Bioplastic Hardground – Silicon Dioxide: Experiment 2

Researchers: Zoe Dong and Megan Ogden 

Date: 12/6/2018

Temp: 68 degrees

Humidity: cool, partly cloudy


We took our four plates from a week ago and etched them in ferric chloride for 10 mins. First we applied an acrylic airbrush aquatint to half of the surface on plates 1, 2 and 3, the plates with the silicon dioxide ground.


bottom 1/2 of plates are aquatinted


Plate 4 remained as just a hard ground layer.

Plate 4, unetched

We wanted to compare the effects of this ground to those achieved with a white ground. We put the plates in the ferric tank for 10 mins in rinsed them in a bath of water. Upon exposure to water the ground started to immediately peel away.


Plate 2 showing a broken down ground after being pulled from the bath


We noticed that the aquatint appeared to have been blocked by the ground leaving no effects. 

Plate 1 showing an unsuccessful aquatint

Cleaned, etched plates

We printed the plates as follows:

Paper: Hahnemuhle Copperplate

Ink: Graphic Chemical INK CO Bone Black #514C etching ink

Modifier: burnt plate oil

Wiping: Tarlatan and newsprint


Plate 1


Plate 2

Plate 3

Plate 4

The results showed exactly what we expected, no aquatint and not a lot of added value or texture from the ground. This could be due to the short etching time. This concluded our tests with bioplastic hardgrounds. We were unable to achieve consistent results using a hydrophobic bioplastic, in part because we were unable to achieve a truly hydrophobic ground. 

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