A guide to printmaking

What is Silkscreen Printing?

Silk screen printing is printing with the use of a silk mesh screen which is placed over the paper being printed on to, and ink being pushed through the mesh of the screen in order to deposit a thin and even layer of colour on to the paper. Shapes are masked off in order to only print ink on to the desired areas of your paper. Multi layering of inks on a single sheet of paper with different shapes masked off could create rich, densely coloured images. Silk screen prnting is a quick way of exploring colour and colour theory, and also a very effective means of mass production of a single image.

Permaset Screen Printing Inks

Permaset Aqua Fabric Printing Colour is the perfect solution to create your textile artwork. A complete range of colours ensure your creativity is unlimited. All colours are water based so equipment can be easily cleaned up with water.

Water based inks do not contain PVC or phthalates and are much more environmentally friendly. Permaset Aqua inks do not contain any toxic chemicals at all. It is formulated free from Lead and other heavy metals and passed the Oekotex Class 1 standard with 60% to spare. It is safe to use on baby clothes under 2 years, underwear and swimwear.

Permaset Aqua inks do not contain ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFC's and HCFC's, aromatic hydrocarbons or any volatile solvents. And you don't need solvents to clean the screens down after they've been used - you can clean them with water.

Most screen printing companies were using Plastisol inks as water based inks can be difficult to use due to air drying and usually, they are not as durable and opaque as Plastisol inks.

Permaset Aqua inks were developed with this in mind. They are highly durable to wash, rub and dry-clean, together with intense pigment colour for excellent coverage, opacity and colour brightness. The ink colours have light-fastness ratings of at least 6/8 on the Blue Wool scale - in fact most of the colours received ratings of 8/8.

The Permaset Aqua range delivers benefits including being environmentally friendly, soft to the touch, exceptionally durable and in the case of Super Covers, excellent opacity in a range of colours.

Screen Printing Mediums

AV Silkscreen and Textile Medium

AV Acrylic Silk Screen and Textile Medium can be mixed with acrylics at 50% to obtain a thermo-fixable, waterproof colour with flexibility and adherence to textile fibres and also suitable for silk screening use.

System 3 Screen Printing Mediums

System 3 Acrylic Printing Medium is specially formulated for use with System 3 Original. The two combine to produce economical, low-odour, water-based screen printing ink which is regarded worldwide as the finest of its kind and, being solvent-free, is ideal for use in schools, studios and at home. Printing Medium slows down on-screen drying of acrylic colour, reducing the risk of screen blocking, making it easier to wash out. Screens, kept moist, will wash out easily with soap and water. The medium can be thinned with water. Even after mixing with Printing Medium, System 3 Original colours retain great density of colour, and very substantial covering power can be achieved on paper, card and board without undue cockling.

If printing on textiles, System 3 Textile Printing Medium should be mixed in roughly equal quantities with System 3 Original colours. The medium performs very well on cotton, cotton mixes, most natural fibres, silk and synthetics.

Golden Silkscreen Medium

Golden Silkscreen Medium is a water-borne system designed to blend with acrylic paints for silk-screen application onto paper, wood and other suitable fine art materials. This product is designed to increase working time and prevent paint from drying in the screen too quickly.

NOTE: Golden Silkscreen Medium is NOT intended for use on fabrics to be laundered. Use Golden Silkscreen Fabric Gel for such purposes.

Golden Silkscreen Fabric Gel

Golden Silk-Screen Fabric Gel is a water-borne system designed to blend with acrylic paints for silk-screen application onto cotton, 50/50 cotton/polyester blend fabrics, and other garments. This product gives paint a soft, pliable feel and when properly heat-set, provides excellent laundering stability. Silk-Screen Fabric Gel also increases working time and retards paint from drying in the screen.

NOTE: Golden Silk-Screen Fabric Gel is not designed for application onto materials not intended to be washed, such as paper, wood and canvas. For these and other fine art applications, use Golden Silk-Screen Medium.

Jackson's Acrylic Silkscreen Medium

Mix acrylic colour 50% to provide consistency suitable for screen printing. Excellent adhesion and flexibility. Waterbased and non-toxic. Suitable for painting or printing onto fabric. Iron fixable. Conforms to US Standard ASTM D-4238

Lascaux Silkscreen Mediums

Lascaux Screenprinting Paste

Adding Lascaux Screenprinting paste to Lascaux colours enables one to work in silk-screen technique as part of a 100% water-based system.

Lascaux Screen Filler

To form waterproof stencils. Lascaux Screen filler doses meshes effectively and is easy to remove from the mesh after printing.

