The proper ‘lye’ chemical arrived in the post. The soda I had tried to use before was a carbonate – I guess less aggressive for the home situation. So once again I got outside with safety goggles, thick protective gloves, a facemask and an apron that covered my working clothes.  Honestly? I’d suggest adding wrist-sleeve protectors as the mixture dribbled up my arm. No problem, I washed it immediately.

I spent a relaxed morning preparing the lino – sanding the surface, wiping it with methylated spirits to completely remove the sanding dust, then putting a design onto the lino with things that would block the action of the soda mixture. I used masking tape, and beeswax. I intend to experiment with other blocking agents in the future.

The mixture I used was 2 teaspoons soda, 200 ml water, 2 teaspoons of wallpaper paste. In a glass jar I carefully added the water to the soda then the paste.  It heated up quite quickly and then I spread it over the lino and left it for several hours.

I scraped the remains of the soda mix off the lino then scrubbed it in a bucket of water.  The image was just visible.

The resulting print of a microscopic seedpod is clear and I am now experimenting with a range of colours. I will be looking through the microscope for more inspiration too! What fun!

Print of seedpod