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Nontoxicprint:     a private, not-for-profit and academic Research Resource on Printmaking |

                            advice on materials and suppliers, brands and company links,

                            is solely given for artist's evaluation, education

                            and research purposes, and is non-commercial




   Hard and Soft Ground


note: this listing gives a current overview of options /

the individual pages listed below contain

much more comprehensive information on the topic,

with additional materials and products,

last updated: 2018







NOTE: MANY ACRYLIC PRODUCTS CONTAIN TRACE VOCs,

SOME OF WHICH MAY BE UNDOCUMENTED BY THE

MANUFACTURER | ALWAYS ENSURE AIRFLOW | IF POSSIBLE

USE ORGANIC NUISANCE MASK WITH CARBON FILTER




HARD GROUND OPTIONS _______________________________________



'Big' Etching Ground                              a more 'traditional' feeling ground, now used by many printmakers

          nontoxic if used with precautions, caution when heating the product




Lascaux Hard Resist
                            add
KOH-I-NOOR black for a black ground


popular and used by many printmakers,  questions were raised by some over information on trace ingredients



Graphic Chemical W/B Relief Ink       may work as a hard ground when fully dried
                                                                    easy to draw into

new formula needs more testing for etching | the product was the base of Keith Howard's original soft ground



Orono Ground                                        works as a hard ground when fully dried
                                                                   
easy to draw into

very popular mixture from 1998 to 2009 (Groce/Kiekeben/UMaine)   |    an enhanced version of the above (better acid resistance, versatility and consistency)

a few years ago Anne VanOppen developed an updated version of the 'Orono Ground', (scroll down on the page for Anne's instructions)

   Hard and Soft Ground   

 


Crisco baking fat or similar                 cover plate evenly and draw!
                                                                    somewhat messy, but a great versatile ground
                                                                    cleans off with dish soap
                                                                    great and easy resist for re-etching

nontoxic!


Vaseline or wax crayons etc              as above



Lascaux 2060
clear gloss varnish                               dilute with 5% to 10% water
                                                                   add
KOH-I-NOOR black to color
                                                                   best acrylic ground for re-etching
                                                                   also works on polished plates


still available today: a great base ingredient for etching resists  |  the 'original' resist used in most of the research done by FK at Edinburgh Printmakers before Lascaux's own range of etching resists developed by Carol Robertson / Robert Adam.

make sure you use the 'gloss' kind!



Using an Acrylic Spray Resist without Airbrush Compressor?

Liquitex have a new line of acrylic spray paints,
not solvent-free, but based on ethyl alcohol not
Naptha solvents; promises to be considerably safer
than regular spray paints |
use with some ventilation and respirator

NEW: LIQUITEX PROFESSIONAL SPRAY PAINT




Z-Acryl Stop-Out Solution                   may chip if applied too thickly


discontinued | a unique 'nontoxic' etching polymer developed by Mark Zaffron

ZAcryl offered the first line of custom-developed acrylic products specifically designed for printmaking applications in the mid-90s.

similar consistency to acrylates-based floor finish (such as 'Pledge), but according to Z Acryl MSDS information safe, and without added solvents such as glycol ether or formaldehyde



Z-Acryl Hard Ground                            easy to strip off using soda ash


discontinued | a unique 'nontoxic' etching polymer developed by Mark Zaffron

ZAcryl offered the first line of custom-developed acrylic products specifically designed for printmaking applications in the mid-90s.

similar consistency to acrylates-based floor finish (such as 'Pledge), but according to Z Acryl MSDS information safe, and without added solvents such as glycol ether or formaldehyde




Hard and Soft Ground      Intaglio Manual   Printmaking Resources






Safer and innovative etching with:    BITUMEN RUBBER



Quote: 'Not classified as hazardous according to criteria of Worksafe Australia.
The product has a very low VOC content of 0.065grams per litre, 'an extremely low rating for any coating'.

