Dear Solarplate Artists:

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I write this important announcement.

As the original pioneer of polymer printmaking back in 1970-71, I discovered sunlight and water could do just about everything I mastered with lithographic stones, copper plates, wood, and serigraphy. Solarplates do not use acids, hazardous materials, and chemicals the other printmaking methods required.

I coined the name “Solarplate” as an environmentally friendly term and easier to understand than the word “photopolymer.” We marketed the plates and co-authored the book, Printmaking in the Sun with Australian artist and scientist Pauline Muir — the process revolutionized printmaking history.

Different polymer plates were tested with varying degrees of success and failure, and copycats, seeing the success of the idea, its performance, and its potential, also marketed the product.

As you may know, the gold colored plates are no longer being manufactured. Now, the new/old opportunity is being resurged with the “original” Toray plates. They are the same Solarplates on which I developed the process and which are being relaunched.

For the experienced printmakers, it is simply a return to your old notes and renewing the old learning curve and noting that:

1. The Solarplates are no longer gold color but green.

2. Timing is significantly longer (approximately 1.5- 2 minutes), thus reducing the need for crucial timing and allowing a greater sensitivity range.

3. The surface is slightly softer, which may produce a plate tone. If undesired, this tone may be eliminated with longer exposures and, after several impressions, with a less pigmented ink.

4. The green finish is less sensitive to scratches than the gold surface and withstands more vigorous washing and wiping.

5. The plates, especially when being washed, have a distinct odor, which has been deemed not to be dangerous. I strongly recommend, as always, good ventilation and protection.

6. Pricing will hopefully remain similar.

7. We provide the best service with personal help and troubleshooting, workshops, lectures, internships, residencies, and demonstrations. Discovered, developed by a printmaker for printmakers.

8. The plastic cover sheet is more discernible, being a frosted mylar. It may also be used for art.

9. The surface is also compatible with a wider range of films, especially the high quality Pictorico.

10. Most room light does not affect exposure, allowing more indoor work time for creating directly on the plate.

11. “A PRINTMAKING DEMO” with Dan Welden soon to be released on You Tube!



At present we have an introductory sale of 18X24 inch plates available for $90 each plus shipping, which may be cut to your specifications. For convenience and less waste, specific sizes have been selected for you and are being offered as packs. The custom cut prices are available under “Shop” –> “Shop Solarplates.”  Due to the required ‘trim cut,’ sizes are slightly smaller than the listed dimensions and are named “(Almost).”

We are currently in the processes of upgrading our cutting procedures and acquiring factory-cut smaller sizes, which will be available in several months.


When I finish printing whatever number of impressions I decide upon, I generally do not save my plate, since I move forward and rarely return to the same art. However, if one wishes to save and store the plates, try and wash out immediately upon completing your printing. Oil based inks are generally removed with a solvent (odorless paint thinner, mineral spirits, Gamsol) in a well ventilated area wearing gloves….however, Dawn dish detergent and water with your Solarplate brush will remove ink, (both oil and water based) but will take a little longer with the oil inks.

Blot dry and post expose again. Let it sit in the sun (10 minutes or longer).

Store with baby oil, mineral oil, vaseline or any petroleum product, wrap in plastic and store flat.


My absolute favorite drawing surface on the planet is the Bavarian Limestone, used for Lithography. Second to that is my own adaption of the grained surface of the stone and imitating it on glass. With that in mind, it’s actually much simpler to prepare a ‘grained’ surface with the same figure 8 motion and two pieces of glass. The ingredients couldn’t be simpler with 220 carborundum grit and a nice balance of water, two surfaces can be created at the same time. It’s common to use a smaller piece of glass on top to grain the larger on the bottom, however, sometimes when preparing two similar sizes, I reverse the top and bottom. A new piece of glass usually takes 3 cycles to do the whole thing, concentrating on the four corners.

CAUTION! Glass can be dangerous, especially when it has sharp corners or slips away from you and breaks. All safety precautions should be taken with eye protection and proper attire, including non slip gloves.

Hampton Editions, Ltd. sells glass graining kits that include a larger and smaller glass, carborundum and a non-slip cushion. It’s something you can easily purchase at a glass shop, however, make certain that the edges are seamed (not sharp). I love the sense of drawing on the surface with a Stabilo 8046 pencil. After drawing and exposure to the Solarplate, you can give it a quick graining (about 2 minutes) and everything disappears ready to air dry and do another drawing!

Sincerely and Happy Printmaking,

Dan Welden

Please browse through our store and shop with confidence for available materials and accessories. You may create an account or shop as a guest. Either way, your shopping cart will be active until you leave the store.


We accept International Orders on our website

Special Offer

Brushes on Sale! Only $4 each when buying four or more  See “Shop Accessories” -> “Brushes” for ordering.


An educational advertisement (with a tad of humor) by Dan Welden

I use the Solarplate Brushes because they are the most efficient way of inking non traditional surfaces. Since printmaking can consist of a wide variety of materials, techniques, and textures, printmakers are unique inventors and discoverers that adapt the best ways to be creative and productive. Unlike ordinary and standard inking techniques of carding, daubing, and rolling a plate, the right brush has the ability to penetrate more efficiently in certain surfaces. The brush is not meant to replace tradition; it can enhance and broaden the experience. Using the brush rather than a card can allow you to scratch your nose while inking.

