Top 18 Printmaking Tools List

The scent of fresh ink.

A master plate has a rich weight and texture.

A mere sight of an etching instrument is enough to convince a printmaking artist that he should grab his tool and start printing!

Yes, the world of printmaking is that much fascinating.

The beauty of a pattern or texture repeated over and over again is enough to get even little kids excited about creativity!

You want to be captivated by this amazing artwork?

To help you get started, we have prepared a list of printmaking tools!

But, first, let’s welcome you to this world with a bit of a background story to get you hooked!

Printmaking: What’s it all about?

Printmaking has been a popular art form in the last century.

One of the earliest uses was in 7th century China, when a Chinese artist drew on a wooden block a picture and later transferred that image onto fabric and paper.

Soon after that incident, it became a trend to use the printmaking process to make copies of the artist’s paintings and drawings. These copies were charming and affordable compared to original artwork.

Printmaking is a simple process.

A printmaker is someone who draws or embosses a picture onto a matrix. Stone, Metal plate, Wooden block). The image is then coated using fresh ink. Finally, it’s transferred to another medium (e.g. To create a stunning final product, you can press it with a roller or hand.

You can thus create multiple copies of a single matrix.

Types of Printmaking

There are four main types of printmaking. Each one has its own characteristics and techniques.

Intaglio Printmaking

Intaglio artwork consists of etchings and engravings. It’s made by using a sharp V-shaped tool to cut into a smooth metal surface. There are many techniques used to create the final print. These include Etching, Engraving and Drypoint.

Relief Printmaking​​​​

It’s also known as Block printing.

This process requires a raised outside. It could be a block made of wood, metal, or plastic. You can spread the ink onto the desired surface with a roller until the ink becomes sticky. Use a new roller to carefully press the pattern onto the surface/paper.


Lithography is the art of putting words into words. process of printing art From a flat metal plate or stone.  It needs two things for it to work: Grease, and water.

The artist first applies ink and water on a grease-treated image that’s on the flat metal plate. The ink is absorbed by the greasy areas, but not by the moisture. The inked plate can then be directly printed on the desired surface.

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Serigraphy (Screen Printing

Serigraphy or Screen printing It is used in commercial industries to decorate T shirts. posters.

It’s a process of pressing ink through a stencil and create a particular design on the desired material. The most common printing surfaces in this category are paper and fabric.

18 Printmaking tools

Tools For Etching (Intaglio Printmaking)

1. Etching Needles

An etching tip is a sharp tool that can be used to engrave the drawing’s exterior. It has a handle for easy handling while working.

Handles are typically made of plastic or wood. The tips are made of steel/metal. You can also purchase a drypoint needle with diamond-tip for delicate patterns.

Use: It’s the most common tool used for drypoint techniques. The point of the needle can be used to create delicate patterns on metal surfaces.

2. Scraper

A scraper, a handy tool, comes with two sharp knives on each of its sides. The blades are usually made from 50% tungsten and 50% of carbon materials.

Use: Made a mistake?

It will be removed by a scraper. Any unintentional marks left on the plate can be removed by a scraper. After the plate is removed, oil must be applied to the image and burned away.

3. Mezzotint Rocker

It almost looks like a chisel!

In the following example, a mezzotint rocker can be used drypoint technique. It’s a metal tool that has tiny little teeth on its front portion.

Use: Mezzotint can be used to create a rich, black texture on the surface. To create this pattern, you need to hold the tool at a specific angle and rock it forward and backward carefully.

4. Burnisher

A burnisher is an essential tool in an artist’s toolbox!

It’s a piece of rod-shaped equipment, which is made of steel. There are many options available. Some prefer wooden handles, while others prefer metal ones. As an added bonus, some burnishers come with a needle/scraper.

Use: It is almost like a scraper. A burnisher is a tool that helps to remove unwanted lines from your artwork. It can also adjust the tone and eliminate errors from your work.

5. Roulette Wheels

It’s a cylindrical-shaped toothed tool that has a wheel on its head.

You will see small dots on the wheel’s surface. There are three types of dots: coarse, medium, or fine.

Use: You can create amazing shades and tones on your surface using the roulette wheel. The wheels move in a back and forth motion to create a satin finish on your printing plate.

6. Engraving Burin

An engraving burin has a metal shaft that’s slightly bent. The point, which is either a lozenge or diamond-shaped, looks a little scary but can be very useful when it comes time to work. A wooden handle is found at the end to allow you to comfortably hold the tool.

Use: It does exactly what it says, it engraves. It cuts into the surface and creates an indented line on the plate.

