White Ground Alternatives Using Suspended Pigment: Test 11

Date: April 28th, 2016

Researchers: Katie St. John and Liv Stanislas

Room Temperature: 68 degrees Fahrenheit

Humidity, etc: Dry, no humidity

Materials: 4″x 6″ Copper Plate 0.032 Gauge, Whole Foods 2X Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Ivory Bar Soap, Guerra Titanium White Pigment, Linseed Oil, Water, and Graphic Chemical Bone Black Ink.

Abstract: This experiment measured the longevity and potency of the 365 Laundry Detergent ground over time. We tested the ground when it was fresh to see if we could replicate our results, and then at one day later, one week later, two weeks later, and one month later.

Plate Preparation (surface prep, ground application, image making process, etc.):

Burnished out significant lines, steel wool sanded then Putz Pomade applied; Cleaned with 7th Generation Degreaser; degreased with soy sauce, backed with contact paper

Sprayed acrylic aquatint through an airbrush onto the plate, then heat-set the aquatint in a hot box for 20 minutes before adding soap ground, plate was used the same day

Soap ground recipes: 365 Laundry Detergent ½ tsp, Shaved Soap ½ tsp, Guerra Pigment ½ tsp, Linseed Oil ¼ tsp

*Shaved soap was grated on a typical kitchen grater, smallest size grater available, and then crumbled by hand to a consistency of short-grain rice. The crumbled soap at this point is four to five weeks old.

Application of the shaved soap ground:

Fresh: The ground was creamy and malleable. We were able to get large areas of consistent white tones and a lot of texture

One day, one week, two weeks, one month: The ground, instead of being a paste, had hardened to a little disk of solid material. It took a little working to make it malleable.

Etching bath notes: 38.5 degrees Baume ferric chloride

Etched in horizontal bath with agitation every 2 minutes or so

Time in bath: 23 minutes

After bath evaluation:

One Day- No flaking in the bath

One Week- No flaking in the bath

Two Weeks- Very minimal flaking in the bath

One Month-Very minimal flaking in the bath

Removal of grounds (chemicals used and evaluation of effectiveness)

Removed residual soap grounds with 7th Generation degreaser and wiping with rags

Placed in stripper bath for 15 minutes to remove the aquatint

Placed in deoxidizer bath for 15 minutes

Inking methods (type of ink used, modifiers, wiping/rolling techniques)

Ink: Graphic Chemical Bone Black with no modifiers

Tarlatan wiping with a short paper wipe to finish

Paper type: Hannemuhle Copper Plate Bright White, ⅛ sheet

Soaking time: 25 minutes

Press (blanket set up and pressure): Pelican Press with 2 sizing catchers; 0.8 pressure. Tabletop Takach; 0.6 pressure with 2 sizing catchers.

one day later

one week later copy


2 weeks old soap ground copy FinalRecipe_OneMonth


The ground has a great longevity, and yielded the same results up to a month after mixing the initial bath. This means that one could mix up a larger batch and store it for a period of time and it will still work the same way it did on the first day of use and one could expect the same results on any given day.

White Ground Alternatives Using Suspended Pigment: Test 12 >