Online Cake Decorating Class

An overview and comparison of different printmaking techniques
This overview aims at comparing different methods of printmaking in terms of cost and time spent as well as the skill level one needs for that technique.

Method skill level cost time
Etching and aquatint It is easy to draw an image onto the plate.
The difficulty lies in the knowledge to manipulate acids and coat the plate with wax properly. With aquatint an added difficulty is the resin dust to apply

plates are expensive
You also need a lot of equipment: wax, tarlatan, needles, acids

Creating a plate can be done in a matter or minutes. The printing takes a little longer
Engraving It is very difficult to create an image onto the plate as this needs to be carved out. Inking is the same as for etching and aquatint

plates and burins are expensive

Creating a plate is time-consuming. It can take months to complete one.
Drypoint It is not too hard to draw onto the plate and scratch it. The technique just requires surface scratches and a plate can be completed easily

You can use any needle or pointed tool to scratch the plate. Plates are expensive.

printing does not take long
Mezzotint Creating an image takes time as you need to flatten the surface of the plate and scrape off some parts to reveal the metal and gently work over if for a whle. Not too difficult

You can make your own plate - but very time consuming. Buying a plate is very expensive. You just need a rocker to prepare the surface

preparing the plate is very time consuming. Inking the plate takes longer than with an etching
Woodblock and wood engraving Carving is the most difficult part; it can take months to complete a project depending on how fine and intricate your design is. Inking is easy with oil based inks, a little trickier with waterbased inks.

The cost of the block depends on the wood chosen.
You need at least 3 wood carvers

Carving the image is very time consuming. Printing is fairly fast.
Linocut or linoleum cut Probably the easiest to do

Linoblocks are inexpensive and carving tools are cheap

printing is very fast
Stone Lithography Requires a lot of knowledge to prepare a stone, work it and etch it. Definitely not for a beginner

A stone is very expensive (your are lucky if you find one at $1,000)

printing is quite fast
Screenprinting Pretty easy

Screens are not very expensive. You don't need too many things

printing is extremely fast
Monoprints and monotypes By far the easiest to do

You don't need anything in particular

Creating an image takes time, printing is immediate
Prohogravure Leave it to the experts - very hard

There are many things involved so it is not very cost effective

Preparing a plate takes time - printing time is the same as etching

print this page