Acetate. Clear plastic sheet, often used for registered overlays, handmade transparencies, and wrapping mounted prints.
Acetic Acid. Acid used for degreasing plates and screens and other applications which is the essential constituent of vinegar.
Acid resist. A liquid or solid material that cannot be affected by the corrosive factors of acids.
a la poupee. Method of applying two or more colors to an intaglio plate with small dabbers made from rags or felt.
Aluminum plate. Alloy of aluminum sheet used in lithography and suitable as a base plate for collagraphs.
Angle tint tool. A wood engraving tool similar to the burin that contains a flat-sided rod and sloped cutting tip used for single nonvarying line cutting.
Aquatint. Intaglio method on zinc or copper plates in which tones are obtained by powdered rosin or paint spray. Acid bites these tones into the plate to various depths, deeper bites yielding darker tones.
Asphaltum. Tar product used as a acid resist in etching and inking base in lithography.
Autographic ink. Greasy tusche used in lithography to create solid tones or lines.
Baren. Tool used to transfer ink from a relief block or plate to a piece without the aid of a press.
Bench hook. A holding device for blocks to avoid slipping of either blocks or tools.
Bite. Corrosive effect of acid on a metal plate.
Blankets. Woven or pressed surgical felt used on a etching press for printing.
Blind embossing. Embossed print without ink.
Block. The relief printing surface, usually 3/4" to 15/16" thick wood or linoleum.
Block-out. Substance that, when applied to the screen, plate, or stone, will stop ink from reaching the print.
Blotter. Absorbent, unsized paper used to remove excess water from printing paper and to help dry finished products. It is made from wood pulp or cotton fiber.
Bon a tirer (BAT). Print used as a guide by the printer for an edition. All prints are compared to it for excellence.
Bordering wax. Used to build walls around an etching plate so that acid can be contained.
Brayer. Small hand roller used to spread a film of ink over plates and block.
Burin. Steel engraving tool for cutting into wood or metal.
Burnisher. Piece of polished hardened steel, either curved or straight, used to smooth rough areas of a plate. A burnisher can also be a wood or plastic rubbing implement used to print a relief block.
Burnt plate oil. Raw linseed oil burnt to certain temperatures used in mixing inks and changing ink viscosity.
Burr. Metal shards thrown up by a drypoint needle as it scratches a zinc or copper plate; these hold ink and yield a soft, blurry line.
Carborundum. Commercial form of silicon carbide, an abrasive powder used to create tonal areas on plates or to grain litho stones.
Catcher blanket/sizing catcher. The press blanket next to the dampened paper when printing an intaglio plate placed there to absorb the sizing from the paper.
Charcoal block. A rectangular piece of solid hand charcoal used with water as a polishing agent on metal or stone.
Chine colle. Method of adhering thin pieces of colored paper to the larger printing paper at the same time that the inked image is printed.
Chisels. Wood sculpture tools similar in shape and construction and woodcutting tools, but much larger and more diverse.
Collagraph. Print made from a collage of various materials glued together on a cardboard, metal, or hardboard plate.
Collotype. Reproductive printing technique that is based on a photogelatin process and can yield a wide tonal range.
Color separation. Production of a different plate or screen for each color to be printed.
Counteretch. To resensitize a lithographic plate so that it will accept new drawing.
Creeping bite. Tonal gradations achieved by slowly lowering an etching plate into acid.
Creve. In etching, when closely spaced lines overetch and become eaten away.
Dabber. Soft piece of felt, leather, or cloth used to apply ink or ground to a plate.
Deckle. Wooden frame used with the papermaker's mold that helps to establish the exact size of the sheet. Also refers to the rough edge of the untrimmed paper as it comes from the mold.
Diamond point. A drypoint needle containing a ruby, sapphire or diamond chip point for sharp smooth cutting in metal.
Draw Tool. An angled cutting rod and tip with handle used to hand cut metal and plastic plates by pulling the tool towards you, scoring the plate surface so that it can be easily separated by snapping.
Drypoint. Intaglio method in which a sharp needle or diamond point is used to scratch a line onto a metal plate. The resultant burr of metal that is raised holds more ink that the incised line itself and gives the rich, velvety stroke characteristic of the technique. the plate wears out rapidly because the burr soon breaks off during printing.
Durometer. Relative hardness of a substance; used to grade rollers or brayers.
Elliptic tint tool. A wood-engraving tool similar to the burin that contains curved sided rod and cured cutting tip that produces variable changing lines and curves.
