Tuesday 20 October 2009

How To Tuesday, How To Make A Gocco Print

Hi I'm Bridget from Bridbird and BridgetFarmerPrints I've just moved back to Northern Ireland after four years in Australia. It's great to find such an etsy community here in ireland and I'm so glad to be part of it! This is a 'how to' blog I posted on my blog about a year ago, I hope you find it interesting!

First of all, what is a gocco print?

A Gocco print is a screenprinted image created using the Japanese Print Gocco kit (also called Riso). Here are some examples of Gocco prints below.

(Left to Right, AnnaRubyKing "Nesting Material", Junecraft "Retro Cooking", PrettyLittleThieves "Can We Be Friends on Page 11")

and here is the Print Gocco itself.

First of all you need to expose the screen, to do this you need to make a master image. The master image can either be drawn using a carbon pen, or use a photocopy of a drawing or photograph.

You then need to slip a new screen (these can be bought in packs of 5) into the Print Gocco. Place the master image on the print bed and close the lid to make sure it fits in the screen space.

You then need to get the light box and put in the lamps. It takes two flash lamps and they can only be used once. I have read that these bulbs are toxic, so make sure you wash your hands after handling them. Be sure that the bulbs are screwed in fully, a loose bulb can cause the screen not to fully expose. Also make sure your batteries are not depleting, this has also been a reason for my screens not to expose properly.

When everything is in place fix the light box on top and push down. DON'T look at the flash! It's very very bright. I almost blinded myself when I first exposed a screen! Your drawing will stick to the screen, peel it off slowly.

Your image should now be exposed onto the screen. Take off the light box.

Now you have to ink up the screen. Slip the screen from the gocco lid and peel back the clear film.

Inking up uses a lot of ink, but you have to put enough on to make it go through the screen. I've also found that when you are mixing colours make sure you mix more than you think you need because if you have to stop and mix more paint while in the middle of printing the screen might dry up and it gets frustrating.

So, decide what colour/s you want to use, you can mix colours if you want, (I wanted a light orangey tan for my print so I mixed brown, yellow, white and red).

Then apply the inks to the screen. If you want to use different colours in the same screen you can, but if you don't want them to spread into each other you should use the gocco ink blocking sheet. This is a strip of foam with adhesive on one side, you can cut it into thin strips and stick it to the screen to make sure each colour stays where it is supposed to.

The inked up screen

Now fold down the clear film (it'll want to do this naturally) and slip the screen back into the gocco. Make a test print by putting a scrap piece of paper on the print bed and pushing the lid down (in the same way as you did to expose the screen), you may need to do this a few times to make sure all the ink is getting pushed through properly.

It's a good idea to have all your paper ready to hand and your print racks all set up so you can just print print print!

If you decide you've done enough of the colour you are using and want to try a different one simply pull out the screen, peel back the film and scrape the excess ink off with a piece of card, do this on the screen and on the film. Then print a few with no ink, just to clear the screen.

Then just spread on your new colour, the old colour will stain the screen and maybe come through a few of your first prints in the new colour, but soon it'll be fine.

When you are finished printing scrape the ink off in the same way as previously described and again print a few with no ink. Then squeeze some gocco screen cleaner on the screen and rub it in with a rag or paper towel until the screen is clean. You should be able to store your clean screens and use them again later. I do find they deteriorate slightly with use, so it's a good idea to keep your master images just in case.

I used to buy all my materials from an Australian based company called nehoc, but you can look on the internet for uk and irish suppliers, i've found this one, but they mainly sell through ebay. I bought my starter kit from a seller on eBay and there are sellers on etsy too. Do shop around for your starter kit as prices do vary.

I left my gocco kit in Australia with a friend of mine so I don't make gocco prints anymore. Luggage allowance annoyance! But I'm still a fan, I love looking on etsy at all the different types of gocco prints. Here's a link to all the goccos!


  1. Thanks Bridget! I've been dying to get into Gocco for ages now, but never seem to get around to getting all the kit etc. I'm a big fan of screenprinting as a medium so would be sorely tempted to get Gocco-ing. Love your owl print too.

  2. Aah love it! its like magic and I love that owl! ooh I want a gocco now...

    thanx for the great how to Bridget! Tx :)*

    P.S Got a cool tutorial you'd like to share with etsy Ireland? Send a convo to Sarah (redpossum.etsy.com)for more info! cheers ♥

  3. oh i want a go too!!! do you think you can print on fabric with that? great article, thanks for that!

  4. excellent tutorial, you make it look so easy!