Printing Methods

Solar Plate Printing

Solar Plate Printing
Photo-polymer plates were developed in the 1960s and the process was then established in the newspaper industries to replace the lead based plates being used. Workers were then no longer exposed to the poisonous fumes generated. In 1972 printmaker Dan Welden discovered that by exposing the coated plate to the sun he could make a high quality plate quickly - hence solar plate.

Solar Plate
The special plate must be kept out of the sunlight and UV until it is ready to expose but is not affected by dim artificial light. Your image is photocopied on to a transparency – the black parts will become your image or you can draw or paint an image on to drafting film. You will need to use a special aquatint screen with Solarplate when exposing it to the light. The aquatint is a sheet of film covered with very small random dots. This prevents areas of open bite occurring and allows you to make your image tonal.

The transparency holding your image, the aquatint screen and the solarplate is sandwiched between a sheet of glass and a board and then the package exposed to the light source for a timed period. (Around 2-3 minutes but this will vary with conditions) The plate is then developed by scrubbing in water for around 3 minutes.

And then you print it.