Getting Started with Letterpress Printing | Hope Johnson | Skillshare

Getting Started with Letterpress Printing

Hope Johnson, illustrator + printmaker + redhead

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13 Lessons (2h 20m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Course Project

    • 3. History Lesson

    • 4. Different Press Types

    • 5. Outfitting Your Studio

    • 6. Designing + Prepping Artwork

    • 7. Demo: Part I

    • 8. Sequence 8 setting up your press and plates 2

    • 9. Sequence 9 inking and plate setting 1

    • 10. Demo: Part IV

    • 11. Demo: Part V

    • 12. Print Comparison

    • 13. Final Thoughts


About This Class

HEY. HI. HELLOOOOO! I am super excited to finally get this class into the world ...because in about 2 hours, it explains so many things that it took me about 6+ years to learn.






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ARE WE INSTA BUDDIES YET? ...because I want to be here to encourage you and answer any questions you may have along the way in your letterpress printing journey!



1. Welcome!: Welcome to the class all about getting started with letterpress printing. My name is Hope and I'm an illustrator and letterpress printer and mix of creative spirits. I'm so glad you're here because that just means you're a little bit excited about letterpress printing, which gets me really excited. I've been working on this class for a really long time, sort of rewinding six or seven years ago, trying to remember all the things that I didn't know. Letterpress printing is an old art but it's also a steep learning curve. There are just are 1,000 different ways you can do with 1,000 different things. I'm here to teach you what I've learned over the last six or seven years. In this class we are going to talk about the different press types. If you're looking for a press, you can start to think about how you would want to outfit your shop. We're also going to go through the process of more and modern-day printing techniques with the use a plate making and how to prep your artwork for plate making and for letterpress printing today. We're going to go through all the demos. I'm going to teach you on my press the one right behind me, how to mix your ink sets your plates, go through scenarios that you may have to go through on the fly, and just all the fun stuff that we love about letterpress printing. Hope in the the course. I'm excited to see you there and we'll talk more about the course project on the next lesson. 2. Course Project: I want to talk about the course project. I'm so excited you're here. Letterpress printing really is just an art in itself. No two pieces are printed alike, each piece is hand fed into the press. Your ink is mixed one color at a time. But I just want to make a special note that I'm going to give you a lot of information and it's a lot to take in, but I don't want any of it to intimidate you, or I don't want you to get overwhelmed, because there's really no way to teach experience, and a lot about letterpress printing just takes experience. So if you've never printed before, then maybe just go through the course, go through the course project, and create your artwork, and you can always outsource that. I'm going to give you some of my outsource vendors that you can send your work to if you want to see it come to life, or if you have a press and you're somewhat familiar with the process then fantastic. This course project can be your first prints, your first project for your press. So either way, I encourage you to follow along, I encourage you to post questions in the group, or DM me on Instagram, or email me. I want to help you bring this studio of yours to life this way. We're going to talk about outfitting your shop, we're going to talk about the different prints types, how to prep your files and finding and restoring your press, and I'm going to give you all kind of downloads and resources. But for the course project, think of something that is going on in your life right now. There's always a need for personal stationary, but maybe you have a birthday party coming up, or if it's around the holidays that you're watching this course, maybe you can create your holiday cards. I'm going to create a couple of art prints, an arsenal love or a gift I can always have to give to friends for their birthday, or teacher gifts for my little ones teachers, and things like that. So whatever is going on in your life or if you just have a really good idea for a prints, try to think of that idea for your course project. Again, I encourage you whether you plan on printing this project with your own press or outsourcing it, I still encourage you to go through the course project, at least the design side, so you can get a feel for the different ways you would want to design for letterpress printing versus digital printing. For the course, you will need the basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator. Most of letterpress printing and the prepping for letterpress printing is done vector based by vector-based artwork, so Illustrator is great for that. Whatever it is you choose for your course project, just to make sure you need more than one. Letterpress printing is a lot of setup which you will learn or maybe you already know. It's often more setup than it is actually printing. So whatever your project is, just make sure, if you plan on bringing it to life, make sure you need a lot of them. Before we dive too deep into the course, I want to talk a little bit about the history of letterpress printing. Many people know they love that impression that it leaves into the paper, but they don't really understand the process and why it is one of the more costly ways to print. So knowing the history and how similar it is even to older forms, even with new technology like plate-making, it's still a ton of setup and a ton of hands on labor. So educating you will help you educate potential clients that may not understand the full process, and you and them both can learn together and appreciate that art. 3. History Lesson: Before we dive into all the nitty-gritty and the demos and the plate prepping and artwork and all that. I want to give you a brief history of where letterpress printing got started. Who is Johannes Gutenberg is the only question on Jeopardy I have ever gotten right, there is only time I've ever watched that episode, but I was really excited because I got the question right. Johannes Gutenberg invented the letterpress and before the letterpress was invented, there was no real way to mass-produce artwork and type and documents and things like that. The letterpress really was a big shift in the manufacturing process. In a world where printing and penmanship and things like that were really important. Before more modern versions of letterpress printing, you would set your type. Your type were sorted in drawers, set up similar to how a keyboard is set up. Imagine this giant dorm with a bunch of little slots to hold these tiny metal letters. If