WARNING: if you decide to use the Solarplate brush for exfoliating your skin, make sure there is no residual ink on it.

Asian inking techniques traditionally use soft brushes with pigment and water-based paste formulations for incredible effects on the ‘high’ uppermost portions of a wood block. I have adapted this technique and reversed it for western methods so as to ink both the ‘deep’ portions of the printing surface as well as higher levels by using a stiffer bristle brush. More practical than a shoe brush and similar to a body brush, the Solarplate brush fits comfortably in the hand, forcing the pigments into recessed areas more easily than any other method. I also find that the brush is more environmentally friendly since it uses less ink, better coverage and the ability to achieve subtle tones. There are many times that I choose to use the brush in such a manner as to eliminate the use of tarlatan completely.

Ergonomically speaking the brush takes less of a toll on my fingers, hands and wrist and allows me the capability of inking simultaneously with two brushes and both hands, on larger plates. Although the primary purpose of the brush was intended for developing plates and later cleaning the ink from them, it has become a multi-purpose tool that includes the use of mark making for monoprinting and painting. Since they are quite inexpensive, I use numerous ones with a swatch of each identifying color on the back.

WARNING: if you decide to use the Solarplate brush for exfoliating your skin, make sure there is no residual ink on it.

All inks can be modified to work, even if the ink has the viscosity of shoe polish. Ink can be altered with oil to become pliable enough to apply a circular application motion quite easily. I generally don’t clean the ink from the brush since it is used frequently. However if stored, it would be best to find a plastic lid container or a large empty sardine can with a some oil in the bottom to keep the bristles pliable and soft. When using the ‘oiled’ brush, simply stroke it on newspaper to remove excess oil. I also use an ink brush to wash out or clean plates with Dawn dish detergent which simultaneously cleans the brush. Inking plates, wood, linoleum, or synthetics has become more of a pleasure than a chore enabling the artist to obtain unique effects, especially with a la poupeé.

Authors serious note: The terms ‘high and deep’ stemming from the German hochdruck and tiefdruck were used by Albrecht Dürer. Somehow they have evolved into the confusing terms of ‘relief and intaglio’ and during my 60 plus years of making and teaching printmaking, I have witnessed abounding confusion.

But wait, there’s more: all brushes come with a lifetime guarantee to make masterpieces in the right hands!


The owner of this brush…………………your name……… an artist in her/his own right and has lifetime permission to use the Solarplate Brush in any safe manner deeming it creative, innovative and feasible, whereas that right shall extend to the entire life of its bristles and become employed by as many fingers that fit the printmakers glove. Furthermore and heretofore, the brush may have its own beneficiaries and heirs to live on in perpetuity in the creative world or suffer the penalties of becoming adapted for dish washing or toilet cleaning. The brush may not be used in any form of weaponry, or preparation for edible or human consumption, however its use may be expanded for animal or plant massage, engine and hydraulic maintenance or reselling on Craigslist.

Printmaking with SOLARPLATE is a simple approach and safer alternative to traditional etching and relief printing. SOLARPLATE is a prepared, light-sensitive polymer surface on a steel backing for artists to produce fine prints. Since Dan Welden’s development of the process in the 1970s, printmakers, painters, photographers, and art teachers interested in multiple impressions have found printmaking with SOLARPLATE an exciting adventure. All one needs is inspiration, a graphic image created on a transparent film (acetate or glass), sun or UV light, and ordinary tap water, and the process is ready to begin. Both positives and negatives can be utilized; intaglio and relief printing techniques can be applied.

Universities and art schools all over the world are using SOLARPLATE as part of their curriculum. The simple, spontaneous approach also makes it faster and more economical for use in professional printmaking workshops and collaborations with artists. Educators are replacing traditional acid techniques with SOLARPLATE due to safety regulations. Being photographic in nature, SOLARPLATE incorporates a broader range of techniques than any other printing medium.

Hampton Editions, Ltd. is the official distributor of SOLARPLATE.

Hampton Editions, Ltd. began as a subsidiary of Welden Graphics, established by Dan Welden in 1971. Collaborative publishing ventures included artists such as Robert Dash, Syd Solomon, Esteban Vicente, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, Roy Nicholson, Kiki Smith, Jimmy Ernst, Dan Flavin, Bill King, and Jane Freilicher. The evolution from a studio specializing in Stone Lithography publishing and printing into a workshop dealing with more diverse offerings took place during the 80s and 90s with the SOLARPLATE process gaining more momentum. Since the SOLARPLATE process was Dan Welden‘s own, he pioneered and promoted health and safety in printmaking since the beginning and is an example of a ‘more healthy, old time master printmaker’. Through the 90s and into the 2000s Hampton Editions, Ltd. has printed for artists including Eric Fischl, David Salle, and Lynda Benglis, among others.