Photopolymer Etching & Relief

Photographic photopolymer etching print of a railway track

Photopolymer etching by Kasia Parker

Scheduled 2017 dates:
Sat 20 & Sun 21 May

11am – 5pm
Two days, 10 hours total (+ lunch breaks)

Venue: INTRA
Suitable for adults
Class size 6 max.

Making photopolymer plates is a magical process that can be used to print incredibly varied marks. Delicate tones are held in photographic images made with the intaglio method, and bold shapes can be achieved with the relief plates. Josie Molloy is an accomplished printmaker and brings a great deal of etching expertise to this class.

A layer of light sensitive polymer is used on a steel plate backing. Once exposed to strong light, the polymer changes chemically and hardens. Areas protected from the light stay soft and can be washed away. The process is environmentally friendly and when the sun is used as the light source, it is described as ‘solar plate’.

Inking & wiping photopolymer etching plates in preparation for printing.

Inking & wiping photopolymer etching plates in preparation for printing.

Workshop includes:

On this two day course you can make an etching plate and a relief plate from your own design, then print them using a lovely vintage etching press. There is detailed instruction on preparing artwork transparencies for the best results, exposing and washing out the plates, inking up and wiping your plate, and working with different papers.

Day one focusses on plate making, with discussion on the types of image achievable, creation of hand drawn and painted positives for the relief plates, plus digital manipulation of photographs or drawings brought along for the intaglio plates.

On day two you’ll push ink into the etched areas and wipe off your intaglio plate in preparation for printing, take a look at differences in papers and how they are prepared by soaking, and learn how to use the etching press safely to make prints. For the relief plates you’ll learn how to hand burnish, and use the Albion press to make prints from the raised surface of the plates.

All materials are provided and no previous experience is necessary. People who have taken this course can return to use our print studio during open access sessions.

solar plate being washed out after exposure

Developing the plate after exposure

Photopolymer etching plates hardening

Photopolymer etching plates hardening


Pay online £130
Sat 20 & Sun 21 May

Pay by phone 01634 753299
Pay by cash or cards in person at INTRA
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 photopolymer relief process requires you to hand-draw marks onto a transparency on the day. The etching plate will be made from a photograph or scanned image, this can be brought along, or you can choose something to work with from our library.

Photopolymer relief plates and transparencies

Photopolymer relief plates and transparencies


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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