Plate Preparation – Backing and Filing

Posted on: September 27th, 2014
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You can bevel your edges with a file. Beveling the edge will give it a 45 degree angle and will keep your edges cleaner during the inking stage. It will also keep your paper from ripping and protect the etching blankets from damage. Draw the file in one smooth motion from one corner of the plate to the other, holding it at a 45-degree angle. Repeat process for each edge.

If the copper is quite thin, filing is not absolutely necessary, but you will need to file/sand down any sharp edges, as they may cut the felts and your paper. File/sand until the edge is no longer sharp.

Backing Your Plate 

If you’re using self-adhesive shelf liner/contact paper, you will need to cut a piece slightly bigger than your copper plate. Peel off the back and stick it to the copper plate, smoothing out any bubbles. Trim the edges of the shelf paper with a utility knife. You will also need to attach a tail by folding a piece of tape in half and adhering the sticky end to the back of the plate. This can be done after coating the back, or just before putting the plate in the ferric chloride.


Get a piece of fine sand paper (1000 grit) and wet it (you can also use 600 grit paper for sanding off small marks and grooves). Move the sandpaper in circular motions on the copper to remove any spots and/or marks from the copper’s surface. Rinse the sandpaper’s residue with water.

Categorised under: Copper, Etching