Artists have a surprising new use for pasta makers

Crank handle pasta makers have found a whole new lease of life thanks to imaginative artists. Instead of using them to make delicious dishes, creatives have discovered that pasta makers are prefect miniature printing presses.

We stumbled across the technique after artist Leslie Watts Tweeted about her first attempt of using a pasta maker to create a drypoint field mouse. On her blog Watts explains how the drypoint process works.

"Instead of working on a traditional metal etching plate, I've scratched a piece of plastic with the tip of a scalpel to create the image," she reveals. "When intaglio ink is spread onto the plate and rubbed away with a piece of tissue paper, the scratches retain the ink."

Leslie's drypoint field mouse in all its glory

Leslie's drypoint field mouse in all its glory

Drypoint is an intaglio technique, a printmaking technique where an image is produced by etching into a printing plate, traditionally made of copper. When ink is applied and then wiped off the plate, some ink remains caught in the incisions, creating the image when pressed firmly onto paper.

Watts turned to her pasta maker because she didn't have a proper printing press of her own. "I've used a pasta maker to roll a damp piece of Stonehenge printmaking paper against the plastic," she adds. "The rollers provide enough pressure to transfer the inked image onto the paper."

Sadly she didn't film the process, but a quick search of YouTube revealed that plenty of other artists have turned to pasta makers to help them print pictures. They're even nice enough to explain the process. So if you're bored of just cooking with your pasta maker, check out the videos below to see how you can use it as a printing press.

It seems to be the week of weird printing techniques, with Tech Insider posting a popular video of a handheld printer this week as well.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.