Embossing. Raised impression made by a metal or collage plate on dampened paper or similar material.
End grain. Hardwood block used for wood engraving; the wood is cut at a right angle to the grain and that surface is used for engraving.
Etch. The method and acid mixture used for biting metal in etching. In lithography, it refers to the chemical mixture for desensitizing the plate or stone.
Etching. Intaglio method in which lines are incised in a metal plate by acid. The surface is covered with an acid-resistant ground that is scratched to expose the lines to the acid.
Etching needle. Any type needle used to scratch through an etching ground to create a drawing that will be etched.
Etching blanket. Woven or pressed felt that acts as a cushion between the printing plate with its paper and the steel rollers of the etching press. The blanket forces the paper into the deepest recesses of the plate.
Eugenol. Chemical oil used to retard the drying of ink; has the same characteristics as oil of cloves.
Extender. Substance used in inks to increase volume and transparency.
Ferric chloride. Etch used with water for copper.
Flood stroke. In screen printing, the first of a double stroke of a squeegee for sharp printing. With the screen raised, ink is lightly pulled across the screen; to print, full pressure is used on the return stroke.
Fountain solution. In lithography, a mildly acidic solution sometimes used to dampen stones or plates.
French chalk. Talcum used to dust lithographic images.
Glacial acetic acid. Concentrated acetic acid.
Glassine. Thin, nonabsorbent paper used as a slip-sheet between proofs for long term storage or while they are drying.
Gouge. A tool used to remove wood or linoleum from the block.
Graver. See Burin.
Ground. In etching, an acid-resistant substance applied to the plate through which the design is drawn. Waxes, resins, and asphaltum are among the materials used to make grounds.
Gum Arabic. Secretion from the acacia tree used in lithographic etches and to help the stone reject ink and accept water. Also included in some intaglio lift-ground formulas.
Hard Ground. Ground which dries to a hard finish allowing the artist to draw through.
Hot-pressed. Smooth finish on paper made through the use of heated rollers.
Hydrochloric acid. Powerful acid used in Dutch mordant (Dutch mordant is not recommended for any use).
Intaglio. Method of printing in which ink is forced into incised lines or recessions on a plate, the surface wiped clean, dampened paper placed on top, and paper and plate run through an etching press to transfer the ink to the paper. Encompasses etching, engraving, aquatint, collagraph, and other techniques.
Iron Perchloride. See Ferric Chloride.
Letterpress. Relief press used for printing type and other material.
Levigator. Heavy metal disk with an off-center handle for graining litho stones.
Lift ground. Etching process in which an image is drawn on the plate with a water-soluble liquid paint, the plate covered with hard ground, then submerged in water. The water swells the paint, thus breaking through the hard ground.
Linoleum cut. Sheet linoleum gouged or cut to produce an image or texture, then inked and printed by the relief or intaglio method.
Linseed oil. Yellowish oil compressed from flaxseed; used as a binding agent in printer's and etching inks.
Lithography. Printing process based on the unmixability of water and grease; usually done on limestone or grained metal plates.
Litho stone. Smoothly surfaced limestone, usually from Bavaria, that receives the greasy ink that makes up a lithographic image.
Lithotine. Used in lithography as a turpentine substitute.
Mezzotint. Intaglio process in which the entire surface of a metal plate, usually copper, is rocked with a serrated tool to produce a roughened surface that, when inked, yields a rich black. Tones are produced with scrapers and burnishers.
Micrometer gauge. Device on an etching press that controls the pressure of the upper roller on the printing plate and paper.
Mineral spirits. Petroleum distillate used as a solvent for cleaning and thinning ink, ground or paint.
Monoprint. Unique print pulled from a plate that already has an image incised into it, in contrast to a monotype, where the surface is unworked.
Mordant. Acid used for etching.
Muller. Grinding device with a handle, usually made of glass or steel, which is used to mix pigment with oil or other compounds.
Naphtha. Volatile petroleum distillate for cleaning. Use with local exhaust ventilation.
Neoprene. Synthetic rubber made from chloroprene with superior resistance to oils, gasoline, sunlight, and the like; used in making rollers and brayers.
Newsprint. Cheap paper made from ground wood pulp, bleached with sulfuric acid; used as utility paper.
Nitric acid. Mordant used in varying dilutions as the etching agent for copper or zinc plates.
Offset printing. Printing that uses an intermediary transfer such as a rubber blanket before the paper is printed. There is no reversal of the image in this process.