Lascaux Screen Painting Fluid

This ready-to-use water-soluble screen paintig fluid, dries quickly to water-soluble stencils, doses meshes effectively and is easy to see in the mesh.

Lascaux Tusches

Lascaux Tusche Wash

This tusche has handling qualities similar to ink and can be diluted to make gradated washes typical of stone lithography.

Lascaux Tusche Wash / spray

This tusche can be sprayed from a simple airbrush and is required if Lascaux Lift Solution is to be used.

Lascaux Tusche waterproof

Fast drying, waterproof and scuff resistant, this semi-viscous tusche has homogenous covering power and is useful for a broad range of painted marks. The diluted tusche dries to resemble ‘toad-skin’ washes usually found in zinc-plate lithography.

Lascaux Tusche water - soluble

This viscous tusche can be painted in a smooth even layer which can be scratched away to create delicate non-printing lines. It can also be used for a broad range of painted marks, offsetting and pattern-making. The diluted tusche dries to create characterful granular washes.

Lascaux Tusche soft-ground effect

This slow drying viscous tusche has been designed to produce effects similar to soft ground in traditional etching. Using this method soft non-printing drawings may be made and impressions of fabric, leaves, feathers and other collage materials may be taken. The tusche can also be used for a broad range of painted marks and can be drawn into with paint shapers and other tools. The diluted tusche dries to create granular washes.

Lascaux Lift solution

Lascaux Lift Solution is used in conjunction with Lascaux Tusche wash/spray. The method is similar to ‘sugar-lift’ in traditional etching, and the marks made with Lascaux Lift Solution resemble classic sugar-lift marks. When the Lascaux Lift Solution is used to make an autographic positive, the painted marks will be non-printing and the sprayed Tusche background will print.

Lascaux Tusche diluting liquid

A ready-to-use liquid for diluting Lascaux Tusches to alter their handling characteristics or to create delicate washes on positives.

Permaset Print Paste

Permaset print paste (reducer) is an uncoloured base for achieving a more transparent shade - designed for use with Permaset Aqua water-based screenprinting inks.

Screen Printing Sets

It is easy for anyone to create impressive designs using the simple tools contained in these screen printing sets. Each set contains all the necessary equipment (screen, squeegee, medium, ink, etc.) you need to learn a screen printing technique, along with easy to follow instructions. It is possible to apply your prints to paper, cardboard, wood as well as fabrics.

System 3 Screen Printing Set

Screen printing with Daler-Rowney System 3 Acrylics and additives is a non-toxic process. As a result, water-based screen printing has become more accessible for education and home printmakers. Screen printing is an ideal medium for all ages and because of the simple technology fabulous imagery can be produced on basic equipment.

Find everything you need to begin screen printing at home in this introductory set.

Screen Printing Papers

Canaletto Paper for Silkscreen Printing

Cotton content papers have a natural lasting brightness, crisp purity, strength and elegance. During the paper making process, the long cotton fibers bond and securely intertwine creating paper with exceptional strength for the most demanding of printing techniques. Your project will benefit from using this elegant, true felt finished, cotton enhanced paper that is luxurious to the touch.

Printing/Handling Tips:
  • Paper should be allowed to acclimate to pressroom conditions of 70° – 75° F with 50% relative humidity.
  • Twenty-four hours is recommended and slightly longer during cold weather.
  • Due to the bulk of the 111# Cover it may require special handling.
  • Small lifts are recommended.
  • Make sure the cutting blade is sharp.
  • Conventional low-tack inks are recommended.
  • The use of an IR oven often helps drying time.
  • Consult with your ink manufacturer for varnish or aqueous coating applications.
  • Always score before folding with multiple folds, the primary fold should be in the grain direction.


Greeting cards, business cards, book covers, inserts, shopping bags, menus, luxury packaging, folders, calendars, prestige publications, brochures, envelopes, and direct mail advertising

Hinged Silkscreen frames

At Jackson's we sell hinged silkscreen frames that enable you to try silkscreen priting in the comfort in your own home. The mesh is hinged on to a backing board on to which you can place the paper you are printing on. The mesh is 100 micron and the frame is perfect for beginners.

Other screen printing tools

Squeegees are used to push the ink across the screen, and therefore also through the mesh onto the surface you are printing on to. It is made of a rubber blade that is fixed to a wooden handle. The best squeegees have an even blade to make an even drag of ink possible, ensuring a even deposit of ink on your paper.

Spatulas are very handy for getting your ink from the tin and on to the screen. Also for mixing colours.

What is Etching?

