Red Hot Press

Printmaking techniques

At Red Hot Press we offer a wide range of printmaking techniques. As well as supporting traditional methods, we have introduced groundbreaking, non-toxic printmaking techniques such as non toxic etching and photographic transfer printing.

All images shown here have been produced at the workshop.

Bookbinding

Although not a printmaking process the art of making books goes perfectly with handmade prints. Papers are folded and stitched together to make both hard and soft back books. The books we make range from simple soft covered stab bound books, where single sheets are stitched together in decorative patterns, to more complex hardcover books.

See more examples of Books

Collagraph and Cardcuts

A collagraph is a printing plate that has been made by constructing a low relief collage with textures such as grit and textiles. Once the printing plate is made and sealed, it is inked up by rubbing the ink into the plate surface and printed on to damp paper through an etching press.

A Card cut can be cut from a piece of card such as mounting board, using a sharp knife. The surface of the card is cut away to make the image, the cut away area and surface area of the card will print differently when the card is inked and printed to reveal the image.

See more examples of Collagraphs and Cardcuts

Drypoint

An intaglio process similar to etching but the image is scratched directly onto the plate by hand. The resulting line is much softer than an etching and has a slight fuzziness. Because the line has been scratched by hand and not bitten by chemicals, as with etching, the maximum edition number for drypoints is much lower.

This technique is suitable for the reproduction of line drawn images although tone can also be achieved by cross hatching and using specialist tools.

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Etching

An intaglio process of biting into metal plates using a solution of copper sulphate. A ‘ground’ is applied to the plate and then drawn into using an etching needle. The plate is then put into the copper sulphate. Where the plate is exposed, the chemical will bite away at the metal. Tone can be achieved by leaving open areas on the plate in the copper sulphate for differing lengths of time. To print, ink is wiped into the bitten areas and then the plate is printed onto damp paper which presses into the plate and lifts the ink away.

Etching is particularly suitable for drawn tonal images.

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Letterpress

The original method of printing commercial text, letterpress has seen a resurgence in recent years as a decorative art-form.

Text as image is becoming commonplace hanging on our walls. Just think of the “Keep Calm and...” phenomenon!

At Red Hot Press we are lucky to have a large selection of wooden and lead type at our disposal and use proofing and adana presses on our courses.

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Lino cutting

Lino cutting is a relief printing process. An image is transferred onto a block of lino and the areas that you wish to be white are cut away with gouges. The remaining block is inked up and printed.

You can print linocuts in colour either by cutting away the block and over printing in successive colours (reduction printing) or by making several blocks one for each colour (multiple block printing).

It is a good technique for bold and graphic images but less suitable for delicate drawn images.

See more examples of Linocuts

Monoprinting

A monoprint is a one-off print. Ink is rolled, brushed or splattered onto a surface and the paper is laid on this to take a print. You can take successive fainter prints from the same plate or work into them to create a series of prints.

Monoprinting is suitable for painterly images or for adding blocks of colour to other prints.

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Papercuts

Paper cutting is a traditional technique that has its roots in folk culture around the world. The Chinese are particularly well known for their folk art paper cuts and in Mexico 'Papel Picado' is used as decoration in the Day of the Dead celebrations. Paper cuts are made by cutting away the negative spaces of an image - much like linocutting. However care must be taken that the paper remains in one whole piece otherwise it will fall apart. Paper cuts can be simple to do and yet take patience and precision to master. Although a one-off piece of work they can be exposed onto a photographic screen to make repeatable prints.

See more examples of papercuts

Photo Transfer printing

A way of creating photographic imagery from photocopies or making images from wax crayon drawings. The process works on the basis that water is repelled by grease. An image on paper is treated with a gum solution and then carefully rolled up with ink. You can take around ten prints from one image on paper.

It is sometimes called Gum Transfer Printing.

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Solar Plate Etching

Photographic Etching or Solar Plate etching is a process where an artwork, made on transparent material, is placed in close contact with a light sensitive photopolymer plate. The plate is then exposed to sunlight or an artificial source of UV light and developed in water. Artwork can be drawn directly on to transparent film with opaque drawing materials, found objects can be used or photocopies or photographic imagery can also be used.

Relief and intaglio printing plates can be produced using this technique.

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Screen Printing

A screen print is produced by creating an image either on a photographic stencil or a paper stencil. A different stencil is created for each colour in the image. The stencil blocks the screen in places and allows ink through in other places, each stencil is printed in turn to build up the different colours of the image until the complete image is created.

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Textile Printing

At Red Hot Press we also print onto fabric using block printing techniques. We run short daytime and evening textile courses covering creating and adapting images for textile designs, producing repeat patterns, creating printing blocks and printing techniques.

See more examples of block printed textiles

Woodcuts

A woodcut is similar to a linocut in that a plank of wood with the grain going from side to side is carved into and printed. However, you cannot cut wood quite as precisely as lino and the resulting print can have a much rawer quality to it.

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Wood engraving

A wood engraving is carved into the end grain of a hard wood such as box wood or cherry wood using specialist engraving tools. Traditionally wood engravings have been produced in black or monochrome to show off the range of mark making in the image.

See more examples of wood engravings