My curriculum project is focused around schools art budgets and how we as teachers can create and develop activities/ units of work that incorporate strategies to cope with the school art budget from year to year. The activities will be focused around art and studio arts and will provide teachers from various schools with activities and enables them to share ideas on an online blog. The online blog will run as a forum, which will allow access for teachers in Victoria to share and post information about their schools budgets and activities that will help schools with a limited budget.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Activity 1 - Dry point etching

Printmaking activity one Dry point etching -

Printmaking can be a very costly medium to work with in schools due to extensive range of materials such as inks, cooper plates, rollers etc need to create a print. But in this activity i am going to demonstrate and share ideas on how to cut down printmaking costs and still produce a wonderful dry point etching.

What you will need:
  • A4 size clear acid tat sheets 2mm thickness
  • Etching needles or any sharp object such as a nail which will be used to scratch into the acid tat
  • One container of black etching ink which can be shared around the class
  • Old recycled Yellow pages books used to wipe the ink into the scratched out lines
  • 200gsm cartridge paper used for printing the plates onto
  • Vegetable oil for cleaning up
In using an A4 clear size sheet of acid tat as an etching plate rather than a cooper plate you can cut down on costs immensely. These clear acid tat sheets can be purchased in bulk from any office works or office supply store. The acid tat sheets works as a temporary etching plate which will allow the students to print a maximum of 3-4 prints before the plate begins to subside.

If your school cannot afford a class set of etching needles a great alternative is to kindly ask the wood technology teacher to kindly make some up using a wooden dowel and a nail. This will act as etching needle but can be time consuming to make. Most art stores usually stock a cheaper alternative etching needle and i advise you to purchase at least 10 of these they usually retail for around $2.50 each. 

By purchasing a bulk size tub of oil based etching ink you are able to cut down costs and limit the usage of ink used by placing the required amount of ink out when the students require it this enables the teacher to be aware of the amount of ink being used each lesson and prevents student wastage. Only a small amount of ink is required for printing such small plates.

It is essential to have at least one or two yellow pages books whilst printing dry point etchings yellow pages are used to wipe of excess ink off the plates. I cheap way to acquire some yellow pages for your art department is to post an add in the weekly newsletter as i am sure many parents have spare old copies lying around the home.

Instead of using expensive printmaking papers which can cost up to $8 - 10 a sheet i recommend using 200gsm cartridge paper. It is essential to purchase thicker cartridge paper as pre-soaking the paper before printing is a must to achieve an clear even print. Make sure to purchase cartridge paper in bulk as this helps reduce costs. Also look out for art stores mid and end of year paper sales you can save between 30 - 40% off paper at these sales.

Vegetable oil is a great alternative than using turpentine or other expensive oil paint thinners. It is cheap and non toxic which is ideal when working with students in minimum ventilated area. Vegetable oil helps clean the inks up and can be used as a thinner also.

These are just a few cost effective ways of how to handle manage your art budget whilst teaching the students dry point etching. Feel free to add comments or more suggestions!

Dry point etching using an acid tat plate

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