Etching is a type is intaglio printing whereby acid or other corrosive chemicals ‘bite’ or ‘etch’ into a plate. An acid resistant ground is applied to the surface of the plate and the artist then draws an image through the ground, exposing the metal underneath. This metal is then etched away by the acid and the furrows created hold the ink. As with other types of intaglio printing, ink is pushed into the furrows and the surface is wiped clean. A print is then taken by putting the plate and dampened paper through an etching press under high pressure.

Etching Ink

Caligo Safe Wash Etching Inks are oil-based but they can be washed away safely with soap and water. You don't need solvents to clean up these inks. They are suitable for all types of intaglio printing for example, etching, aquatint, line engraving etc.

This range does not contain any driers. If you want faster drying rates, you can add a small amount of cobalt or manganese driers.


We recommend you print on lightly damped. It is important to remember that the inks are designed to emulsify in water and so we advise you do not to over damp your paper. You don’t need to damp your paper for long and not as long as you may need for traditional inks. You should always blot the paper thoroughly to make sure there is no surface water left on the paper. Some experimentation may be needed depending on the type of paper you print on, your damping technique, and the print pressure you use, amount of plate tone etc. We recommend you avoid touching the image while it is wet.

Etching Resists

Hard resist

The lines and marks which can be generated by using the Lascaux Hard resist are comparable to those offered by traditional hard grounds. It is painted on the plate in a thin even layer which when dry can be drawn into with etching tools. As the waxy resist allows free movement of the etching needle, delicate line drawings can be made. The resist may be used in its clear form or coloured after application. Broader open marks can also be created in the layer of resist.

Lascaux Hard resist is water-soluble, ready to use, nontoxic and suitable for use on copper, brass, zinc, steel and aluminium. Plates should be correctly prepared, whether unbitten or previously etched (e.g. aquatint, deep open bite). The resist is highly acid resistant and durable. It is compatible with the other Lascaux resists and photopolymer resists such as Photec. Lascaux Hard resist may also be used to create a variety of effects on collagraph plates.

Lascaux Plate-backing resist

Lascaux Plate-backing resist has been specially designed as part of the acrylic-resist etching system. This new generation acid resist is painted onto the back and the edges of etching plates to protect the metal from the action of the mordant.

Dried resists are removed by immersing the plate in a tray or tank of Lascaux Remover for 15 to 30 minutes.

Concentrated multi purpose cleaner for the Acrylic Resist Etching method and for waterbased Screenprinting. To remove dried Lascaux Screen filler, Acrylic resists, Tusches, Acrylic paints etc. from screens, metal intaglio plates, smooth substrates, work surfaces, paint brushes and tools.

Contains fatty alcohol polyglycol ether, ethylene glykol monobutyl ether, monoethanolamine and sodium xylenesulfonate in water.

Lascaux Stop-out resist

Lascaux Stop-out resist has been specially designed as part of the acrylic-resist etching system. This coloured resist is fluid and can be easily painted onto plates to create images, make corrections to plates or used for stopping-out. It can be drawn into with etching tools when dry.

Soft Resist

This new-generation acid resist has been specially designed as part of the acrylic-resist etching system. The lines, marks and textures which can be generated by using this resist in its soft state are comparable to those offered by traditional soft grounds (soft drawn marks and collage textures).

Lascaux Wash resist

Lascaux Wash resist has been specially designed as part of the acrylic-resist etching system and should be used in combination with Lascaux Aquatint spray resist. This unique acid resist is painted on etching plates to create washes and tonal effects. They are particularly effective on brass and copper.

Etching Papers

Traditionally, etching paper is dampened then blotted off between sheets of blotting paper prior to printing. The paper then has enough elasticity to it for successful printing. When it goes through the press the paper is squeezed into the etched crevices on your inked up plate, and picks up the ink from it.

Etching Tools

Etching Presses

AE Presses for etching or relief printing (from lino or wood cuts). AE Presses are specially designed for ease of operation and production to create perfect etchings, and at a size and price to suit all artists. These presses are of an extremely robust, solid construction.

Our AE Presses are shipped directly from the factory. Please note that this product requires specialist shipping and is therefore excluded from the shipping rates and offers quoted on our website or catalogue. Upon purchase, we will promptly obtain a quote for delivery based on the product’s dimensions, weight, and your location.

What is Lino and Block Printing?

Also known as relief printing or woodcut printing depending on the materials being used, block printing is when an images is cut away from a block. What remains forms the positive shapes and lines of your image. Most commonly the material being cut into is lino or wood. Once the image has been fully cut into the block, ink is rolled on to the surface in a thin and even manner, and then paper is pressed on to the inked up block in order to make the print.