you've ever been to an antique or a thrift store, you've probably seen these doors hanging on the wall is used as sort of a little trinkets shelf. These are type drawers and were originally doors of type cabinet. You'd often find a whole cabinet of type that may be the same font, but each drawer was a different font size. The letters were organized in these stores based on the ones you'd commonly use together like a keyboard. You'd have your gage, which is just this little tool you'd use to keep your word or sentence or whatever you're trying to spell, keep it from falling over. You would set your type on this gauge from left to right. But the letters had to be set upside down so they'd reflect the correct way onto the paper just like a rubber stamp would be. Can you imagine the time and patience it would take to first set the type, get it into the frame that you would place this type into your letterpress without messing anything up, setting all of that up, and then God forbid, there's a mistake. It was an intense process to set anything much less something really large like a document or a poster or newspaper or anything like that and by the way, uppercase as in the capital letters, came from the fact that capital letters were located under the tab cases of your letter press stores. Also mind your P's and Q's is another letterpress expression because as you were setting that type upside down so it ranges correctly on your paper. Lowercase p's and q's often got mixed up, which is technically true for lowercase p's and b's. But I don't know, that expression never stuck, but let's talk past just fonts and typefaces. If you've ever seen an old sort of broadside poster or letterpress printer work back in the day. You'd find that it's pretty text-heavy, for images or graphics you may find within your type drawer maybe a scroll or a little graphic or accent mark. But you'd otherwise have to hand carve these wooden or rubber blocks to basically create your own graphic and it's amazing the detail work you can get from hand carved letterpress blocks or stamps. I mean, there were some amazing artists that could really create some pretty awesome work. But one thing that has not changed over time is that letterpress printing is done one color at a time. It's not common to see a letterpress print with more than three or four colors. As you've learned, the setup is quite intensive, so you'd mix your ink color by hand, which is similar to mixing paint. You would apply it to your press, you would set your artwork up, print that first color. If you had a second color, you would do all of that again, you would mixture ink, your second color ink by hand. You would apply it to your press. After cleaning off the first color, you would set up your second artwork, and then you would print that second color over that first color run. If you have two colors that register closely together, that can get tricky, but it creates a really dynamic and beautiful and result and this is still done this way. But luckily, there's more modern techniques in the way we design. Typesetting is still used by many printmakers that have several draws of type and sometimes it's fun to just go old school and print that way. But the invention of plate making allowed for designers to create their work digitally and have the artwork produced as a stamp, you could say, as opposed to typesetting and hand-carved imagery and this was great because this meant you could vectorize anything you drew. If you are a calligrapher or if you draw illustration work, you can make that part of your artwork part of your plate. Plate making really opened up a whole new world for letterpress printers. On the next couple of lessons, we're going to talk about the different press types and outfitting your shop. But I want to talk quickly here for those that are looking to have an in-house studio rather than outsource your work to another printer, which is absolutely an option. But I just feel like it's important to say my first studio is what is now my daughter's bedroom. I had a tabletop press, it was small enough to fit in a spare bedroom. Now I have the larger press that you see behind me and I'm in a studio that's attached to my garage. There's a press setup for really every studio. For every studio setup, whether you have a spare bedroom or a garage studio or a rented space, a rented studio space in a brick and mortar store and that's really awesome too. The next couple of lessons we'll go through different types of presses that you'll find. If you're looking for a press and different tools and things like that, that you will want to outfit your shop as you build your studio. 4. Different Press Types: In this Chapter, I'm going to talk about the different type of presses you might find in your search to build your studio. Both my presses were found on eBay actually. I bid on them then told my husband, which is a funny story, but I'm going to talk about the tabletop press which is really great for your first time press user. It's small, it's compact. You can fit it into a house, you can fit it in your spare bedroom like I did. I'm going to talk about bigger presses like the one behind me and even some commercial grade presses that you might be interested in. So follow along in this upcoming chapter. First, I want to introduce you to the tabletop press. This is the type of press I started out with and it really educated me on the craft and setup process of printing. Tabletop presses were actually invented for the classroom after the first press was invented. This was an era where printing and penmanship where really appreciated as its own craft and it was taught regularly in the classrooms. My great grandmother used to get on me about the way I held my pen. So this was just a different era where letterpress printing was a job directly out of high schools so it was taught this way. But the great thing about the tabletop letterpress, of course, is its size, it's compact, and it's light enough to fit in a small space. My tabletop presses, is a couple 100 pounds, I think, and it's fairly easy to cut around. I do some workshops with it. So yeah, it's easy to move where my lager press is a couple 1000 pounds and it's definitely not going anywhere. My first studio is what is now my daughter's bedroom, and that's where my tabletop press lived. These presses are fairly affordable, although some of them actually do get up there. There's a high demand for them because they're so easy and compact, I guess. So that may be a con as well that some of them do get expensive and they're hard to find. My tabletop press actually cost more than my large press, which is just an interesting little note. The print areas on these presses aren't super-large and the impression that we all love about letterpress isn't as deep compared to your larger presses. But they are great presses to start out with if you've never printed or you want to start there, or just have a smaller setup. Some well known presses you may find in the world are