First you polish your metal, then use a special substance (can’t remember the name!?) to remove the polish, whilst keeping the shine. Then you heat it up on a hotplate, and apply wax. This can be hard or soft wax, but for this I used hard. You need to roll the wax onto the plate to leave a flat coating. You then heat it under a flame to ‘cook’ the wax, leaving a layer of soot on the plate. After it has cooled down, you scratch on your design with a sharp point. You then apply varnish to the edges of the plate to stop the edges eroding. You then drop it in a diluted acid, and leave (time depends on how deep you want the erosion). You can then clean the plate and start printing! This is simple, you roll your ink onto the plate, wipe the ink into the grooves, and away from the flat surfaces – then run it through a press to leave the print on the paper (the paper needs to have been soaked in water for about 20 minutes!). It takes the best part of a week to dry completely.
Sorry that was so long, but now you’ve learnt something! My next workshop is letterpress, and will be next week on Friday 4th.