Saturday, October 22, 2011

My attempt at Kitchen Lithography

There's a new printmaking video that's been going around that's gotten all sorts of printmakers excited. In this video French artist Emilion shows how he's been able to create traditional lithographs with items found around the house.  Calling it "Kitchen Lithography" Emilion uses aluminum foil, vegetable oil, castile soap, and coke to create an impressive edition. The whole process is based on chemistry. I've done something similar using xerox photocopies called paper lithography  but I had to give this a try.

The materials

I copied a couple of images in my sketch book. The one on the left was drawn with a litho crayon and I tried the soap on the right.

Next I poured on the cola. The acid in the coke reacts with the soap and litho crayon and etches the foil.

After wiping off the cola, oil is buffed down onto the plate.

Here are my plates rolled up three times with etching ink. I wiped the plates with a clean wet rag between each roll. You can see than I almost completely lost the other mushroom I did with the soap. Finger prints will easily etch too.

The printed result. I put the plate through my press but the video shows that it is possible to print solely by rubbing with the back of a spoon.

Close-up. You can see the wrinkles of the aluminum foil and I couldn't seem to "clean" my white spaces fully.

I hope you enjoyed this photo essay of this process and if you give it a try yourself, I would love to see your results. As for me, I think this technique has great potential if I'm willing to work out the kinks. Maybe a heavier foil would print cleaner? 

I do love the fact that it's another printmaking process that I can do at home for very little money. I had to laugh when a viewer commented that they were feeling ill to have spent twenty-thousand on their art tuition. Me too.  It's all  been in our cupboards! 


  1. This is ace, Lori! I must have a go at this myself. I have a litho crayon, some foil and a handy local shop that sells cola!! I even have some printing inks...
    I wonder if the foils they sell in the art shop would give a better result; it's a lot thicker - designed for various metal crafts etc. Not as cheap as the kitchen version, but may produce better results - assuming the cola etching process works on this stuff.
    Thanks for sharing this. It was interesting to see your results - do post any more that you do - I'd love to see if you manage to improve by practice!

  2. Thanks for sharing Lori

    I plan to give it a try sometime soon - this is encouraging.

  3. Thanks for giving it a read. I discovered a huge thread on Inkteraction about the process and it has some tips on it. Worth the read.

  4. Hello Lory,
    YES ! Good Kitchen lithography !

    I'm proud that every one try my invention. Thanks for sharing with your friends.


  5. What color did you use for printing?