in printmaking is similar to registration for a college class. It simply means positioning the plate where
it belongs and positioning the paper where it belongs in relation to the
plate while printing. Two simple means
of registering are described below:
1) Ink the key plate, the first one
made, in white ink. Wipe the plate
with paper or tarlatons. This does not
have to be a very refined wiping.
2) Cut a 2nd plate the same
dimensions as the first and prepare paper by soaking and calendering. The new plate should be coated in advance
with asphaltum baked on. This provides
a black surface against which the white ink is quite easily seen.
3) The first plate (or key plate) should
be run through the press against the calendared paper. Under the plate in the bed of the press
should be newsprint or cheap paper that can be sacrificed for purposes of
keeping the press clean and for purposes of registration. The cheap paper, the plate, the printing
paper, the felts – everything is run through the
press to make a normal print.
After the plate has run through the press, do not pick the paper up
immediately but instead mark the position of the good paper on the underlying
cheap paper by putting tick marks around the sides of the paper. It’s a good idea to put 3 tick marks on one
side and 2 on the other so you can distinguish the sides from each
other. Only after doing that should
you lift the printing paper from the plate.
Do not lift the plate.
5) With a sharp pencil outline the plate
on the backing sheet that’s on the bed of the press.
Now you can lift the plate and place the dark ashaltum plate in its
place. Using the tick marks as a
guide, you should immediately reposition the printing paper, reposition the
felts, and run the whole sandwich back through the press.
7) Assuming that everything remains in
alignment, you should have a white impression on a dark background. At this point you can easily trace the
forms using a needle and etch briefly the image into the plate.
second technique uses physical restraint to position the plate and
paper. There are numerous variations
that one can make up using magnets, weights, etc., but this a basic
version. In this case the paper is
intentionally oversized with a lengthy strip extending on one
end. If the paper you have available
is too small, you can use Kraft tape and tape a temporary “tail” onto the
printing paper. In addition to an
extension on the paper, you will need 2 scrap pieces of metal, perhaps as
large as the plate itself and, ideally, 2 heavy weights.
1) Once again, the key plate is inked in
white or an ink that will show up against black and prepare to print. The oversized piece of paper is laid on top
of the printing element with the majority of the excess paper extending behind
it. The plate is run through the press
far enough to clear the roll, but not far enough to release the paper.
The felts and the printed paper are now wrapped back around the roller,
leaving the plate on the bed of the press.
Using the left hand to hold down the printing plate, the right hand should slide a
scrap piece of metal alongside the printing element. (At this point, if you
have a magnet or a heavy weight, that should be
place on top of the scrap metal.)
3) Keeping the left hand on the printing
plate, a second copper piece is place against another edge of the copper
forming an “L” shape. Again with a
heavy weight placed on the scrap metal, the plate should be locked in place.
4) Once the 2 scrap pieces are secured,
you can lift up the original printing plate and replace it with a new one
onto which the image is transferred.
If you’re doing multiple plates, more than 2, it is imperative that
you create your L shaped corner in the same place each time. In other words, don’t change sides of the
plate in the middle of registration.
5) At this point, the scrap metal is
pulled away and the paper is lowered over the 2nd piece of
copper. The entire sandwich is run
back through the press and the image transferred.
the pressure of the press is used to hold the paper in place, it has not been
moved and is very accurately placed.
Because scrap metal has been used to physically control the position of the 2nd
plate, it is also accurately positioned.
The result should be a very accurate registration. When you print this sequence of plates, you
must use the same corner as a guide.