Copper Plate Etching, Twinkle, twinkle Little Bat!

by Angela

I have wanted to do a bat image for some time now.  I have always loved bats and finally got round to joining the Bat Conservation Trust in 2014.  I did in an evening class in Cardiff Print Workshop in September 2015 so decided to make a copper plate etching of a bat. I wanted to use some text to go with it and for a while could not think of anything. Then I remembered one of my favourite bits from Alice In Wonderland when the Mad Hatter sings “Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! I didn’t have the confidence to draw directly on to the plate so put the image on tracing paper and then transferred to the plate by going over the lines with pencil – similar to the process I use with rubber stamps.

As with the rubber stamps I typed the text on a typewriter and then scanned it and enlarged it. It was easier than I thought to draw it/scratch out the stop-out on the plate.The plate is then etched with ferric chloride and you can see the result below.


Once the line drawing was etched I pulled the first print.

The final print (below) is not as I imagined and unfortunately the text was lost in the process. I messed up the plate a bit but, it wasn’t a total loss, thanks to the guidance of Bill Chambers the tutor who helped me ‘rescue’ it 🙂 I still like it though, the bat coming out of the darkness. After completing the image I wanted to try it on a rubber stamp to see the results – and I did. I will post pictures and the process soon 🙂 Also if you want to try your hand at printing either as a total beginner or you want to try a new process like I did there are several courses at Cardiff Print Workshop I thoroughly enjoyed mine 🙂

You may also like


Elephant's Child 8th February 2016 - 9:02 am

DEFINITELY not a total loss. I love the bat coming out of the darkness, and any day where we learn is a good one.

Angela 8th February 2016 - 12:43 pm

Thank you Elephant's Child – agreed any day we learn is a good one 🙂

Paper Chipmunk (aka Ellen) 21st February 2016 - 10:09 am

It's wonderful, Angela! Perhaps it's not what you originally intended, but I also love the effect of the bat shining in the dark.

Angela 21st February 2016 - 2:13 pm

Thanks Ellen. A lot of this affect was achieved by the inking of the plate – thanks to the helpful tutor Bill Chambers.


Leave a Reply to Elephant's Child Cancel Reply