Samples 1 – Tapes

by maggie

Now I’m in the second term of printing at Morley College I’m trying to home in what kind of work I want to produce. As well as printing proofs I’ve also been printing samples of various types of materials that I hope to combine in to a proper print later.

I’ve started to systematically document the various tapes I’ve either used in an image or plan to maybe use in the future. It gives me an opportunity to see what is suitable both for  the printing process and for creating the appropriate image.

Here are 32 samples to begin with on a polycarbonate plate. Some samples have been stuck with double sided (DS) tape marked*. They have all been inked with intaglio studio black and wiped with scrim and newsprint.


  1. PTFE tape* – used by plumbers to seal joints. this tape goes weird when inked. here it lifted and DS stuck to paper, subsequent impressions printed black.
  2. TESSA book binding tape – bright red with fine texture.
  3. generic Masking Tape – produces various dark grey shades, easy to cut, tear and pleat
  4. glass fibre woven tape for joining plaster board – this small area disintegrated after two impression due to wiping. survives much better in larger areas and if varnished
  5. non specific Duct Tape – with fine textile texture
  6. sticky backed aluminium tape – makes good creases and has little base tone
  7. Micropore – (for humans) like masking tape but flimsier
  8. Zinc oxide Tape – (also for humans) beware of glue escaping through textile surface
  9. Flexible Painters Masking Tape – this tape is very stretchy and can be formed into circles minimum diameter 10cm. the surface is very textured, but with smoothen when stretched
  10. masking tape – 6mm wide purchased from London Graphics Centre (LGC)
  11. STUCK Precision masking tape – not folds in tapes produce variation in tone (LGC)
  12. PRO-GAFF – an obviously woven tape also available in 20mm (LGC)
  13. mt ‘wabi’ tape 6mm – ink residue between tapes as important as ink on tapes
  14. mt ‘wabi’ tape 3mm
  15. FLN3 – very smooth and shiny (LGC)
  16. gift tape – shiny synthetic ribbon for making pretty gift wrap


  1. NITTO artist tape – minimal texture
  2. Electrical Insulating tape, Earth – the stripe seems to occur because of the way the green/yellow stripe is printed on, other insulating tapes are monochrome
  3. MAGIC Tape – tears in interesting ways
  4. DYMO tape – with embossed symbols
  5. torn paper – from folded sheets of heavy weight paper – handling improved if varnished
  6. Packing tape – can be pleated to trap ink or build depth
  7. Duct Tape #2 – with looser weave
  8. Corrugated card – from a Costa toasted sandwich sleeve
  9. Corrugated card – from Pret coffee sleeve
  10. Duct Tape #3
  11. Shiny stickers from a Moleskin diary
  12. Ryan’s assorted stickers – will print white if varnished
  13. Guttering Repair Tapes – heavier gauge aluminium, but similar to #6 on previous plate (may have picked up impression from blanket on subsequent impressions)
  14. Metallic self adhesive stars
  15. Sticky back Vinyl – can be cut to any shape. Has a tendency to trap air between it and plate which leaves pale marks
  16. Elasticated Strapping – (for Humans) Minimal inking leaves evidence of internal structure. Glue has tendency to escape like zinc oxide tape. With care.

It’s obvious that some of these tapes are more suitable for collagraphs than others, but it was fun to experiment with them all.

If I manage to find another 16 different types of tape I will add another annotate print here.