Traditional lithography is based on the principle that during printing, water will be repelled by the oily parts. The printing process is not only complicated and labour-intensive, but also very hard to master. Therefore, Canadian printmaker Professor Nik Semenoff invented Waterless Lithography in the 1990s. The chemical reaction of transparent silicone and aluminium plate forms a tough, thin coat on the plate surface. During the printing process, ink adheres to image areas while non-image areas repel the ink. The printing process does not involve wiping water on the plate, and the drawing materials are water-based.
- Preparing the aluminium plate:
- Sand the whole plate surface with #800 or #1000 wet sandpaper.
- Use detergent to degrease the plate.
- Drawing on the aluminium plate:
- Use water-soluble drawing materials, or carbon toner solution to draw on the plate.
- Fixing the drawing materials on the plate:
- Use a heat gun to fix the drawing materials on the plate. It will turn the toner solution matt.
- Dilute transparent silicone with odourless thinner until it is runny.
- Use a piece of sponge to coat the silicone solution onto the plate—it has to be very thin and even.
- Use another piece of sponge to further smooth out the coating.
- Inking the plate:
- Use pure acetone to remove the drawing materials from the plate.
- Inking has to be thin and even. The ink only sticks to the image areas that are not covered in silicone coating while all other areas that are coated with silicone repels ink.
- Place the plate, printmaking paper, newsprint, thick mat board, and the press blanket on the press bed.
- Image on the plate is transferred to the printmaking paper by the printing press.
Etching press, blanket, heat-gun (1200-1500W), 10cm rollers, silicone, odourless thinner, acetone, water-based drawing materials, toner liquid, rubber-based printing ink, etching paper, newsprint, print paper etc.