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Published by: cetakasyraf on Oct 26, 2011
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If you get too much ink on your plate or you want to switch to a different color
scheme, or when you have finished printing your edition, you will want to clean
your plate. In preparation for cleaning, it is a good idea to remove as much of the
ink as possible by printing the plate under light pressure several times on paper

To clean the plate, I just wipe it with a damp tissue when using water mixable
colors. For normal oily inks, I use tissue and a bit of vegetable oil. Alcohol on a bit
of cotton batting works well to clean foilograph plates. Or you can use soap and
water. No matter what you use, you must be very carful not to introduce liquids
beneath the foil, or you will produce bubbles and wrinkles that ruin the plate.

If the ink dries on the plate, I find I can sometimes get it off easily by just buffing
softly with a dry tissue. Alcohol and water can also sometimes be used to remove
dry inks. As a last result, acetone will generally remove dried inks.

After printing, just remove the aluminum foil to retrieve the specimen. Or you can
store the plate, provided that the enclosed specimen is well dried and will not mold.
If you want to keep the plate, note that the aluminum foil is reasonably delicate, so
wrap the plate in newspaper to preserve it for future use.

V. Advanced Topics

V.A. Multiple Passes and Plates


Foilography Printmaking

Page 47

Figure 48: Registration pins

In the printing, one fundamental question concerns whether there will be just one
pass through the press or multiple passes. Multiple passes and/or multiple plates
introduce the usual problems of registration. With foilograph plates, registration is
more of a problem because usually the foil wrapped around the edges of the backing
does not give a precise registration edge.

There are some simple pin registration techniques which work well. Each
registration pin consists of a flat, thin tab about an inch long and 3/4 of an inch wide
with a small perpendicular dowel at one end. The dowel must be the exact size of
the holes made by the punch (frequently 1/4 inch or the metric equivalent of 6 mm).
Registration pins of stainless steel may be purchased from lithographers’ supply
outlets. Or they may be made from brass, aluminum or plastic. I made some simply
by cutting small pieces of thin plexiglass and gluing a short 1/4 inch plexiglass
dowel at one end.

The basic idea is to use double backed tape to attach the plate to one end of a carrier
sheet consisting of a long piece of mylar, acetate, or similar material. You could use
paper for your carrier sheet, but I prefer to use plastic since any stray ink can be
easily wiped off. To be sure the plate stays in position on the carrier sheet, the tape
should attach to the backing material of the plate, not to the foil. The carrier sheet
must be long enough to extend well beyond the plate. You want to be able to print
the plate but keep one end of the carrier sheet from going under the roller or
pressure plate. In Figure 49, I have used a piece of blue paper for the carrier sheet
for ease of viewing.


Foilography Printmaking

Page 48

Figure 49: Registration

Use a two or three hole paper punch to punch holes in the end of the carrier sheet.
Use the same paper punch to punch holes in one end of the printing paper. Using
the two or three hole punch ensures that the holes are placed at the same position in
all of your material. Then you can use lithographers’ registration pins or similar
devices taped to the bed or bottom plate of the press to locate the plate on the bed.

Carefully note that the registration pins must be placed in such a way that they do
not go under the roller of the etching press nor under the pressure plate of the in-
line press. That is why the carrier sheet is generally quite long. For a bottle jack
press or similar press, you will probably need to make an extra bottom plate or
“sliding board” of plexiglass or other material that extends out to the side beyond
the pressure plate. The carrier sheet may be placed on this extra bottom plate with
the registration pins positioned out of the way of the pressure plate. You can then
position the inked plate+carrier and the paper on the plexiglass bottom plate and
then slide it into position in the press. You can then easily remove the carrier sheet,
leaving the pins taped in place; but you will be able to replace the carrier sheet
exactly where it was before by placing the holes in the carrier sheet over the pins on
the bed.

So, attach the plate to the carrier sheet. Ink the plate. Position the plate+carrier sheet


Foilography Printmaking

Page 49

on the pins. Use the pins to place the paper over the plate. Cover with cushions as
usual. After one pass through the press, you can remove the paper, remove the
carrier sheet with the plate, and re-ink the plate leaving it attached to the carrier
sheet. Then you can replace the plate on the pins exactly where it was before by
using the registration pins and the holes in the carrier sheet. Then you can use the
registration pins to reposition the paper exactly.

In this way you can over-print one plate several times, perhaps changing the inking
at each pass.

You can use the same technique to align several plates to print in registration with
each other. Attach your first plate to a carrier sheet as before. Then instead of
printing on paper, print on a piece of mylar or other clear material that is also
punched and registered on the pins. Remove the transparent print and the first plate
with its carrier sheet. Place a second carrier sheet on the pins. Place your second
plate in approximately the right position, but do not tape it to the carrier sheet yet.
Place the transparent print from the first plate on the registration pins over the
second plate. You can then use the image on the transparent sheet as a guide to
position the second plate. When you have the second plate properly positioned, use
double backed tape to tape it in position on the second carrier sheet. In this way you
can register as many plates as you like to each other.

Since your printing paper is punched and registered to the same pins as your plates,
you should be able to print multiple plates in registration on your paper. After
printing, the end of the paper with the registration holes can be cut or torn away.

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