Sometimes I have trouble finishing (or even starting) the projects I say I'll do. Not this time - I said I'd make these TacocaT stickers and so I made them dammit! Quite quickly too, I might add. AND!! I rocked this super rad smock while I printed. (i found it over in west seattle - so charming there! excellent smocks!) Now if only I could publish a blog post as promptly. :/
I played with a number of new tools and materials this time - an ink plate/bench hook, new water-soluble oil based printing inks, and transparent ink-jet sticker paper. A few months ago I splurged on the ink plate and oil based inks and I'm happy to have acquired both. I had been rolling out my inks on a kitchen plate, so the new ink plate practically felt like a miracle.
The oil based inks posed a new challenge, but I do like them better than the rubber based inks I was using before. Here's why -- I CAN WASH THEM OFF MY HANDS!!!! Really! Because they are water-soluble oil-based inks...hallelujah! Now, I don't know what this means about the actual chemical composition of the inks (I will do some research), but basically you get to clean them up with soap and water instead of solvents. So I'm happy. Maybe I'll even be able to wash them out of my rags? Cross your fingers. They come in a variety of sizes at Daniel Smith so I can afford to buy a few colors in smaller quantities (yay!!), and they are suitable for printing projects that don't involve the press, like woodblocks.
The challenge posed by the new ink was this -- its sticky, sneaky sticky. It seemed alright as I was rolling it out on the ink plate, looser even than the rubber ink -- but as I worked it onto the press it seemed drier and stickier prompting me to apply more and eventually I over inked the press. Tricky! I had a lot of this going on:
And when I say a lot I mean like, every single pull. Towards the end of the run I blended some Crisco into the ink, which I'm sure is totally improper, but it seemed to help. (after all if setswell is just some kind of solid fat, why wouldn't crisco work?) It also took much longer to dry than the rubber based inks, about a week or even a little more. This could be a result of my over inking though, or maybe the addition of the Crisco. The transparent ink-jet paper went pretty well on the press, but I think its slightly strange texture could have contributed to the slow dry time as well. After I get some more practice in with this ink, I think I'm going to like it a lot.
The major downfall of this project was my own inattention to detail. As I over inked the press, ink also built up on the form and I lost a lot of detail in the print. You can see the thick layer of ink that built up along the bottom of the block in the pic above. About half the stickers I printed were ruined this way. :( I will know better next time.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that TacocaT is my friends' band. There's a link over on the right, you should check them out. Most certainly some of my favorite peeps. :D And also, Hermione helped.