Relief Inks

Relief inks are available water based or oil based. Some of the oil based inks are water washable, which is really useful for the clean-up operation, which can be time consuming and messy, and with solvents, quite smelly and harsh to skin too! Relief inks are slightly tacky to help the ink adhere both to the surface of the block you are printing from, as well as the surface you are printing on to. Inks are designed to have a consistency that will enable you to layer impressions over one another. Colours can be mixed prior to printing, or if you are working with transparent colours, they can be mixed when layered on top of one another. Opaque colours will cover any colour underneath with minimal influence from the preceeding colour. Typically, relief printmakers will roll out ink until the roller is loaded with ink and there is an even spread of colour on the surface you are inking up on. This spread of colour should have a tackiness to it and have tiny little pimples on its surface as the roller is rolled over it. It is better to ink up your block slowly with thinner applications of ink than quickly with one thick application of ink as it is likely that you will apply the ink unevenly if it is done in a hurry. Oil based inks can have their drying times sped up by adding a couple of drops of cobalt or manganese driers.

Relief Ink Mediums

Mediums will either alter the appearance of your relief ink, or alter the quality of regular paint to make it suitable for use as a relief ink. Schmincke produce a number of mediums that add gloss or pearlescence to your ink. System 3 printing mediums can be added to acrylic colour to add a tackiness to the paint and make it suitable for relief printing with. Similarly the Georgian block printing medium will also add tackiness to oil paint and make it suitable to use as a relief printing ink.

Relief Sets

There are a few relief printmaking sets available that contain cutting tools, blades, and in some rollers and barrens. The barren is useful for applying even pressure when printing by hand. Push with a circular movement on the back of the inked up block when it is placed on the surface you are printing on to. Blades are available in a range of shapes and sizes and will each offer different marks with the potential to create a richly textured relief print full of different marks. Sharp tools are really important! They will help you achieve clean and crisp marks. You can keep your tools sharp with the aid of a sharpening stone.


The softer the material that you use for your relief printing, the easier it will be to cut into, but also the less crisp the cut lines. It really is a case of trying the different linos and working out which suits your style of working best.

Gelli Arts Printing Plate

Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plates have the appearance and feel of gelatine, but are durable, reusable and can be stored at room temperature. Gel Printing Plates are easy to clean and are always ready for printing. When monoprinting on a Gelli plate the technique is simple and the gratification is immediate.

Papers for Relief Printing

You can try relief printing on most papers. Traditional japanese woodcut prints and the linocut prints produced by the famous artists of the Grosvenor School in London both enjoy the aesthetic of being printed on very thin, semi-translucent paper with a degree of absorbency, known as Japanese Gampi paper. The fibres of the paper are visible, and the paper is very thin, almost like tissue paper. Ink adheres to it very easily, without a lot of pressure. It sometimes almost looks as if the layers of printed colour are suspended, and the paper possesses a degree of luminosity.

For a less delicate, bolder print, you might like to try printing on to cartridge paper. Cartridge papers tend to be bright white, although there are some natural white cartridge papers, or cream papers available. Or, for something a little more absorbent, you could try something with slightly more tooth - personal favourites include Stonehenge paper, or Fabriano Rosaspina papers. These are weighty papers that are best printed on with the use of a press, and give really vibrant results.

Printing Presses

Etching and relief presses can be used for relief printing. Etching presses have a heavy metal roller attached to a metal bed that slides under it when you turn the handle. The roller's distance from the bed can be adjusted depending on the pressure you need for your print. Etching presses work well for relief prints so long as you don't over ink your plate and you have a good pressure. Pressure can initially be worked out by placing a sheet of lino on the bed and adjusting the press so that the roller sits snugly on the lino. You will need to make a couple or more test prints to ensure the pressure does not cause the lino to slip during printing, or that the pressure is sufficient to press the ink on to the surface.

Relief presses tend to have vertical pressure, so that there is no danger of slipping. The table top presses available at jacksons are made up of 2 boards that press together to make the print.

Relief Printing Tools

Rubber Rollers are designed to enable you to ink up a relief plate with a thin and even deposit of ink across your piece of lino or wood. Ink up by squeezing out (and mixing the colour you want) on to a smooth surface - a sheet of glass is ideal. Then roll the colour around on the surface so that you have a patch of colour that is even and has a slight tacky quality to it. You can then roll the ink on to your lino or wood evenly.

Lino cutters and wood cutters can both be used on lino, but we would not reccommend using the lino cutters on wood as they may not be resilient enough. Lino cutters tend to have a handle and removable blades. The blades come in different shapes and sizes and each make different marks. The wood cutting tools tend not to have removable handles. Instead the blades are attached to a wooden handle that is shaped to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.