your Kelsey presses, your Chandler and price Pilot, and this is the one that I have, your Golding Pearl, and your Craftsman presses. These are all fantastic startup presses. They are on the hobby side of printing as far as quality and then oppression and all of that, but if you're completely new to this world, starting here would be a great place to start. Larger Platen presses are great press options for leveling up your game, and these presses provide a larger print area, and some of them are even driven by a motor, so your hands are free to place and pull paper. This again will make sense when I do a demo, but some Platen presses have automatic paper feeders. The cons though are that some of these more complex Platen presses require a good bit of experience. These presses are large and take up a bit better space. The Chandler & Price press here on the left is actually what I have. That's actually a picture of my press. It's driven by a motor, and so I place the paper in and pull prints out in this melody type motion. But some presses have a foot pedal instead of a motor. If you've ever seen an old sewing machine where you would drive the foot pedal to drive the machine, it's like that. So I've heard many printers say that printing day and is also leg workout day. So yeah, it definitely take some muscle. The windmill you see here is a commercial grade automatic paper fed press. These are amazing to see in action, but I don't recommend this press unless you have a high producing facility or business and would be producing a lot of work and you have a good bit of experience. Though Golding and Gordon Presses are both alternative presses to the popular Chandler and Price. But I don't know much about the quality of the printing output. I've heard sort of mixed reviews, but I've always worked with Chandler and Price Presses and I've loved the output and the quality of both my tabletop and my floor press. Just because it's worth noting, there are also Flatbed Presses, the vendor cook is your most popular one out there, and these presses were made for proofing presses, and it's ideal for large prints, but they're very large presses, and they're very expensive, and they're very hard to find. In college I graduated in printmaking, and we had a vendor cook in college and it was just a beauty to work on. I may as well note too, there are many commercial grade presses out there. I've never been a high producing commercial printer such as magazines or newspapers, but if you ever worked in this field you know how intense these commercial grade presses are out there. Yeah, there's some pretty amazing machines out there. On the next chapter I'm going to talk about outfitting your shop. Let's say you have your press and you're ready to print, or you're ready to restore it, I'm going to give you some go-to tools you want to have in your shop as you start to fill your studio space and some things you want to have on hand. 5. Outfitting Your Studio: A good studio is filled with all the things you need before you need it. So I'm going to go through some of the go-to tools that I always have in my shop. You'd be surprised how many of these tools are somewhat mix shift and a lot about the letter press printing process is mix shifts, so don't get too intimidated. These are just some basic inexpensive tools. A good apron, letter press ink was definitely not made by Crayola and it definitely stains. So when you print don't wear your fancy clothes. I've learned that the hard way. Ink, of course how else would you get your color? Your press will take ink and your ink is mixed by hand, just like you'd mix paint. It's always best to maybe start with some basic colors are calming colors you may use. But Boxcar Press is where I get my ink and they have sort of a starter kit. Because you can mix your ink by hand, you can get sort of your primary colors and make a ton of colors from those. Also, you can get rubber-based ink or oil-based ink. I used rubber-based ink because it tends to keep its tacked on the press a little longer than oil-based ink does. I just prefer it over oil and I feel like it's easier to clean up, which I'll touch on as well. Anyway, so a good palette knife is needed as well, and it's not doodled here, but some sort of mixing surface. I use disposable artist palette sheets from my local craft store. But I also use, I got my husband to get me this big piece of acrylic, this big piece of acrylic glass. It's tempered glass be sure to do that. Just in case it ever gets dropped, that would be a mess. But glass is really great for when you're mixing a lot of ink, its a smoother surface. So a sheet of acrylic or tempered glass is always great to have, but there's nothing wrong with just using the disposable, sort of artist palette sheets. Assuming you won't be going old school and typesetting, you'll need a base for your press. The base is just what your artwork will sit on. My base, like I said, is from Boxcar Press and that's also where I get my plates from. I told them the type of work I'd primarily be doing and they helps me figure out that the best plate type and the base for that plate, they are fantastic. A ruler and a pantone swatch book. Since ink is mixed by hand, you may find yourself trying to match a certain swatch based on your design. Your pantone formula book will give you that exact match. There's even a scale you can get to measure how many parts of each color is needed. So you can get that exact match. Although I generally eyeball measure and match the swatch on the fly. Of course, after the job is done, you'll need to clean your press. I use odorless mineral spirits, but I'm going to include on the download all the different things you'll need to clean your press in the most environmentally friendly way. I hope this is all making a little bit of sense to you. I know it's hard if you've never printed before and never seen the process, it may seem like this is putting the cart before the horse. But I promise it'll all wrap up and make total sense when we go through the prepping your artwork file, prepping your artwork Chapter, and of course the demo, so hang tight. 