Make Your Own Paper Fingers

When printing with intaglio methods (etching, drypoint, collagraph etc.), it’s important to print onto dampened paper. Imagine you’ve just inked up your plate, your paper is soaking in a tray of water or in a stack and it’s time to print. You wash your hands but there’s still a little inky grubbiness in your fingerprints and that damp paper is going to be ruined with a smudgy fingerprint! We use paper fingers to keep our paper pristine and protected from grubby marks. Using folded scraps of paper is a great solution but they will only last for one or two uses. Using a can is a great way to make a collection of long-lasting, washable paper fingers that won’t cost you a penny. We first learned of this idea from Steve Edwards who will be teaching Multi-Block Etched Lino at our studio in November.

Carefully use a craft knife to cut a slit into the top of the can.

Finish cutting all the way around the can with a pair of scissors.

Cut down the length of the can and around the base.

You should be left with a rectangle of metal. Neaten up the edges with scissors to remove any sharp pieces of sticking up metal.

Cut this rectangle into strips 2 – 3cm wide. Cut parallel to the short edge.

Fold each strip in half.

With the strips folded, round the two unfolded corners into a D shape.

These can be made from any drinks can so start holding onto great coloured and patterned cans to build up your collection of paper fingers!

To learn more about intaglio printing head to our intaglio section on the blog or shop for more intaglio printmaking materials.