Non toxic Printmaking- Cleaning up oil based inks with vegetable oil.

I have for a while now been trying to do most of my cleaning of oil based inks with vegetable oil. The interest in safe wash inks, so called eco friendly and non toxic, is because they are easier to clean up . You can just use soap and water even though they are oil based. Great! But this special ability, being water soluble means it reduces its range of uses as a printmaking ink in my opinion. I have bought a few tubes myself , and have used them for monoprinting, or Kitchen Litho, forgetting about the water soluble nature, and then stuff starts bleeding and not working … and THEN I remember about the safe wash inks, Doh!

Looking into non toxic ways of printmaking , I came across the technique of using veg oil to clean up. Gave it a try and have been using it ever since.

Here is my video on Youtube where I give a really quick demo of this. ( really quick as my camera battery was about to die!)

By removing white spirit from cleaning up oil based inks, you remove the biggest reason that it is deemed toxic for the printmaker. And arguably the thing that would make it the most un-environmentally friendly. The traditional oil based inks I use, the base is linseed oil, a plant based oil , so less fossil fuel usage.

Safe wash my not be all its cracked up to be is all I’m saying. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Non toxic Printmaking- Cleaning up oil based inks with vegetable oil.

  1. I usually clean the glass at the table and the linocuts’ matrixes with sunflower oil when I can and they stay fine 🙂 I do it since a few years now and so did my students at the linocut course at Plama Cultural Association where I teached and everything was fine with the matrixes and tables, and we didn’t have to breathe the dissolvents, just as you say 🙂 vegetable oil does a good job in here I think 🙂 regards

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