6. Designing + Prepping Artwork: We're finally going to talk about prepping your artwork and this has been probably the most asked question when I started talking about putting this course together and many people just reach out to me all the time. This will be a big chapter and it is a little bit technical. Feel free to even if you don't have your press setup to follow along because you can always outsource your artwork too or outsource the job to another printer which I'm going to give you a list of my outsourced resources because I do that. I outsource my work all the time when I'm just too busy to take on as many jobs as I'd like to take on. There's nothing wrong with that. Feel free to go through this chapter, follow along and still do the course project. I'd love to see your artwork and if nothing else fails, you can always digitally print the piece because I'm sure it'll be lovely. Follow along this chapter to learn sort of the rules, and the standards, and minimum requirements for all things plate making. I'm going to pop over here and just sort of type out some rules to keep in mind as you design. First, vector artwork is best. It's not the only way there are ways to get half tones and things like that but I use vector work primarily. Once your artwork is finalized, you'll want to outline any text or any fonts that you use but be sure to make an illustrator copy so you can go back and edit. All final work must be in a 100 percent CMYK black and no transparencies either. Next, you'll want to make sure that your line thickness meets the plate making requirement which is a 0.35 size in thickness. For your actual lines, if you were just drawing a stroke or a line, you'll want that to be one point in thickness or in your stroke. I save all my artwork as PDFs. I use Boxcar Press, that's what they recommend and so that's what I do. There you have it. Those are your rules to sort of go by and I'll show you how I sort of check my work along the way before I finalize a PDF file to send to my plate makers. I'm popping back over here. Again, this is just to finalize artwork that I did sort of in the colors that I wanted to have it printed it in and I'll be mixing these inks to match those colors. As you probably know, you have Hex codes for color when you're working in CMYK but you can match Pantone swatches to any Hex code. If you Google Hex code to Pantone swatch formula, calculator or something like that, I do it all the time, I'll try to find that link and put it in the notes or in the download. But you can translate that to a Pantone color. That way, whatever you're showcasing along your computer for yourself or for a client, you can translate into a Pantone swatch. When you go to mix your ink, you can sort of have that guide as a handy match to mix and match your ink to. There are a ton of tutorials on Skillshare about vectorizing your artwork. I'm going go through a quick one here. I may even make a little mini class on it if it's requested enough. But I'm going to go through a quick run through of how I've vectorized my artwork. I do a lot of video illustrations for wedding stationary and florals for just fun stuff. Anyway, so this floral was one I illustrated in Procreate actually. I exported it as a PNG and just air dropped it to myself and I popped it in Illustrator. When you click on a PNG file or an image file, you'll get this little dialogue box I guess at the top come up and you'll see the image Trace option. This little dialog box will pop up. Just you could press "Do not show again" or just press "Okay" and I just clicked the default setting, the preset which gives you not too much of a result. But if you toggle the dialogue box where you can sort of alter the threshold, and the path, and corners and all of that, you can really start to see your artwork come back to life. If you just adjust these, play with them a little bit, get them where your artwork looks like you want it to. I'm going to mess with this a little bit more. Ignore white. Maybe pump that down a little bit. Okay. I like that and then I'm going to expand it which still creates a border box around it. I'll just double-click that until that's all I've got. Delete that and then I like to go in and even though you ignored the white, they're still transparent fill in some places. What I did there was double-click it, went up to the select all fill in stroke, which will select everything that is the same fill and stroke of what you currently have selected and then just press "Delete" on that. Make it a little bit larger, trying to sort of mimic the artwork that I had already created. Okay, so I'm going to pop back into this file and sort of show you this is what I want it to look like finish. I'm going to create a new layer and show you what this looks like for me from a blank page to what it is now. Create a new layer. I'll just turn that one off. I'm going to pop back over here and just copy and paste my vector. Sort of move and size that to how I like it. All right. I know everyone loves this quote, but I mean you can not. I picked this font, it's called Rare bird. It's by Rare bird foundry and it, wow gosh, is one of my favorites. I've seen it printed digitally,. I've seen it letter press printed, foil printed, and it just prints so nicely. It was made by a calligrapher. She made a font from her writing and it's just lovely. While I'm doing this, a quick note, hairline fonts like this are finicky when it comes to plate making. You want to be careful about that and I'll explain that in a little bit. Put this line. I'm just going to put the author of this quote right here. Okay, so I'm adjusting the kerning a little bit. I always like to pay attention to that especially on bigger blocky texts like this. Even if it looks a little funny on the screen, letterpress printing, it indents into the paper. You want to allow almost some breathing room in between each letter. My rule of thumb is I pretty much give everything a 50 points us in kerning. Not just for aesthetic reasons because I do like a high kerning, a wide kerning. But also you're physically punching in these letters into the paper and the paper has to come up. It has to go somewhere. You don't want your letters to be too crowded. As a rule of thumb, maybe a 25 kerning or even a 50 or for aesthetics you can go however large you want but something to keep in mind. Bump that up a little bit. Okay. I like that and I have everything in black, but feel free to include the colors that you want to include as you design especially if you're showcasing this to a client. I'm going to pop these rules back over here so we can sort of go through these again. Let's talk about this one. This is probably your most important one. To check my line thickness, especially with this smaller hairline fonts that my plate makers love, I just draw a 0.35 size line and I'll usually change the colors so you can easily see it. If I can click it, click and drag over to your areas that might be questionable. You can check. This is cutting it close. Some of those thinner lines look to be about the same sizes as line. But if your fonts or artwork are ever pushing those limits, you can always just add a hairline stroke and of course, you'll want to make sure it's the same color as your artwork when you're presenting it and then when you export, you'll want to make sure that it's all black. Again, drag this around and check your work. Don't forget about commas. Keep in mind, when I do a lot of weddings stationary that includes the wedding website, always check those dots. I can't tell you how many times I've had to reorder plates because the dots were too small. For actual line thickness, you want to make sure those are actually one point. For your text, 0.35. For your actual lines, one point. Sometimes, I go through and check my hand illustrated art work the same way I would check text but I'm not too finicky about