Etching the plate

Etching The PlateI did a drawing of one of the Avebury standing stones onto the coated aluminium plate using an etching needle. For this first stage I’m starting with a line drawing. Hopefully the drawing will develop as I go along !

To etch the aluminium I’ve decided to use the Copper Sulphate solution method. I got the Copper Sulphate powder from Intaglio Printmaker. Having donned the appropriate safety wear – mask and rubber gloves – I weighed out 100 grammes of copper sulphate and 100 grammes of table salt, mixed them together and then added 1 litre of warm water. After stirring this for a while, until all the salt and copper sulphate was dissolved, I added another litre of water – cold this time. This produced a tray of green liquid to which I added the aluminium plate with my drawing on. I left the plate in for about 15 minutes and then had to take it out to have a look ! The process forms a lot of copper coloured sludge which sits on the plate so I brushed it off a few times.

Etching The Plate

It didn’t seem to affect the etching process as there were plenty of bubbles coming off the plate the whole time. I gave the plate another 15 minutes ( so 30 minutes in total ) before taking it out and rinsing it under cold running water. Below is the result.

Etching The Plate

You can see in the photo that the ground has begun to flake off the plate. This seems to have only happened towards the end of the etching time. Maybe the plate still wasn’t degreased well enough, or maybe the ground doesn’t last very long in the copper sulphate solution – more reading and experimenting required. The remaining ground washed off easily with warm water and a bit more CIF. The photo below shows the cleaned plate ready for printing.

Etching The Plate