Non-Toxic Etching

A fine day - etching by Heather Haythornthwaite2021 dates:
Please get in touch if you are interested in this class.

10am – 4pm
Two days, 10 hours total (+ lunch breaks)

Venue: INTRA
Suitable for adults. Class size 5 max.

Explore the less hazardous modern form of etching using metal salt solutions to bite metal plates, instead of traditional acids. In this two-day introduction to etching you can learn how to prepare hard and soft grounds, etch zinc plates, and print them using our lovely Rochat etching press.

Workshop includes:

Adding hard ground to a clean plate.

Adding hard ground to a clean plate.

Beginning with a look at examples of etching prints on day one, you’ll see the range of marks that can be made with different etching techniques. You’ll learn how to add a hard ground to a zinc plate with gentle heat, then draw on and scrape away parts of the ground with pointed tools to expose areas of the plate. The exposed areas will be incised or ‘bitten’ when the plate is immersed in a copper sulphate solution, thus making grooves in the plate that will be used to hold ink.

Then we’ll look at inking up and wiping off the plate, discuss papers and how they are prepared for printing by soaking, and learn how to use the etching press safely to make prints.

There are good cafes nearby for lunch, or you can bring along a packed lunch and eat it at INTRA.

Soft grounds will be covered on day two, contrasting softer drawing marks made in this method to the thinner wiry marks made with the hard ground. Another plate will be bitten with the copper sulphate solution and you can practice your inking technique and experiment with your plates.

People who have taken this course can return to use our print studio during open access sessions.


If you have any questions about the course or payment, please call or send us an email.

Artwork and what to bring

On booking you will be sent details of things it would be useful for you to bring. If you don’t have your own design to work with, you can pick something from the studio’s design library with hundreds of illustrated and vintage books to give you inspiration. The etching process requires you to hand-draw marks onto the plate.


Please give us as much notice as possible if you are not able to come to a course that you have booked. If you cancel with seven or more days notice, we will reschedule or refund your booking. For cancellations less than seven days before the workshop date – we may be able to offer you a discount on a future booking if we can fill your place, but please note that we have to cover space, preparation and tutor costs and if you cancel at the last minute we still have to pay for these.


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