it. I feel even if it's below that 0.35, you'll still achieve some sort of artwork. You'll still get some sort of information in your plate. It just start to fade away. But I find it's a little bit forgiving when it comes to hand illustrated works. I think it just makes it look even more hand illustrated. That's that. Here's the finished piece. We also want to go and make sure that all the texts are outlined. You can select the individual texts. You can always just select your whole document to double-check yourself to make sure those outlines are creative. Self deleted that first layer. See everything is black. Those are black. It's black. All 100 percent. Perfect. Will delete these little rules. I'm going to save this just like I would if it were ready to go five by seven plate ready file. Save it as a PDF. I always save a PDF of my outline texts and I keep the illustrator document with my editable text in case I ever need to go back. That one's ready to go. I want to show you what it would be like to print on apparent sheet. A parent sheet is just a piece of paper that you have, maybe it's a certain stock that you use so you know the paper size, but you want to print a 5 by 7. But this paper only comes in 8.5 by 11, or you just choose to make two prints per page. This is how I do it anyway, you take your 5 by 7 art print, I draw a border box around it just for the time being. I know I can fit 2.5 by 7 on 1.85 by 11 sheet of paper. I always check that y-axis to make sure they're perfectly in line, so when I go to cut, I'd just have to cut that one straight line across the top, bottom, left and right. You could highlight it in the corner. It just depends on how your artwork is, on how you want to set it up. But you want to think about the most efficient way to print and the most efficient way to cut down your paper after the fact. I'm just centering it up. I know this is 8.5 by 11, so math wise, I know if I center it up it's just easier to figure out where I need to cut. I'm making crop marks right now. Some of your art work or jobs may lend well to crop marks. I don't use them a lot because I primarily print when I'm pre-cut paper, but you may find that you do need crop marks. So we're just going to create those and place those where we will need to cut and then we could delete those borders. Now to speed this up real quick. I'll go ahead and delete these. This is what my finished plate artwork would look like. These borders, I'm sorry, these crop marks will print, but they're outside of the 5 by 7 those border boxes we had. They'll just give us that guide on where to cut. I'm just going to save this with a different name and we'll just call it this. Two up would be a common term if you had four pieces per parent sheet we'd call b references four up and so on. It doesn't have to be the same artwork as long as it's the same color, you could essentially put whatever you want on one parent sheet and cut it down. This art print is a little bit more complex and again, this is a pattern I created from just my illustration work and I made a repeat pattern of it, vectorized it the same way I showed you, but yeah, there's a ton of great tutorials on patterns in vectorizing your artwork, so we won't get too far into that. This print is a two-color print that you won't be able to piecemeal together and puzzle piece together like we talked about using polymer plates. This is a situation where you'll definitely have two different plates because those colors register so closely together and that border basically or literally touches that pattern. What I do for this is I would make each color its own layer. What I did is I copy and pasted one color and I'm going to paste in place on its own layer just so it goes right back where I intend it go. So each layer is its own color. What I'll do is rename these layers and recolor these layers in a way that a platemaker will understand. Platemakers read CMYK files. I'm just going to make each, let's see I'm pulling it up. We'll do a 100 percent C for this layer and everything else that I want this color. Going to give that a little hairline stroke. A hundred percent C, zero everything else, and that's one point, so we're good and same for that. Everything that I want to be printed in that sort of mustard color, I'm going to make its own layer with its own CMYK color selection. I only have two colors here, so I just picked C and K. But it doesn't matter what color you pick as long as each layer is a different color from the CMYK options. I know that that pattern is already a 100 percent black, so I'm just keeping it that, I just renamed that layer. Saving it the same way I did that original print to size for sharpen. I'll show you too what this would look like two up or an apparent sheets. So two of these prints printed on the same sheet and then we would cut down after. I'm just going to copy and paste it. I'm just going to delete all that. I'm just kind of loosely placing it here and then align it a little after. I'm actually going to delete that and show you another way you can do this. 'Transform', 'move'. I know that it's 5 inches, so I want to move it horizontally, 5 inches the other way and zero vertically and I'm going to press copy instead of 'okay'. This puts it exactly 5 inches the other way. Then I'm going to go and center it up. I know the amount of edging I need to cut off after the fact. I didn't use crop marks here, I suppose I could have. It never hurts. But because the border is so heavy, I know where I'm going to need to cut. Like I said, letter for his printing, it's a lot of make shifts. This is one of those situations where you can set your files up in the way that best works with you. Keep in mind too, I have a paper cutter that you could put like a 6 inch darker paper at least and it cuts through it like butter. I wouldn't print on parent sheets unless you had a good productive, efficient way to cut down after. Otherwise cutting them one by one, that would be a mess. Unless you have a great way to cut, I wouldn't print on parents sheets too much. Just stick to your pre-cut paper. Okay. I'm on Boxcar's website. I know I talked about them a lot, but they're fantastic. They have a ton of resources directly on their site and videos about plate prepping and all of that good stuff. I encourage you to comb through their site. It's where I learned a lot. But when you're ready to order, you can make an account and I would suggest just have it on the phone with them so they can tell you what plates you need. That's what they did for me. I described my work and they told me what plate would be best and it's where I got my base as well. I'm just uploading my files. The plate that you'll want to use is going to already be in the system once you create account. Just go to the files and I'll just select them one by one. You can create one large document and pile all your plates on that one document. Sometimes I do that, sometimes I do it this way. Just depends on how I want to organize my plates. Polymer