Tetrapak – Environmental Menace or Printmaker’s Friend?


I think the answer is ‘yes’ to the questions I pose above. Moving from dairy to plant based milks in our family has filled me with deep disquiet at the sudden increase of Tetrapak cartons needing disposal. I have been chucking them in our recycling for the past couple of years even though I know the Council don’t recycle them from the kerbside due to their material complexity. Apparently this form of ‘activism’ is known in the jargon as “Wishcycling” and is well known. The Council fish them out and incinerate them – so another solution was required. (For Cardiff locals who don’t make prints, Bessemer Road takes them…)

I have been experimenting with repurposing the Tetrapaks as base material for printmaking. The example above is for a French Exchange project we have been involved in at the Cardiff Print Workshop on the subject of ‘Inside Outside’. Florence (my exchange partner) and I have become quite into ‘eyes’ looking through some kind of portal. Possibly a dark subject, I’m not sure, but definitely a fab opportunity to have some fun creating an abstract ‘outer’ space.

The black of the face is created by cutting out the silver layer and using the absorbent cardboard below. The dark grey (mid tone if you like) is masking tape. The square of tape is sellotape, and the circle is created by using card on top of the Tetrapak to create a kind of blind embossing effect.

But the undoubted star of the show is the Tetrapak itself, with all its folds and creases creating this gorgeous texture which I just love! To be honest, I find intaglio processes a bit tedious and time consuming for my tastes, but sometimes the results are worth it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s