Also known as Crackle Ground, this technique will allow you to get craquelure effects on your plate.
Cover your plate with ground and let it dry.
Cover the plate with talcum powder and then apply a layer of Gum Arabic on it and let dry.
Gently heat the plate. Cracks will naturally form.
Let the plate cool and wash out the gum exposed through the cracks with mineral spirits or turpentine.
Degrease the plate and etch.
From a newsletter
"Here is what I do for Soft Ground. I mix Hard Ground 1/3 quantity and Kidney fat 2/3 quantity. I mix the two in a used up can and put it on the stove and stir it a bit while it melts.Once it is ready and while it is still hot and in liquid state,I paint it on the plate with a 1 and a 1/2 " brush,the kind that is used for hardware painting.Soft bristles,though.
Once the layer of fat and ground (the new soft ground ) has cooled,it is ready for use.Just lay your textures on top,cover with newsprint and run through the press at reduced pressure.Carefully remove the textures and the plate is ready to etch.
I get my kidney fat fresh from the meat market here and I suppose you could get it from the butcher's.To prepare it,I put it in a pot and put it on the stove at high heat.The fat melts and there is a crunchy edible residue leftover,which I throw away but is considered a treat in some parts of Pakistan.The left over fat turns white once it cools and is probably the same thing as the suet that is used in Kidney and Bacon Pie."