GRIPSET BITUMEN RUBBER msds.pdf  

Annie Day
www.annieday.com.au

Warringah Printmakers, Sidney
www.printstudio.org.au/










www.gripsetbetta.com/










SAMPLE SUPPLIERS and SOURCES



     Anywhere: General Supplies
hardware stores | art stores | online sources
places where you could find some of the listed products or
updated versions and new resists  |   some of the key
ingredients you can get simply from hardware stores
(acrylic floor finish, KLEAR in Europe, SC Johnson PLEDGE in the US)
or from art material stores and online (acrylic paints and mediums)
  •         online purchasing samples:
  •          Hunt Speedball nontoxic Screenfiller - Amazon
  •           SC Johnson Pledge Floor Care Multi-Surface Finish - Amazon
  •           Lascaux range of acrylic resists, hard ground etc. - Amazon


     Grafisk Eksperimentarium, DK

          all kinds of acrylic etching resist

     Graphic Chemical, US

                    Lascaux products and range of resist (hard ground/aquatint/stopout)

     Jackson Art Supplies

Lascaux products and range of resist (hard ground/aquatint/stopout)

     Renaissance Graphics Arts, US

Akua inks, water-miscible inks by Charbonnel and Caligo

     Takach Press Fine Art Printmaking, US

'Big' Etching Ground, a more 'traditional' feeling ground,
nontoxic if used with precautions

     Polymetaal, NL

 all kinds of acrylic etching resist and products







AQUATINT OPTIONS ____________________________________________












      Left: Speedball Screenfiller

      Right: Badger Aquatint Solution

      Images: Polymetaal
      see Suppliers in
PRINTMAKING RESOURCES




Acrylic Aquatint without Airbrush Compressor?

Liquitex have a new line of acrylic spray paints,
not solvent-free, but based on ethyl alcohol not
Naptha solvents; promises to be considerably safer
than regular spray paints |
use for aquatint with some ventilation and respirator

LIQUITEX PROFESSIONAL SPRAY PAINT


Speedball Screenfiller
                         dilute with 20% to 30% water
                                                                   very velvety tones
                                                                   red color


Future, Pledge or KLEAR                
SCJ acrylic floor polish                                add KOH-I-NOOR black and 5% to 10% water
                                                                   black dots = great visibility on all metals
                                                                   easy stripping in soda ash,

                                                                   can be sprayed as an aquatint,
                                                                   use ventilation and wear organic nuisance mask
                                    

Badger Aquatint Solution
                   very corrosion resistant
                                                                   requires removal in strong alkaline


Lascaux 2060

clear gloss varnish                               add
KOH-I-NOOR black
                                                                   also works as a hard ground


Golden GAC 200 Medium
                    dilute with 15% to 20% water
                                                                   add
KOH-I-NOOR black
                                                                   very corrosion resistant


Z-Acryl Hard Ground
                           can be sprayed as an aquatint (discontinued)








STOP-OUT VARNISH OPTIONS
________________________________________













         Left: Z-Acryl Stop-Out Resist
         Right: Z-Acryl Hard Ground Emulsion

        
Images: Polymetaal
         see Suppliers in
PRINTMAKING RESOURCES


discontinued



 
Future, Pledge, or KLEAR

acrylic floor polish                                works best on sanded surfaces
                                                                   de-oxidize plates before reworking


inexpensive, crisp, and precise, a clear polymer resist that has
proven ideal for hard ground etching  |
best use with some form of respiratory protection / ventilation  |
many benefits, including ease of stripping off after etching   |
does not mix well with acrylic paints  |
the most popular etching ground!




Note on De-Oxidizing (for Brass and Copper only)
Mix 1kg of cooking salt with 1 pint of white vinegar and 1 to 2 liters of water
Use to clean copper after etching the plates and before further resists are applied.
Highly recommended for multiple applications of resist or spray aquatint.


