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Ink Modifiers Reference Guide

Daniel Smith Magnesium Carbonate. A light, fluffy powder that adds body to lithographic and etching inks. Many lithographers add a heaping tablespoon to their dampening water to help their plate or stone run more cleanly. Use a dust mask.

Daniel Smith Whiting. Our grade of whiting is extremely fine and bright white. It works well for stiffening etching inks. Mix a small amount until the desired body is achieved. Also works as an excellent degreaser for your hands when wiping plates. To degrease a zinc or copper plate prior to applying hard grounds, mix a paste-like mixture of whiting and a dilute solution of acetic acid (10:1 water to acid) and gently apply to the plate in a swirling motion with a ball of cotton. Use a dust mask.

Daniel Smith Miracle Gel Reducer. This is a powerful modifier for reducing the body and tack of oil-based printing inks. Add 5% - 10% by volume for most applications. Miracle Gel Reducer makes hard-to-wipe etching inks easier to wipe. In litho inks, it decreases tack without increasing greasiness. (This is helpful when printing large flats that tend to show roller marks.) When added to relief inks, it reduces the tendency of soft papers (like traditional Japanese) to stick to the wood or linoleum. Made from clear mineral oil, it will not change an ink's color.

Daniel Smith Burnt Plate Oils. The most common modifier for etching inks, Burnt Plate Oils are made by slowly heating pure linseed oil for varying periods of time, depending on the desired body. (The longer it's heated, the more the oil thickens.) The Light Oil 00 is useful for reducing the tack of inks; it is quite thin in body. The Mid Oil 3 is a medium-bodied oil and has greater adhesion than the 00. It can be added to inks to increase adhesion, particularly when broken traces are experienced in printing.

Daniel Smith Flash Oil 470°. Flash Oil is used to reduce the tack in etching inks. It is clear and non-yellowing. Because it is high in wetting strength, only a few drops are required to reduce most inks. Intaglio artists who do viscosity printing often choose Flash Oil 470° over raw or light-bodied linseed oils to decrease tack. Unlike most modifiers, this oil dries by evaporation, thus reducing the danger of contaminating the paper. Ink modified with Flash Oil 470° slowly returns to its original state as the oil evaporates during usage.

Daniel Smith Cobalt Drier.This viscous, purple liquid speeds up ink drying by attracting oxygen more quickly to the ink. Add no more than 5% by volume.

Daniel Smith Converting Medium. Our Converting Medium allows etchers to use litho ink for intaglio printing by making it less tacky and easy to wipe. Add 1 part litho ink to 1 or 2 parts Daniel Smith Converting Medium (more can be used for transparent colors) and the litho ink will print very much like an intaglio ink.

Daniel Smith Lump Rosin. Filtered to remove impurities, our lump rosin reaches a consistent melting point. Use in an aquatint box or pulverize it for dispersal through a silk or cotton bag.

Daniel Smith Anti Skin Spray Pump, 16oz. Our anti-Skin Spray is a mixture of soybean oil and odorless mineral spirits in a pump can. Spray a small amount on the surface of the ink you've removed from a can to prevent an ink skin from forming. A thin layer sprayed in your ink cans prolongs freshness in storage. You can also spray some on charged ink rollers and slabs if a delay in cleaning is anticipated.

Easy Wipe Compound. Made from various greases, Easy Wipe is an inexpensive ink modifier that allows for greater control of the distribution and wiping of etching inks. No more than 15% by volume should be added to your ink.