The use of Photo-polymer Plates in Visual Arts is extensive! Although Photo-polymer Plates were developed for Flexographic (industrial) printing, artists soon found ways to exploit this very versatile material for making art prints, etchings, artist books and more.

Today these plates are also used by jewelry artists world wide. When I first introduced the Metal Clay community to the concept of making texture and design plates at home, for a low cost and in a very short period of time, I had no idea how well they would be embraced.

But making impressions is only one technique the plates can be used for. Once you have the set up for exposing and making the plates, you are all set to use them for all sorts of other things:

1. Printing

This is what they were designed for! Think of packaging Mica Powder nz and presentation materials and printing on materials to make jewelry from.

Use your logo on Card Tags, pretty paper bags etc
Print onto perspex or on glass for use in jewelry pieces

2. Embossing

This works especially well when you use the harder polymer plates. All you need is a simple ball stylus purposely designed for embossing, or try an empty ballpoint pen to start you off. Make sure to use good quality, heavy paper.

3. Using a Photo-polymer Plate as a Mould for Wax Models for Casting

Making multiple, or related castings is easy when you start with a basic design in a polymer plate.

Use the deepest plate you can buy
Brush vaseline into the grooves and all over the plate
Build a shallow retaining ‘wall’ around the design to keep the liquid wax in
Pour the wax carefully into all the grooves
Let it cool naturally and take it off the plate
The resulting wax can be further worked like any other wax model

4. Making Moulds for Glass

Make a master for Casting plaster

Use the depth of plate suitable for your design (a plastic backed plate would work better for this process)
Oil well in the grooves and all over the plate
Build a retaining ‘wall’ around the design, make it in two steps, one for the plaster and one a bit deeper for the glass
Pour in your casting plaster mix and let set
Take off the plate and dry thoroughly
Then follow you favourite casting schedule with the glass of your choice

5. Making Moulds for Pottery Clay

Plaster moulds made for clay would be similar to the ones described above. They can be simple press moulds, or made with a well to take casting slip.

Use a flexible plate to make it easier to release from the plaster or clay would be advisable.

Make lovely ceramic pieces that can be set in metal or simply strung on cord or leather.

6. Making Impression Plates for Polymer Clay and Metal clays

And last but not least….this is what many metal clay artists use to get nice clean lines in their designs.

Excellent as a starting point for further carving
Great for bold inlay designs
Making metal Logo tags, using computer artwork including lettering
Making Keum-boo texture plates and more


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