plates are literally less than a dollar per square inch. I'm actually not sure how much the magnetic metal plates are, but they're pretty inexpensive. A five by seven is probably like $35 just to give you a reference. Your bigger plates that are two colors and printed on parents sheets, there'll be more. But if you get to a certain threshold with them, they do free two-day shipping. You get it like literally two days later, sometimes one day later and they're just really, really great. Once you upload your files, you'll go through and approve them. I actually had a mistake which is a happy little mistake that I'm going to explain to you. If you have any area on your plate that is not a 100 percent black or has a transparency or anything like that. So if you remember on this file, I did not have Magenta, I had black and had a 100 percent C. So magenta, that is showing up because that means somewhere on one of these files, I had a mess up. What I should do is go back and find that mess up. If you click here, it should show you what it is. But obviously it's something so small that it's probably not a big deal. But I'm just going to decline that it's four stance like it's probably a dot somewhere in this flower that didn't get, vectorizes a 100 percent black. I'm just going to decline this. Best practice means you should go back and review your file. But for the sake of this video, I'm going to just decline. What I know is likely minor and approve it to the 100 percent black and a 100 percent C. Files that I know I did and I'm going to go down here and do the same thing for the two up version. When you order a plate, a cup from boxcar anyway, it comes in this flat package. You want to be careful when you open it because I've cut into it this way. Just overly excited and cut right across my plate and had to re-order. Be sure to just be careful when you open it. I'm just going to cut through that top. I know that may seem like an obvious thing but you never know. Who might be overly excited like I was. These scissors are not the best ones to use. They are very old but its getting the job done. It comes in between two pieces, a cardboard like this. With your plate order, you will get a proof on and these are all the plates that are ordered exactly how it is in the file. First I want to show you the five by seven, the first art print we created in Illustrator. This was the one that we size exactly to be five by seven. We designed it to be two colors. Because those two colors aren't really touching that closely, I knew I could save a little bit of cost on the plate cost by just cutting this floral out and aligning it to the paper and printing that run first and then cutting the text out, that dark charcoal black layer, and printing that on a second run. When you have two colors, it's easy to do this when it's something simple like this, that you can cut away and literally piece together like a puzzle when you set up your plate to your paper and I'll show you that in a little bit. The two up version of this, let's look at that. If you were going to print on a parent sheet, I knew that my parents sheet was going to be eight-and-a-half by 11. That's what I said. This document up as. When my plate printed, it's the same process as the one up that print per size version that we did. Even though this has crop marks, I can technically still cut both of these pieces out and print both of these as one color and then cut this section out, including the crop marks and puzzle that together on the paper and I promise that'll make sense in a second. This is a good way to, I guess, save a little plate cost, the plates aren't that expensive, but sometimes just depending on your artwork, you'll want to do it this way and other times you'll have colors that register closely together with the other art parent I'm about to show you that you'll need two different plates for. Let's look at that. Let's first look at, see the, they printed this on its own little thing. This was the parent size. I'm going to grab, here's a random five by seven. This was our five by seven print, and it will print flush with the paper. I wouldn't normally do this this way and I'll show you why when we get to the demo. Something that bleeds directly off the paper can be done, but sometimes it can be tricky when it's something this dense along the edge. Anyway, for the purpose of this, so this is our five by seven exactly two size artworks set at. This was that first layer. If you remember the border of this mustard color aligned exactly on the edge. This is going to be a tricky setup, but it's going to look really great. This would be your first color and this would be your second color. The same goes for your two up version. This would be your first color. You would just cut this out of your whole plate shipment and this would be your first color.. You would set that up on your parents sheets and this one would be your second color. I'm going to cut these out so I can just get organized before I set up the demos. I'll split this. I have four different prints that I'll be printing for you on the demo. I have this version which is the one up and the two colors and this is the two up with the two colors. They register pretty tight together, so they're two separate plates. I'm realizing now this is upside down. I'm sorry. These were your two colors. One up and two up. This is also going to be your to two color. This is your two up and this is your one up. But they are only one plate because we're just going to cut around that. Actually, I'll just show you how I do that, and then we'll go through the demo. You want to be very careful when it gets close to those edges that you don't want to cut off any of that raised polymer. If we had a sheet of paper, we would simply puzzle piece this together this way, because this is a sticky back. This is going to be the demo. That's how you would cut that apart that way and just create your own little puzzle piece. Moving on, it's demo time. 7. Demo: Part I : Before we go forward on the demo, I want to show you around the press. The first thing I do is make sure my press is clean and just everything is ready to go. I get my paper stacked and ready to set my plates. This is where your work surface I guess is, this is your disk that will hold your ink, so you would mix your ink by hand, let me grab. You would have your palette knife with your already mixed ink and with your rollers down, you would put two little strokes of ink. I'll show you that in a second, and you would turn your press on. My press runs off of a motor, so I'm turning it on. Many presses run off of a foot pedal. If you'll need to get your press going to get a solid layer of your ink all even and mixed up on your disk and your rollers. So big, good leg work all day if you have a pedal driven press. All in one motion. This is where your plate would go and this is where your paper would go. With each motion, it's going this way much faster than this. Your rollers are grabbing ink and your