Oil of Cloves. Pale yellow oil made by pressing cloves; added to etching and printing inks to slow drying.
Phosphoric acid. Used in lithography as a counteretch.
Photogravure. Photomechanical intaglio process that can achieve continuous tones.
pH scale. Chemical table of alkalinity and acidity ranging from 0 to 14. Less than 7 indicates acidity; 7 is neutral; more than 7 is alkaline.
Plate oil. Linseed oil thickened by evaporation to produce a more viscous oil; used in mixing etching ink to the proper consistency.
Potassium chlorate. Chemical compound used in making Dutch mordant for etching copper plate. (Dutch mordant is no longer recommended as it is very unsafe)
Process Color. Considered to be the "pure" pigment colors which can be mixed to achieve any color of the rainbow. Usually called Process Black, Blue (Cyan), Magenta, and Yellow.
Relief. Printmaking method in which the inked surface of the plate or block prints and areas or lines that are gouged out do no print. Examples include woodcut, linoleum cut, relief etching, and relief collagraph.
Restrike. Print pulled from a plate or block after the edition has been completed; may occur years later when the plate has passed into the possession of someone other than the artist.
Retroussage. Process of lightly rubbing an intaglio plate, after it has been inked in the normal way, with a soft rag to produce a blurred, fuzzy effect.
Rocker. Hardened steel tool with a curved, serrated edge; used to roughen a metal plate for mezzotints.
Roller. Tool with a rolling cylinder, usually made of plastic soft enough to deposit a film of ink onto a metal or collage plate. Many other materials are used including rubber.
Rosin. Resin from pine trees, In etching, it is used in varnish and grounds; in lithography, it is used to strengthen ink on the stone before etching.
Roulette. Engraving tool with a revolving head of hardened steel on which a dotted, lined or irregular pattern is incised; used in intaglio processes.
Scoop coater. In screen printing, a trough for coating light-sensitive emulsions onto the screen.
Scorper. Wood-engraving tool.
Scotch stone. Abrasive stick used in lithography to delete or lighten tones.
Scraper. Tool made of hardened steel in a triangular shaft; used to remove zinc or copper from etching plates.
Scraper bar. In a lithographic press, a bar that applies pressure through the tympan sheet and paper to the inked plate or stone.
Screen. In screen prints, the mesh that is stretched over a frame for printing; in halftones, the dot pattern used to translate tonalities.
Screen print. Stencil process using a mesh that is stretched over a frame. Ink is forced through openings in the mesh, which can be blocked by a variety of methods.
Silicon carbide. See Carborundum.
Size/Sizing. Glutinous material made of flour, varnish, glue or resin that is used to fill the pores of paper.
Slipsheet. Thin sheet of paper (glassine, newsprint, thin bond) used as a separator between impressions of a plate.
Snake slip. In lithography, compressed pumice used to clean areas of a stone.
Soft ground. In etching, acid-resistant coating containing petroleum jelly or tallow to prevent it from hardening when dry, so that textures can be impressed into it.
Squeegee. Rubber of plastic blade used to force ink through the mesh in screen printing.
Tannic acid. Soluble phenolic substance used in certain lithographic etch formulas to strengthen the gum arabic as it dries.
Tarlatan. Sheer cotton fabric in a plain weave; used as a wiping cloth for etchings and collagraphs.
Transparent base. In screen printing, a colorless substance used to extend ink, increase its translucency and improve its consistency.
Trap. In a multiple-block image, the slight overlap between colors that prevents white lines from appearing on the print.
Tusche. Greasy drawing material used in lithography and screen printing.
Tympan. In lithography printing, a flat greased sheet used to transfer the pressure of the scraper bar across the sheet of paper.
Type high. In letterpress printing, the height of metal type (.918 inch).
Watermark. Slightly thicker part of the papermaker's mold, usually in the form of a design or letter, that indicated the source of the paper. The watermark is thinner that the rest of the sheet.
Whiting. Calcium carbonate pumice used to polish etching plates; also the main component in lithographic stones.
Woodcut. Plank of wood that is inked on the surface to reveal a relief image or texture. Cuts gouge marks, and indentations do not print and show as white.
Wood engraving. End grain of wood that is cut and inked on the surface to reveal a relief image.
Zinc Plate. Sheet of zinc alloy that may be used as a base plate for a collagraph. Heavier weights are used normally in etching; thinner wights, in lithography.