Daniel Smith Etching Felts
The Blanket Trio
When printing etchings, three felts are generally used. Closest to the paper, a thin, absorbent felt called the Sizing Catcher (95% wool, 5% polyester) absorbs much of the water and sizing removed from the paper during the printing process. Under frequent use, it must be washed quite often to avoid becoming too stiff from the absorbed sizing.
Next, the Forming Blanket, the thickest of the felts, acts as a cushion to cast the paper over the etching plate. It tends to be soft and resilient and is normally a blended felt (50% wool, 50% polyester)
On the top, next to the roller, is the Pusher Blanket (75% wool, 25% nylon). This felt takes the abuse of the roller and is usually midway in thickness between the other two. To endure the stress, a woven felt is used for this purpose, rather than a pressed felt like the other two. If you were to print with only two felts, the Sizing Catcher and the Forming Blanket would be the ones to choose.
The sequence of blankets is as follows: Sizing Catcher, 12-gauge clear vinyl (available at fabric stores as plastic tablecloth material), the Forming Blanket and the Pusher Blanket.