plates are being pressed to the paper. The plates are not there right now, but to show you the motion in the process of what happens. Your paper has been pressed and you're rollers are prepped for the next run. I like to set my plates first, so if I have to move the plates I don't already have ink there, I'm not wasting ink, I'm not making messes. I'll show you now how to set your plates and get ready to print. If you remember seeing this little shot from the history lesson when we talked about typesetting. This is the same process that you'll use for your base and polymer plates or whatever plates you use. This is set type and all type no matter the size, or style, or anything like that, even linoleum cut blots and things like that, they're all type high. This is my larger base, for my larger press. What your base will do, this is called a chase that will have a bigger chase that will fit this bigger face. What your base and plates do is basically make your artwork type high, so when you're in your press, your ink and your impression is the right pressure and the right amount of ink to get the effect that you want to get. Now I'm going to show you what this base looks like locked up in my larger chase, so we can set our plates based on the paper we're going to use, ink-up, and get to printing. One more note, so these pieces are called furniture, and this is called a coin, and these two things are locked and unlocked by this key. This chase is basically a frame for all of the things that you put inside of it and get your artwork situated, whether it's type or a base and plates. All of these came with, as accessories to my letter press when I purchased it, but if you find a press and you still need some equipment like these, there are plenty of sources where you can find that. I will give you those as well. Let's get started. We're going to unlock this. Also, this is not the best surface to do this on. Your going to want to lock your chase up on a very flat surface so everything is level and even. I don't have great lighting on the only flat surface in here. For the sake of the video, I'm going to show you here. Keep in mind that when you do set your artwork, you want to do it on a super flat surface, so everything is level. Just going to loosen all those up, and now you can see it's all falling out. I'm making use of some of these for my larger chase, so I'm going to set it aside. This is my set type, which is literally in there. I'm going to carefully remove it and set this aside. I don't want to set anything on my plates that could damage the polymer. As you can see, this is a much larger, I realized from each other. We kind of sideways here. This is a much larger base, which is great because your print area is larger as well. I'm going to, you could measure this out, but I sort of find the pieces that fit here so I can type [inaudible] to use longer pieces on the longer it ends. It's because this is an uneven surface. I think this is all tight enough without even tightening these coins. I'm going to put a little bit more pressure, to keep this base steak. When I lift this up, I don't want any of that to fall off. This is not a lightweight. Now is what we will set our plates and there are a couple of ways to do that. I'm going to show you the way I do it and I do it in my press. This will be in my press and I will set my plates there are and I'll show you that now. 8. Sequence 8 setting up your press and plates 2: So I've got my apron on, there is a baby in this belly. Just FYI, so you might see a little bump. So this is Titan paper, also going to give you this source as well. So this will go in my press, I just put one here, I usually double them up to get a really deep impression, and we'll talk about that when we start test printing. But these are gauge pins. There are plenty of them out there, also on the resource download, but these are called the Henry compression gauge pins. I just prefer them, I find with the work I do, these have worked best. So what I do, and this is what will go in here, and it's what your paper will sit on. So these little pins, you'll align your paper with these pins with each one and I'll show you that in a second. But to set up your gauge pins, I just eyeball about how I know where my basis got to be in relation to this. Now these come with a sticky back, but masking tape will be your friend for many things. I just like to take them down because the worst thing ever would be for one of your gauge pins to fall mid prints, because then you would have to set up everything again, and nobody wants that. So once I set these about where I know, I want them to print, I'll set this in and I just use this little scored lubrica to place in the press. So these are just the little things that hold them into place. Pull it nice and tight, let me move. So now that this is in the press, these little things, oops, I made a mess. They built up, you want to pull it nice and tight, and lock that in. So I've already started my base here, once we set our plates, which I'll show you in just a second, we can get to printing. So with every motion your paper we be placed here and pulled out in this really intense melaty. I will probably need to add more packing, and what I do for that is all you either add more tight mini sheets or just use scrap paper to build up the back, so that impression can be as deep as I want it to be. So now I'm going to show you how to actually set your plate on your paper, so it ends up on your base, where you want it to be. So it can print where you want it to print. So the way I set my plates and like I said, letterpress printing can be very make shift, and this is part of that makeshift process. There are lot of tutorials on boxcar, press in just all over the internet about different ways to search shore plates, but this is how I have found it to make the most sense for me. So masking tape will be your friend, and what I do, it's going to stick that right there for a second. So if you remember, this is our already to size pre-cut 5 by 7 paper that we're going to print for that first art print, there was two colors but one plate. So it's up to you and it's based on the artwork about which plate you want to print first. I like to get the hardest plate printed first. So I know for me that's going to be the test, because I want to make sure that it aligns with the bottom of the paper perfectly. So polymer plates, you would place this way, so when you set it to your base, say this is your base, it's going to print that way. So that'll make sense in a second. So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to set that floral aside. I'm going to take the adhesive back off of this polymer. Now you can reuse this. You just want to be careful that you don't damage the adhesive part when you're just messing and pulling with your plates, especially when you're peeling those corners. