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Paper Comparison and List of Materials

I've experimented a lot with papers and materials lately and wrote down a compact list of things I use on a regular basis. I made this list for my own overview but figured it could be interesting to others as well. I order from companies in Germany, let me know if you want specific links.


Especially when it comes to paper in etching, there's been one specific problem that apparently many other etchers share: Not being able to print aquatint etchings on commonly available etching paper. With line-etchings there's no such issue. The paper that's usually used for etching is of high quality, 100% cotton, sized internally.

However, across the board of at least 10 different ones I've tested on 3 different presses over the last years, none of the 'good' higher priced etching papers could handle subtle aquatints. The tonal gradients of the prints would turn out flakey and weak, unlike the lines which printed fine. The exact reason for this is still unknown to me, it could be the cotton percentage and its longer fibres compared to the shorter fibre length of the cellulose which is used instead of cotton. The paper I now use for aquatint etchings has a cotton percentage of 25% and is sized inside and out: Fabriano "Watercolour". What's most surprising about this is probably the fact that it is, compared to the fancier etching papers, a cheaper student grade paper. It is age resistent and buffered still and fulfills the standards for ISO 9706. The only disadvantage I found in it is that it's quite hard to tear by hand.

Materials list

These are things that need to get restocked every once in a while. For a complete list of stuff you need for etching, check out this post explaining everything.


For aquatints:

Fabriano "Watercolour"

300 g/sm, cold-pressed, 75 cm x 105 cm, fine. No watermark.

For line-etching:

Arches BFK Rives

300 g/sm, deckled edge, 100% cotton, BFK Rives watermark in one corner (not annoying)


Etching grounds

Copper and zinc plates


Tissue paper for drying and packaging

Newsprint paper for protection while printing

Acid baths/tanks

Spraypaint for aquatints


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