If you want to find a space in your home for printmaking, you should make it as easy as possible to whip out your printmaking equipment and start printing. It’s easy to lose enthusiasm if you have to search for your tools and clear a space to print.
Make it easy to print and you’ll be more productive.
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room that you can set up as a dedicated printmaking studio, read how to set up a Printmaking Studio at Home.
If, you’re trying to find a space in your home to squeeze in some printmaking, read the following tips for making the best of the space:
1 PLOT YOUR WORKFLOW
Think about your printmaking process from start to finish. Write a list, draw a mind map or a flowchart. Take photos as you work or draw out a plan. Whichever you find easiest.
The sketch above shows how I set up my table for jelly printing. I don’t need much space for preparing the stencils, so I can cut them and clear them away before I start printing (in theory!). Then I set out my table with inks and rollers on one side of the jelly plate. My water spray and kitchen paper are within easy reach and my clean paper is kept away from the inks.
The set up for lino printing is even simpler and once again, I try to divide my space into clean and messy areas.
Here are a few things to consider if you’re planning to do some printmaking at home:
- Do you set your equipment in the same position each time?
- Do you need space for a large cutting mat, screen or table-top press?
- How do you clean up? Think about cutting debris, inky equipment and spills. Do you need a sink nearby or can you manage with a bowl of water or wet wipes?
- How do you dry your prints? Do you lay them flat or hang them?
- How long does your process take? Can you work in short bursts or does it take hours to complete each stage?
- Can you modify your workflow to make it more efficient or use the space better?
- Can some preparation take place in a different space? Worktables can double up eg the preparation area could be cleared and used for drying prints.
2 FIT PRINTMAKING IN WITH YOUR LIFESTYLE
Now you’ve worked out the sort of space that you need for printmaking at home, what other things should you consider before you set out your inks and printing equipment?
Printmaking can involve heavy equipment, sharp knives and toxic materials so you may need to do some of your printmaking process away from young children and animals
Table tops and flooring may need some form of protection from sharp knives and ink.
MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE WHEN YOU’RE PRINTING
You’ll be more productive working in a comfortable heat with good ventilation and sufficient space to move around.
Your workbench or table and seat should be a comfortable height for you to work at.
Some people are more comfortable shut away with no distractions. Others are happier in the midst of family life.
It makes sense to choose a space where you can leave everything out for as long as the printing process takes.
Choose a space where you feel happy and comfortable. Where inspiration flows and you can be creative.
GOOD LIGHTING IS ESSENTIAL FOR PRINTMAKING
It’s great to work in natural daylight but you’ll probably need good artificial lighting too. Set the lighting so that you aren’t dazzled by it or working in shadow.
STORE YOUR PRINTMAKING EQUIPMENT SENSIBLY
- Some printmaking methods need very little storage; you may be able to pack everything into a box if you’re lino printing and burnishing with a spoon. Other methods may use large screens or presses that need more room.
- Some equipment, like sharp tools must be stored where children cannot reach them.
- Organise your storage for ease of use. Stacks of open cardboard boxes rarely works efficiently (we all know that but sometimes it seems a good idea – until we try to find something).
- Trolleys are good for storing equipment as they’re easier to move than heavy boxes and you can arrange everything so that it’s easy to see and grab.
- Store your finished prints somewhere clean and dry, out of direct sunlight and where you can easily find them. Concertina files or presentation portfolios are portable and can be indexed, boxes or drawers can store larger prints.
- Read our storage tips for tools and inks.
What are you waiting for? Clear your printing space, set out your equipment and get printing! If you need supplies, remember that you can buy Ready to Print Mini Screens for screen printing from Slamseys.
The printmaking workshops at Slamseys run most Friday mornings during term time, with additional Saturday morning and summer holidays sessions.We specialise in printmaking workshops and short courses for beginners and hobby printmakers, including Fabric Printing, Drypoint, Linocut, Monoprinting and Screen-Printing. Our print studio is in a beautiful renovated barn in Essex, just an hour from London with free parking on site.
We regret that Slamseys printmaking classes are currently suspended.
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