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Etching Blankets
Felt Etching Blankets

How to Arrange Printmaking Blankets on the Etching Press

Printing intaglio on an etching press requires a set of blankets. Etching felts are used in sets of three on the etching press, and provide the cushion that creates embossment by pressing the paper into the recesses of the plate. Each blanket serves a different purpose and is therefore a different thickness, and is either woven felt or pressed felt.

Blanket Order

From the press bed to the upper drum etching blankets should be layered in the following order.

  1. sizing catcher
  2. cushion
  3. pusher

Sizing Catcher


Felt Detail Catcher Pressed.062" thick

The sizing catcher (sometimes called a Swan Skin or Fronting Balnket) is placed closest to the work on the press bed. This blanket may be cleaned if it becomes soiled with ink. It is the least expensive blanket of the set to replace if it becomes overly soiled or damaged. The sizing catcher is 100% wool felt and .062" thick.


Felt Detail Catcher Woven.062" thick

Woven felt is more durable than the presses felt, is available upon request. Some printmakers prefer pressed felts claiming finer print details are possible. Contact us to substitute a woven sizing catcher in place of the pressed sizing catcher.


Felt Detail Cushion.25" thick

Also known as a forming blanket, the cushion blanket helps to transfer printing pressure form the press to the paper-to-plate contact area. The cushion allow the paper to contact the uneven surfaces of the plate. This contact allows ink to transfer from plate to paper. The cushion blanket is 100% wool felt and is a full .25" thick. It is placed over the sizing catcher.


Felt Detail Pusher Woven.125" thick

The pusher blanket is placed over the cushion blanket aiding in cushioning. It is made of a highly durable woven felt. Being woven the pusher is resists wear due to abrasion from the upper drum of the etching press. The pusher blanket is .125" thick, and is made of 100% finely woven wool felt .

Blanket Sets

Etching Blanket SetPrintmaking blankets are used in sets. The typical set consists of a sizing catcher, a pusher, and a cushion. However, it is advisable to have an extra sizing catcher since this blanket does become soiled and must be occasionally washed in Woolite® detergent.

3 Blanket Set

4 Blanket Set


Shop online for felts etching blankets at shop.takachpress.com

18" x 36"

24" x 36"

25" x 48"

30" x 48"

30" x 60"

33" x 60"

39" x 72"

43" x 84"

47" x 96"

Custom Etching Blankets

As a complimentary service, Takach press will cut to size custom blankets to fit your press bed. If you need a size not listed above, pick a size larger than you need and we will cut it down to your specifications. Custom sized blankets will be made of the same 100% wool felt materials as our standard size blankets.

Washing Felt Etching Blankets

It is necessary to wash sizing catchers regurarly to maintain their soft supple nature. When printing with dampened paper the the glue that holds paper together called sizing is absorbed by the sizing catcher. As the sizing hardens into the sizing catcher the ability to obtain a perfect impression is diminished. Washing etching felts removes sizing form the sizing catchers, pusher and cushion blankets may need to be washed from time to time when dirty, stiff or ink stained.

Washing Procedure

It is advised to wash felt etching blankets by hand with Woolite® Detergent. To dry the blankets run them through the printing press to expel the majority of the water. Do not wring the felts as the are less durable when wet and may become damaged. Lay the felts on a flat surface between layers of blotter paper to finish drying. When drying felt etching blankets do not hang the felts on a clothes line or over an edge as this may damage the felts.
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