When printing with intaglio methods (etching, drypoint, collagraph etc.), it’s important to print onto dampened paper. Imagine you’ve just inked up your plate, your paper is soaking in a tray of water or in a stack and it’s time to print. You wash your hands but there’s still a little inky grubbiness in your fingerprints and that damp paper is going to be ruined with a smudgy fingerprint! We use paper fingers to keep our paper pristine and protected from grubby marks. Using folded scraps of paper is a great solution but they will only last for one or two uses. Using a can is a great way to make a collection of long-lasting, washable paper fingers that won’t cost you a penny. We first learned of this idea from Steve Edwards who will be teaching Multi-Block Etched Lino at our studio in November.
Carefully use a craft knife to cut a slit into the top of the can.
Finish cutting all the way around the can with a pair of scissors.
Cut down the length of the can and around the base.
You should be left with a rectangle of metal. Neaten up the edges with scissors to remove any sharp pieces of sticking up metal.
Cut this rectangle into strips 2 – 3cm wide. Cut parallel to the short edge.
Fold each strip in half.
With the strips folded, round the two unfolded corners into a D shape.
These can be made from any drinks can so start holding onto great coloured and patterned cans to build up your collection of paper fingers!