientist - experiment!

Danger Will Robinson, Danger

***This tutorial is not one of them so called "non-toxic" etching methods quite popular (and effective) in these modern times. "Non-toxic" etching ...hmmmpff! ...what's next? ...sugar free candy? fat free potato chips? alcohol free beer?!!! Kidding aside, you do need to take your health seriously. Good ventilation is a must! Use them super duty gloves when using solvent. Use a good dust mask when handling the rosin. Use an acid box! If you want to learn more about non-toxic methods - Google it!

Ultimately, you need a press to make etchings. My press: He's just a little guy!

cute press!

One nice benefit of etching: multiple copies! The ties were water colored individually.

corporate fish

Hot off the press!

cute press!

The acid! Careful with that stuff! The fumes can be deadly!

corporate fish

Danger! Danger Will Robinson, Danger! Danger!