'One-point' Lessons

Lesson #25: How to Transfer a Laser Print (or a photocopy) to a Woodblock.

(contributed by Bill Ritchie)

After the key block is prepared: that is, sanded, wetted, and sanded again until it is as smooth as you want it to be, paste the laser print face-side down.

I was taught to use oriental paper - the thinnest available - and to paste it using rice paste. The registration marks were part of the original drawing (or print from another block) and they too, are thus incorporated. Now, if the paper was extremely thin to begin with, you may be able to cut right through it without a problem, but if not, you will have to rub off the paper fibers.

I didn't think I could do this with plain old bond office copier or laser printer paper, but I also thought I couldn't run thin oriental paper through my printer. Someone said it was a good way to start a fire in my printer if the paper jammed!

So I tried it with copier paper. I pasted it face down on the smooth block using 'Yes Paste' instead of rice paste. Then - and this was the hard part - I gently rubbed the fibers off with a slightly moistened finger.

The difficult part is knowing how moist the finger can be. Too much moisture and the paper - and the lines - slide right off and it's ruined.