A safety guard is very useful for avoiding the more dangerous aspect of relief printing - slipping while cutting and inadventently cutting the hand that is holding the lino. The guard will fit around the corner of the material, so that while you are cutting, the guard is the only thing that your blade could hit if it slipped, thus protecting the hand holding the lino.

Digital Printing

This selection includes papers and canvases suitable for inkjet printing. These surfaces, when used with a good quality printer, can yield fantastic art and photograph reproductions.

Fredrix Digital Canvas

Fredrix Inkjet Canvas is compatible with Hewlett Packard, Epson, Canon, and other inkjet printers. A special white coating, designed expressly for use with inkjet printers, produces superior quality, high resolution printing.

Hahnemühle Inkjet Canvas

The Canvas assortment for FineArt inkjet printing offers a wide choice of canvas made from cotton or poly-cotton. With its selection of colours and structures the assortment enables every artwork to have a unique character.

Hahnemühle Monet Canvas has a neutral white base tone and is made of 100% cotton. Its outstanding characteristics are highly respected and recommended for art reproduction as well for high-quality photo printing with painting effect. The high surface weights of these new canvases, 400 gsm and 410 gsm, give them a robust, but tactile surface texture. The A3 format, available in boxes of 20 sheets, is new in the assortment for both new Canvas qualities and ideal for stretching 8 x 10” canvases.

Hahnemühle Digital Paper

The Canvas assortment for FineArt inkjet printing offers a wide choice of canvas made from cotton or poly-cotton. With its selection of colours and structures the assortment enables every artwork to have a unique character.

Hahnemühle Monet Canvas has a neutral white base tone and is made of 100% cotton. Its outstanding characteristics are highly respected and recommended for art reproduction as well for high-quality photo printing with painting effect. The high surface weights of these new canvases, 400 gsm and 410 gsm, give them a robust, but tactile surface texture. The A3 format, available in boxes of 20 sheets, is new in the assortment for both new Canvas qualities and ideal for stretching 8 x 10” canvases.

Bockingford Watercolour Printer Paper

Bockingford Inkjet is the answer for artists who wish to create their own limited edition prints. Fantastic prints can be reproduced to look like the original, when using a good inkjet printer.

Artists familiar with the original Bockingford watercolour paper will recognise the same beautiful surface on Bockingford Inkjet. It is made in the same time-honoured fashion as Bockingford watercolour paper using a traditional mould machine.

Unlike other artist inkjet papers, Bockingford Inkjet has an ink receptive coating on both sides of the sheet, allowing limited edition books and portfolios to be created.

Digital Mediums

Ghiant Fixative

Quick drying and protective fixative spray for inkjet prints. Ghiant Inkjet Fixative dries in approximately 10 minutes. For best results leave to dry for several hours. Extra coats may be applied after drying time.

Available in 3 finishes - Matt, Satin & Glossy. For mixed media work, including watercolour, on top of inkjet prints it is recommended to use the Matt finish as the others repel water too much to make watercolouring possible.

It may used on CD’s, most papers, canvas and films after printing but it is always advisable to test materials for compatibility before use. "Great product for 'waterproofing' inkjet printed labels."

To view the Jackson's Art Supplies Printmaking Playlist on our YouTube Channel please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbHZ8tkEa0Q&list=PLi86B3jOHkDbTXn9E3P-_HFtSOvKTj3IS

What is Lithography?

Lithography works on the principle that water and oil do not mix.  The lithography ‘plate’ is traditionally a flat piece of prepared limestone but sheets of metal, usually aluminium, are now used at lithographic plates. The design of the print is applied to the plate using an oil or wax based medium. The design can be drawn on, or can be the transfer of a photographic image, again using a grease-based medium. For multiple colour prints a separate plate must be prepared for each colour.

Gum Arabic and water is added to the plate, which does not mix with the grease on the surface but will sit in all the other areas of the plate. Then the plate is made wet with water, which will also repel the grease and only sit on the areas covered in the gum Arabic solution. When the plate is inked up with oil based inks using a roller, the ink adheres only to the greasy areas as it will not mix with the water. The plate is then placed on a press with paper placed over the image and an impression is made.

Because there is such freedom with how you might choose to apply your marks to the plate, lithography is a versatile printing medium that can achieve many effects, from thin watercolour like washes to sharp pencil-like lines. It is not to be mistaken with offset lithography, which is a much more complex and mechanical process which derives from lithography, but is used to print books, magazines and reproductions of paintings.