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Introduction to Letterpress Printing

Lesson 5 of 10

Think Ink

Cheryl Itamura

Introduction to Letterpress Printing

Cheryl Itamura

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Lesson Info

5. Think Ink

Lesson Info

Think Ink

There are a lot of different types of ink that are used for letter press printing right here is a selection of rubber based inks. But there are also inks made out of soy oil, even squid ink that could be used for printing one way to use the inks or to just use them straight out of the can. But straight out, they can always doesn't give you the color that you might be looking for. So ah, mixing station Such a This is helpful so that you Kenbrell and and mix the inks to match whatever colors that you want. Um, what I've done here is for the prints that were just about to do We're using color straight out of the can have got a little bit of process blue, Pantone, red and black thes air. The colors that we're going to use when we go to the press is there's a couple different options. I could Inc up the press or we can use the Breyer is to go ahead and print directly, um, off of inking the type using the Brera so we'll do a combination of both on one of the press is I'm just going to ink it...

up using straight black ink and on the other one will actually take the two different colors and apply the ink separately so we can have one print that has two colors. Um, that's basically the essence of the inking station. But one thing to keep in mind, you might be wondering, Well, when do I use revering? What's the difference between soy and oil? And a lot of it has to do with what surface that you're printing on. I'm not going to get into a lot of detail here, but if you're going to be printing on glossy paper or Matt paper or plastic surface or things of that nature, the type of ink that you're using could affect how your print comes out in the end. So for today we're going to use rubber based ink on cotton paper, and that should do just fine.

Class Description

The letterpress style of printing dates back to the 15th century and is experiencing a resurgence in popularity today. The stunning tactile and visual imprint of letterpress is used for business cards, invitations, poster prints, and more. In Introduction to Letterpress Printing, you’ll learn all about the machines and methods behind this celebrated practice.

The San Francisco Center for the Book (SFBC) is a non-profit outpost dedicated to preserving and teaching all aspects of book making. In this class, SFBC instructor Cheryl Itamura will walk you through the letterpress process and introduce you to the equipment used to create the most popular printed looks.

You’ll learn about:

  • Printing with the Vandercook Cylinder (Proof) Press
  • Setting wood type, lockup, inking, and printing with a proof press
  • Printing with the Tabletop Platen Jobbing (Clamshell) Press
  • Working with metal type, lockup, ink
  • Printing with the clamshell press

Cheryl will talk about gaining access to printing studios in your own community and offer tips on building your own collection of equipment and how to use and maintain it.

Letterpress printing produces timeless, artisan paper products. Learn how you can take full advantage of the creative possibilities of this historic form of printing from Cheryl Itamura in Introduction to Letterpress Printing.


Erica Engdahl

This is a super inspiring course that really made me want to try letterpress printing! Itamura is a great instructor who speaks clearly and shows and explains every piece of equipment and that's really good if you, like me, don't know very much about letterpress printing before hitting play on this course. Well worth the money!

Henry Aquino

Great Intro class, a little pricey for how short it was, but still worth it. I don't see anywhere to download the resource list mentioned in the movie "A World of Resources".

Chris Guppy

It's a great intro, but like Henry, I don't see the resource list for download that she mentions.