Sunday, October 7, 2012

Solar Etching @ Home

I recently acquired a new toy - a UV Vacuum unit which will allow me to expose my solar etching plates at home, with a high success rate.


I bought it from a company in China, it cost just under $500AUD including freight.

I set it up in a temporary darkroom in our main bathroom, I chose the bathroom as it only has one small window and I could use the bathtub as a washout area.

Note the black cloth over the window, stuck on with velcro and bluetac.  Unfortunately it had a bad habit of falling down but I didn't want anything permanent up there.  Might rethink that for next time though!

To use the solar unit, I also purchased a dot screen, the most expensive bit of plastic I have ever bought - $65 for an A3 sheet, but a necessary part of successful etching plates.

Based on timing advice from fellow printmaker, Liz Burton, I firstly did a test plate, which was hugely successful.  15 seconds vacuum which seals the plate etc against the glass, then 50 seconds for the exposure, for both the screen and transparency.

This is a print from my test plate (part of a drawing of various seed pots).....

I then exposed an A4 sized plate for a series of works for Impress Printmaker's Vie de Pacifique exhibition.  I will post some photos of the completed works soon.

I guess the only problem with a new toy is finding a spot in the studio for it!


  1. i'm unfamiliar with the process (and the equipment required) for solar etching -- but this looks really fascinating (what a lovely print result!)

  2. Oooh! Pretty.
    About the black-out foam core, or even reasonably heavy black card, affixed with that masking tape that does not leave stains.(In the paint section of hardware stores.)

  3. Thanks heaps, I'll try the black card, thats a great idea! Why didn't I think of that as I struggled to get that fabric to stay up and not fall down at a critical moment...???