Block Printmaking Supplies

7. Block​

The first thing you will need for Blockprintmaking is some “Blocks”. It can be made from wood, rubber, or even linoleum. Here you can get details about block printing supplies.

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Use: The block can be used as a flat surface on which to do all your carving. We recommend wood and lino for creating bold images. Acrylic sheets and metal are best reserved for finer images.

8. Brayer

Brayer is a hand held rubber roller. You will usually find two types of brayers: hard rubber brayer or soft rubber brayer.

Use: It’s used to apply ink on the surface of the block. It is faster than other tools and helps you apply the paint evenly.

9. Etching Press

Two metal rollers are used in an etching press to transfer the image from the matrix onto a piece of paper.

They come in different sizes and can also be adjusted to suit the blocks’ widths.

Use: It allows you to transfer your image onto the desired surface. This machine is usually used for pressing images onto surfaces. used for creating larger images.

10. Baren

It’s a hand-held device that’s shaped like a round pad. It provides a flat surface that distributes the pressure that’s given on top of it evenly.

Use: It lifts/presses ink from metal/wooden blocks. Rub baren on a piece of paper to force the ink to print on the desired surface.

11. Woodcutting tools

Woodcutting tools are essential for bending wooden blocks. You will need a variety of tools, including U-gouges and V-gouges as well as flat chisels and flat chisels.

Use: Woodcutting equipment can be used to create fine details on the blocks. These tools are made mostly of high-carbon steel or metal and add sharpness to your project. You can also take a look at our other tools resource. More projects

Lithography tools

12. Pencil And Lithographic Crayons

There are many sizes and shapes of lithographic crayons. The crayons are made up of wax, stearic acid, wax resin, soap, soot, and other components. The hardness of the crayon can vary depending on how many components are used.

Use: Pencils and lithographic crayons can be used. drawing images on Lithography stones. They are perfect for drawing fine details on the surface and can even be re-sharpened before each use.

13. Abrasive

Abrasive materials are substances that are hard and are used in lithography art. These materials include Carborundum-grit and Sandabrasive.

Use: Abrasives are used to remove the previous image that’s been printed on the surface. If you grind a lithostone with a coarser grit, the dark parts of the image will turn a little lighter. You can then wash the stone and remove the lighter portion.

14. Roller

There are many types and styles of rollers available that are used in lithography. You can make the rollers from a variety of components such as Nylon flock, Nitril-Rubber PVC, and Cotton flock. Each roller has different characteristics.

Use: Rollers are used to transfer ink onto the surface. You need to choose the right roller for the job depending on the surface’s characteristics.

For instance, a smooth roller can transfer delicate ink quite easily. For transfer of non-drying roll up ink, heavier rollers are better.

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Screen Printing Supplies

15. Screen Frame

A screen frame is basically an overlapping piece of netting over a frame. This netting could be made from different materials like polyester, synthetic polymer or wood, as well as aluminum. Here is the complete list that you need to start a printing business.

Use: A screen frame is used to transfer ink onto a flat surface. The mesh’s hole is used to create a detailed pattern for a particular design.

16. Emulsion and Fillers

Two essential components of screen printing are emulsions and fillers. An emulsion is a thick liquid that’s sensitive to UV (Ultra-Violet ray) light. And screen filler is a fluid that’s used to block out all the spaces that you don’t want to print upon.

Use: The UV-light cures the emulsion layer. On The emulsion forms a negative stencil on top of the artwork that allows ink to be printed onto the desired surface.

Screen filler is typically sprayed on the desired area. Once the fluid has dried, you can pour cold water on the screen to make your surface ready for printing.

17. Squeegee

A squeegee can be described as a thin, flexible plastic or rubber blade with a wooden/metal hand. These squeegees come in different sizes.

Use: It’s used to force ink through the screen. Screen printing is incomplete without the use of squeegees. They flood the screen with ink. transfer images to the desired surface/garment. There are usually two types of squeegees: Aluminum and Wooden.

18. Spatula

It’s also known as an ink knife/pallet knife. A spatula is similar to a regular knife. The only difference is that the spatula has a flat rather than a sharp head. It’s usually reinforced with a solid wooden/plastic handle to hold it comfortably.

Use: A spatula can be used to quickly distribute ink across the surface. The spatula’s smooth edge makes it easy to scrape up ink.

Final Words

When you first heard the word “Printmaking”, did you think of books, newspapers and paper media?

I bet you did!

As you can see the world of a printer is very different. It’s full of blocks, arts, ink and most importantly, creativity!

Did the list of printmaking equipment in our article inspire you to try it out?

Give it a shot!

We would love to see new rising talent in this industry!

Keep being blessed and continue to try new things to make your day a more fulfilling adventure.

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