Z-Acryl Hard Ground                            worked best on sanded surfaces
                                                                   de-oxidize plates before reworking



Lascaux Hard Resist
                            good for re-etching
                                                                   very similar in characteristics to below



Lascaux 2060

clear gloss varnish                               great for re-etching
                                                                   takes a good line,
                                                              



Mix the above with 40% to 60% black acrylic paint for an all round stop-out varnish
that is easier to strip


Any acrylic paint:
                                  most kinds are ok as an etching resist
 acrylics in general                                   will eventually come off due to high pigment
                                                                   content

note: the cheapest acrylics tend to contain solvents such as glycol ether and formaldehyde, and may contain inferior polymers,
also: especially cheap acrylic products and water-based paints but also some expensive kinds may contain carcinogens/neurotoxins such as unreacted methyl groups, or trace amounts of benzene or other solvents that fall below the limits that are declared on safety sheets (e.g. below 1%, below 5%), or are simply omitted but are present non the less. Caution!
The terms 'water-based' and 'VOC free paint' created confusion, an unjustified sense of complete safety, and possibly made some frequent users sick. This is borne out in medical studies (such as the Sheffield study on house painters).



Other acrylic binders and mediums
  likely to work as an etching resist but many
                                                                    are too hard to remove
                                                                    and are unsuitable for line work




TIP: Using and Purchasing Copper Sulfate

Safe to Use: Use it Safely!

Remember, Copper Sulfate is still a chemical and toxic to humans if ingested, so make sure you follow safety instructions and read MSDS sheets prior to use. Always wear gloves, goggles and a mask when handling any etching chemicals. Do not touch, inhale or ingest.

Safe to Ship!

For the printmaker who wants to use the Saline Sulfate Etch, getting hold of small (rather than industrial) quantities of Copper Sulfate is easy. I recently ordered a 5lb bag of Copper Sulfate Crystals over the internet. Because it is a low hazard material, the delivery came by ordinary mail services - simple, safe and economical too. No need for the specialist carriers required when shipping traditional printmaking mordants

For Copper Sulfate Supplies: Wammock Farm Services Inc.  www.wammocks.com

Click for ingredients/product options for:  

HARD GROUND
    
AQUATINT
    
STOP-OUT VARNISH
    
STRIPPING SOLUTIONS


STRIPPING SOLUTIONS _________________________________________


                 

Orange Zest Solvents                         Acrylic resists strip off easily with the new citrus-based solvents.
                                                                  Sample: Z*Acryl  D*Solve was an excellent product, ...this particular brand is discontinued

"This truly revolutionary solvent was formulated as an alternative to petroleum-based turpentines and thinners. It is made from 100% renewable agricultural resources of soy, corn, and citrus, and is non-polluting, non-carcinogenic, and bio-degradable. Less than a teaspoon will thoroughly clean a large plate. DSolve will even strip dried ink from etched lines." Dick Blick


 


















Soda Ash Stripping Bath                   Most acrylic resists strip off easily in a concentrated
                                                                  bath of sodium carbonate.
                                                                  Dissolve 1kg of sodium carbonate powder in
                                                                  3 to 4 liters (1 gallon) of hot water.
                                                                  Leave plates to soak for 10 minutes.


Silkscreen Screen Cleaner                Products based on Sodium Metaperiodate can strip
                                                                  etching acrylics with ease.
                                                                  Scrub plates with domestic scouring powder
                                                                  e.g. Ajax or Comet with HOT WATER.
                                                                  Use a scouring pad to remove any acrylic residues.

                                                       


Intaglio Manual     Printmaking Resources


Etching Innovation & Materials        



  • Acrylic Resist Etching
  • Metal Salt Etching
  • Electro Etching
  • Other                                                                                                  

the following pages may be of interest   CLICK to view each section


Individual Methods                


     Introduction                                                                                                                                

     Etching Copper and Brass     

     Etching Zinc, Steel and Aluminum

     Copper Sulfate Mordant

     Acrylic Resist Etching

     Hard and Soft Ground

     Aquatint


     Lift Ground and Aquatint

     Electro-Etching

     Electro-Etching: The Basis

     Cupric Chloride Etch 

     Photocopy Etch                                                                                                                           

     Etching Ingredients

      Drypoint


    Traditional Printmaking Topics  - Health in The Arts Compendium

 

Collected Methods     

                                                                                                                                       

     Intaglio Manual

     Beginners Compendium


Publications and Resources


     Publications

     Printmaking Resources                                                                                                            

     The New Etching Chemistry  

     Perfect Chemistry

     Safe Solvents

     The Toxicity of Solvents

       Art Meets Science

     History of Electro Etching

     A European Perspective

     New Terminology                                                                                                                   BACK TO CONTENT