Why soak paper for printing etchings?

Why soak the paper for printing etchings?

After fully soaking and draining a sheet of fine etching paper, the fibres soften up, making it pliable enough to pick up even the finest lines from an intaglio plate when pinched between the rollers of the etching press. The difference between printing on dry paper instead of wet is pronounced and affects the print quality. This is because the dampened paper is much more pliable and receptive to the inks. Blotting paper is sometimes used to interleave between wetted paper sheets to remove excess moisture before printing since the dripping wet paper will not produce a perfect print. The correct level of dampness is key.

What does soaking the paper and then blotting it do for the image of the final print?

One thought on “Why soak paper for printing etchings?

  1. After fully soaking and draining a sheet of fine etching paper the cotton fibres soften making it pliable enough to pick up even the finest lines from an intaglio plate when passed through the etching press.

    You can clearly see the difference between printing dry and wet. The later giving the best quality especially if the etching plate is pre-heated making the inks more liquid. Wetted paper is much more receptive to the inks.

    Blotting paper is used sometimes to interleave between wetted paper sheets to take away excess moisture before printing.

So great if you could take a minute and leave your thoughts on this.

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