Fun in the Sun: Greeting Cards with Solar Plates
by: Curtis Taylor
This article will explain how to make fine art relief print cards using only the power of the sun. Unlike traditional printmaking methods that require dangerous chemicals or sharp tools and years of technical practice a solar plate uses the sun, some water, and a tooth brush to develop. This project will walk you through your first fine art creation with a solar plate avoiding years of art school not to mention the expense.
Solar plates are made with a special photopolymer that hardens when exposed to a UV light source. UV light sources can be purchased or made but I prefer to use a free source of UV light we call the sun. For our purposes solar plates are quite forgiving. You can work in normal indoor lighting conditions with incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs. There is no need for a darkroom. You just need to be careful to avoid direct sunlight until you are ready to expose your plate. Solar plates should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place until exposure. Solar plates are quite durable and will probably last a lifetime under normal hand burnishing.