Monday, April 4, 2011

Paste Up

I've been using some Liquitex blending medium and/or drying retarder to add transparency to my screen printing inks. Locally, transparent base is impossible to find and I just haven't gotten around to mail-ordering any. I've been toying with the idea of using wallpaper paste as an ink base. Today I finally made it to the hardware store to check out their selection. I wanted a powdered paste so I can mix it to my own thickness preference. It took a couple of stores before I found paste which wasn't already in paste form. The only brand available was Zinsser Sure Grip.

The instructions list several different water to powder ratios for use with different types of papers. Their ratios also call for the use of the entire package of powder. Obviously I don't need that much ink mixed at one time so I decided to just figure out my own recipe. I came up with mixture of 2 cups water and 3 tablespoons of powder. The package says, "It readily dissolves in cold water without forming lumps". However, my first attempt formed one huge, unworkable lump. So I tried again with hot water, mixing the powder in very gradually. After stirring for about 10 minutes the paste was still fairly lumpy so I poured it into an old blender that I only use for making paper. A few blast of the blender and the paste is smooth as could be. I'll experiment with some printing tonight and see if it needs to be thickened or thinned.

I'm not sure how archival this new ink might be. From what I've read it should be pretty good. I found a Zinsser technical data sheet online which says the paste is "starch based" so I guess it should be fine. The package of powder was about $3.50 and should make at least a gallon of ink. So that's pretty cheap.

No comments: