Trash Print Making: Coffee Bags

My next experiment with printing with trash utilizes coffee bags. If you haven’t guessed from my art depicting coffee, I drink a lot of it. So I always have a variety of empty bags around the house.

I had the vague idea of gluing coffee bags to a backing then printing for a few days, but someone pointed me to this hand printed video and blog post. Which uses melted crisp (chips here in the US) bags, and suggested doing the same with coffee bags. Instead of melting them I wanted to stick them to a backing for added stability and then print them.

I started out by slicing and cleaning a bunch of bags, I then cleared off labels and glue, since everything will print. Then I used spray adhesive and stuck them, shiny side up to a piece of soda can carton. This worked really well, except when I slathered on too heavy a coating, the edges stuck but oddly the middle didn’t. This was remedied by using a light even coating.

After that I trimmed them to square and scratched into the soft plastic surface with a sharp needle, etching tools, exactos, sand, and sandpaper. It all worked really well. Every mark prints- from scuffs on the bag to the creases from the folds to the delicate lines I etches with the super fine sharp tapestry needle.Coffee bag print and plate

Because I have a wide variety of coffee bags I tested several different styles of bags- all plastic, plastic backed with paper fibers, and the standard layered plastic and metallic bags in shiny and matte. They each scored and scraped really well. Like many of the recycled plastic plates I’ve tried, a lot of etching in one area throws up a heavy burr that traps too much ink and the detail of the cross hatching is lost. With this the bur can be burnished back a bit to bring back the detail. The images below are of my test plates showing all 4 types of coffee bag.

My next experiment is to add in carborundum and sand through acrylic mediums and glue.

This post is made possible through the generous support of my Ko-fi supporters. If you like what you see, head on over to Ko-fi and buy  me a coffee, with it I can make more art and post more experimental trash printmaking. Thank you!