Letterpress Printing #1 – The Bottle Jack Press way

By June 10, 2013 No Comments

So we’ve always been interested in tactile printing methods, specifically letterpress, and even used it for our own business cards. Wanting to understand the process better, and with one half of the Catchatiger team being a handy-genius, we decided to try and build our a home made letterpress press.

With the help of google we managed to find directions for this home made bottle jack press. Looks like pretty complicated stuff, right? It is! But with a couple pieces of shutterply wood, some heavy duty bungy cords, and of course, a 6 ton bottle press, we managed to create this (not so) little contraption.The Catchatiger Bottle Jack Press

Our first press!
Our first Letterpress

After pressing everything we could find lying around ( keychains, metal bits, lazer cut outs ), we finally decided on having some non-traditional blocks made. These magnesium blocks give a great impression. We spent quite some time on creating this custom font for our card range, and it was so worthwhile to see how crisply the vectors printed!Magnesium Letterpress Plate

The most exciting thing about this ink is turning the open jar upside down and watching the rubber based ink stay in place! Letterpress Rubber based Inks

The setting up and alignment of the paper is probably the most tedious of the whole letterpress process. The paper and block need to match up perfectly. Aligning the Letterpress plate and paper

Inking the block with a hand roller. The trick is to spread a small amount of ink on a flat surface like a sheet of glass before applying to the block. This ensures even application. Apply ink evenly to the plate

This is the flip-case we made to assist with handling and positioning. This flip-case assists with handling and positioning

With a huff and a puff 6 tons of pressure is applied! Applying pressure to create the impression

A perfect impression! A perfect letterpress impression

We experimented with a range of different paper stocks, but finally decided on using only the best. 330gsm Cotton or recycled paper give the cards a lovely soft texture.

Experimenting with different types of stock

Final product A perfect Letterpress Card

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