L Letterpress Printing Results

A while back, we reviewed the L Letterpress and provided some printing tricks and tips for achieving good quality prints with the L Letterpress and our KF152 photopolymer plates. Amy Graham recently put our tips to the test, ordered a set of plates and with a little and trial and error, printed her own letterpress wedding invitations. They look great! Amy shares, “The results are impressive, using your suggestions.  I achieved the best results using minimal ink and cleaning the plates, roller and inking block about every six prints.”

And check out her invitations –
Great work, Amy, and thanks for sharing! You can check out Amy’s design work at avail & company.

18 thoughts on “L Letterpress Printing Results

  1. I’m doing some printing with the L as well. I use a 6″ speedball brayer and a 14×14″ piece of glass as my inking block. Once I get sufficient ink on the block I only add ~1/8 tsp every 25 prints.

    The speedball brayer is definitely the weak link in the chain. I’ve had two rollers, each of which has had a flat spot somewhere on it that doesn’t take up as much ink.

    I’ve found that using double sided tape to keep some pieces of lettra in place for registration (as gauge pins) doesn’t work very well either. The cotton paper doesn’t seem to like the double sided tape. Instead I put a piece of gaffers tape over a piece of the stock and use that as a very wide gauge pin to register my prints. The gaffers tape doesn’t allow the paper to move anywhere.

    I use a very light amount of ink and roll the brayer in the same direction over the plate 3 or 4 times (because of the flat spot on the speedball brayer) before running it through the press. Just rolling back then forth would leave a uninked spot on the plate from said flat spot.

    I don’t have a local source for california wash but Goo Gone works wonders. Hasn’t seemed to affect the speedball brayer yet either.

  2. Thanks for sharing all of these great tips about the L press. Was wondering if Boxcar or Amy could comment on using multiple inks on the L press. Does this require multiple runs or does it require hand painting the ink on the plate?

    Thank you!

  3. Wow, gorgeous and in two colors, I am incredibly impressed! I did my invites with a cuttlebug and boxcar press plates, but I didn’t dare do two colors!

  4. Wow! I cant believe those results were with the L Letterpress! What paper is it, Lettra? How long did it take you to print your entire suite? Did you use the L Letterpress inks, or regular letterpress ink

  5. great work Amy! did you happen to record your process on a blog or website? if so, i’d definitely be interested in viewing it!

  6. I just completed my wedding invitations on the L press as well. I also had a crappy flat spotted 6″ Speedball brayer.(grrrrr!) I ended up getting a 4″ because that was all I could find, but it worked. I did 207 invites total and the L press is definitely showing wear and tear. The handle now likes to pop off and is very squeaky, the registration grid on the base is peeling off onto the top roller and my hands. The rollers started popping as well. It can never match the quality of a ‘real’ machine, but it was the best I could afford for now and I’m glad I went for it. It was the lesser of the compromised choices I had for invitations for sure. I used Gamblin relief inks and Naptha as my solvent. Not sure which was causing the problem, but I had a hard time getting good solid coverage. I’ll post a link to the photos once I get some up. I’ve been hunched over the press for 2 days, and now I’m going to BED!

  7. Carrie, your invitations are amazing!!! I cannot believe that something that seems so accessible (thanks to the L press and Harold’s detailed instructions) can produce results like that! I am considering going this route too after researching the cost of letterpress (although all I need is blind debossing). Can you – or Harold – tell me about the length of the L press base? The paper I have to use is 4″ wide by 17″ long and the bit to be letterpressed is 4×4 on one end of this sheet… So I imagine some of my paper would hang off the base – would this create any problems? Any info would be very helpful! Thanks in Advance!

  8. Carrie, those invites look so professional! the print doesn’t look spotty at all. How did you fix it? Where did you buy the ink? was it expensive?

  9. All of these invitations look great! Is there any way to find out which type of ink and which colors were used for the purple and orange in Amy’s invites? I am looking to order ink off of this website, but I’m not sure whether I should stick with the colors provided or go with a custom color. Thanks!

  10. Hello. Your instructions are brilliant, but I have a reall problem. I need to buy minks and soft paper somewhere in the UK. Can anyone help. If you can please email me. I shall be very grateful. Thank you john.

  11. So I saw all these posts and it seemed so easy, but I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I bought a soft rubber brayer, but for some reason every time I use it the ink just goes crazy. Within seconds of placing the brayer on the plate, the ink begins to clump at the sides on the plate, and then it starts to stick really thickly in the middle of the brayer. I finally tried the hard rubber brayer, and the ink rolls out just fine, but then the prints come out all smudged. Is this normal, is the ink supposed to start caking onto the brayer? It makes it almost impossible to roll the ink out thinly. I’m using the lifestyle ink but I don’t think that’s the problem, since it seemed to roll out fine with the hard brayer.

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