Photographic Silk Aquatint

Our goal was to research a new method of producing a photographic intaglio plate using screen printing techniques and materials. We are combining photographic imagery, silk aquatint techniques, and silkscreen emulsion to create a method that we call Photographic Silk Aquatint. We wanted to create these plates using the simplest possible materials and to achieve plates that yield prints with tonal ranges and accuracy to the original image.

While we worked on refining the steps of this process to create prints that represent the original image as closely as possible, we discovered there are also many stylistic and experimental twists that can be brought to this method of printmaking.

We tested many different variables to perfect the technique and its outcome. Some of our variables included types of screen printing mesh, bitmap settings, methods for applying emulsion, exposure times, wash-out techniques, and refinements to the edge of the plates.

Each of our experiments are listed below, and you can look through them to see our entire process including the setbacks and successes, or you can look at our final guide with the most-updated set of instructions for this process.

Researchers: Mady Lacaprucia and McKenzie Stuetzel

Final Guide – Instructions

Test 1 A: Application of Emulsion

Test 1 B: Application of Emulsion

Test 1 C: Three Layers of Emulsion

Test 1 D: One Layer of Emulsion

Test 2: Printing Immediately After Exposing

Test 3 A + B: Exposure Time

Test 3 C + D: Exposure Time

Test 4: Silkscreen Mesh 160

Test 5: Higher DPI

Test 6: Change of Adhesive: Acrylic & Elmer’s Glue

Test 7: More Adhesive Testing

Test 8: Process Change

Test 9: Double-Tack Adhesive Sheets with Improved Bitmap Settings

Test 10: Silkscreen Mesh 200

Test 11: Original Process with Double-Tack Adhesive Sheet

Test 12: Silkscreen Mesh 200 with Thicker Emulsion

Test 13: Exposure Time for Improved Process

Test 14: Improved Process with New Images

Test 15: Shellac Alternative: Pledge Floor Care Finish

Test 16: Edge Fraying

Test 17: Edge Fraying with Shellac-Coated Edges

Test 18: Silkscreen Mesh 230

Test 19: Edge Fraying with Pledge Floor Care Finish

Test 20: Attempting to Perfect Process on Silkscreen 230 Mesh

Test 21: Printing Larger Plates