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Solar Printing Plates

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MANUFACTURING NOTICE: Due to change in manufacturer production facilities, Solar Plates are temporarily unavailable. Limited to stock on hand. Stay tuned. 6-30-14

Printmaking with SOLARPLATE is a simple approach and safer alternative to traditional etching and relief printing. SOLARPLATE is a prepared, light-sensitive polymer surface on a steel backing for artists to produce fine prints. Since Dan Welden's development of the process in the 1970s, printmakers, painters, photographers, and art teachers interested in multiple impressions have found printmaking with SOLARPLATE an exciting adventure. All one needs is inspiration, a graphic image created on a transparent film (acetate or glass), sun or UV light, and ordinary tap water, and the process is ready to begin. Both positives and negatives can be utilized; intaglio and relief printing techniques can be applied.

Universities and art schools all over the world are using SOLARPLATE as part of their curriculum. The simple, spontaneous approach also makes it faster and more economical for use in professional printmaking workshops and collaborations with artists. Educators are replacing traditional acid techniques with SOLARPLATE due to safety regulations. Being photographic in nature, SOLARPLATE incorporates a broader range of techniques than any other printing medium.


Solar Printing Plates ProcessStep One: Prepare Artwork
Artwork may be created with liquid opaque paint or ink, light-stopping making devices, rubylith films, lithographic crayons and certain black pencils, or found objects. The image is created on transparent acetate, mylar, Xerox or a glass surface. This "transparency" is used as a contact positive or negative for either intaglio or relief. Artwork can be created by hand drawing, computer printout, or with photographic methods. Artwork can be created by hand drawing, computer printout, or with photographic methods.

Step Two: Expose Plate to UV Light
When exposing with the sun, set up your Solarplate indoors, and away from direct sunlight. If the artworks contains large areas of black, subtle grays, or is photographic, it is advisable to use the "Double Exposure Technique."

First, place the Aquatint Screen, emulsion face down, in direct contact with the plate. Sandwich the plate and screen between thick plate glass and a foam backing with a rigid board. Clamp the entire unit together and expose it to the sun, or artificial UV light source, perpendicular to the rays. Best results are achieved at noontime in strong sunlight, an average time would be 90 seconds in the summer in northeast United States. Once the plate has been exposed to the screen, bring the entire unit indoors and replace the screen with the artwork. The exposure is repeated however the time may differ.

NOTE: The darker or more dense the transparency — the longer the exposure; The lighter or more delicate the transparency — the shorter the exposure. Times can vary from 3 minutes down to 15 seconds.

REMEMBER: Keep the first exposure with your time consistent. For darker results DECREASE your exposure time; for lighter results; increase your exposure time.


Solar Printing PlatesStep Three: Rinse Plate in Water
The washout (etching) process is a substitution for the "etch" process In traditional Intaglio. Sixty-eight degree water is used instead of acid. Gently, scrub the entire image with a soft nylon scrub brush for about 1 minute for the double exposure; two minutes or longer for a single exposure (without the screen). During the washout, the image will be removed from the surface, creating an intaglio surface. You can control the washing time and stop at any desired moment. After completing the washout, quickly blot with newsprint or phone book pages.

Step Four: Harden Plate
Post Expose the plate for 5-10 minutes; longer post exposure will not harm the image.

Step Five: Filing the Plate
Before inking, eliminate the sharp corners of the plate with a file.

Step Six: Print Plate
Printing may be done in either relief or intaglio. Plate thickness is less than standard zinc or copper and presses should be adjusted accordingly. Although hand printing may be accomplished by traditional rubbing techniques, a press is more desirable for ease, consistency and quality. Any quality printmaking paper may be used.

The ease in inking is enhanced by using a magnetic vinyl under the Solarplate. The steel backed Solarplate stays put on the magnet making the wiping or rolling action extremely simple.

Meininger Price: 5x7: $9.95 | 8x10: $16.95 | 9x12: $23.95 | 11x14: $41.95 | 12x16: $43.95 | 16x20: $68.95

For more information go to solarplate.com>

For product questions or availability talk to our knowledgeable sales team!

DENVER: 303.698.3838 | 800.950.ARTS [2787] COLORADO SPRINGS: 719.578.8070 BOULDER: 303.444.3063

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