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take that tape and I'm just going to stick it on the back. I know that I had this artwork bottom right aligned towards the bottom. For me, I'm literally eyeballing knot, which I will move when it's most likely crooked, although that's pretty close. You can see. So this is where I had it and what will happen is I will print this layer, and before I take this plate off the base, I'll line up this plate like a puzzle piece, and I'll show you that when we get to that later. So I'm going to take this to my press now carefully, not to move the plate, and show you how it gets from this little make shift set up to the base. So now I'm over here on my press and I'm getting ready to set the plate on the press, so I just aligned this, but I'm noticing that I have some overlap, I mean, I know I cut it just randomly and loosely, but just to test before I set things up, I'm going to pretend I'm setting this just as if it were a single plate lined this up. As you can see, you can notice that the top of floral is right at the edge and this side of the floral is pretty close, so I probably had the artwork a little bit more to the right, a little bit more bottom waited to make room for that floral. So what I'm going to do, is just skip this down and just get setup once again over here before I officially set that plate. So now when I move this floral and align it with the way I cut it, to create that puzzle piece like we talked about, it's definitely closer to what my final artwork looks like. This looks pretty straight to me, but we're going to measure this once we set it. I like to set my plates before I ink for the most part, and I'll show you why. Even if you don't have ink on your press, you'll still get that impression into this paper. You can still tell where your artwork is, you can always put ink on there, and then start your plates if you need to see exactly what it looks like, which is good as well, just, I actually do it different every time. So right now I'm going to show you what it would be to set this plate with no ink and go from there. So I've got my paper, my second color plate, I'm just going to put that aside, set my paper on this little slideshow shelf, and set my press, I'd yet to set up my gauge pins horizontally, just personal preference, I like having the broader range. So carefully, I'm going to place this paper, and where my set gauge pins are. You want to be careful because where you set this paper is where your plates will set on your base. So this is where you want your paper. You don't want to leave a gap, because then when you actually set your paper on the print run, it's just going to not align right. So have your paper exactly snag with these gauge pins. We're going to hold this rule still. This plate is not under the gauge pin, because I don't want the gauge pin to catch it in a second. So you can have a final look, make sure everything is straight, and do what eyeballing you can do here. So I'm going to pull this lever. This way, this is your print mode. When you're lever is this way, these two pieces will not clam shell together all the way, so you won't get or print anything in case you'd need to reset your artwork, or just you don't have paper ready on, that'll make sense. I don't want to say too much. So I'm just going to manually rotate this. What's happening now is this just hit together, so when you just keep going, you'll see my papers probably stuck at the gauge pins or directly on the base. Just going to pull that away. Sometimes the tape sticks. Now my plate is set on the base, exactly where I wanted and what I'll do. Sorry. My phone was ringing. So what I'll do, I'm looking at this and I can already see the impression is definitely not deep enough. I'm going to put some more packing in here, but I'm just going to double up these two pieces of paper, to try to get a deeper impression just to show you what it looks like once it's set. So I'm just going to rotate this in print mode again. You want to be careful not to get any clothes to stuck in this wheel, have done that before. It's closer and you're probably not going to be able to see this at all actually. But what I'm seeing right now is a blind impression of where I want my plate to be. So I'm actually just going to go through the inking process, to do another test on the press before I set everything up, and get to crane my final quantity, so I'll show you the ink setting, I'm sorry, the ink mixing on the next lesson. 9. Sequence 9 inking and plate setting 1: I for my life of me, can not find my artist palette sheets. These are just disposable sheets you can get from pretty much any craft store. Then when you're done with your ink mixing, you can just tear it off. But sometimes use this little block here, so that's what I'll use. Going to grab my palette knife. The ink color that I used when I was designing in Illustrator, it's a Hex code because you design in CMYK. If you just Google Hex code to Pantone, generator, calculator or something like that. You can match the Pantone color to the color that you have decided on from your digital design. Now letterpress printing, it's just different than digital printing. It's not going to be exact, but it's going to be very, very close. You can use a Pantone guide to get it even closer. I know that this was the Pantone 611 was the match to my Hex code that I had decided on, which is 23.5 percent yellow. Let's see, this is my black. Let's see it is 1.5 parts black and 75 parts transparent white. You'll find that in most of your colors or a lot of your colors are mostly transparent, white or opaque white. Transparent White is just more of mixing white. There's actually a scale you can buy to measure your ratios out. I didn't really, just eyeball it and match from there; personal preference. Primarily I work with neutral, so I don't find color matching to be a really hard thing for me. I'm just going to get started. I like to start with the color that calls for the most ink which is my white. This ink is upper dried out. I'm going to actually peel this top layer of dried ink off real quick. I live in a very humid climate, so this just happens and sometimes I have to scrape that top layer off. I'm going to do that real quick. All the ink colors I'm going to use for all of these spreads, more blacks than I need only because I have a black layer coming up. I'm going to go ahead and mix the yellow up. I'm going to rinse my palette knife off real quick. Since I have 75 percent white, we're just going to use all this white. Start with that. It call for, what was it? 23.5, and I'm just guessing. It's best to start with less than what you need because it's a whole lot easier to add ink than take away a color. You'll find that some colors mix easier than others. But I'm just, with a pallete knife, scraping this ink into pile like kneading dough but with a pallete knife instead of your hands. It calls for just 1.5 parts black, so very little black. When you mix black ink, it goes a long way, so it never takes a whole lot of black ink to really change a color. This color just has a green undertone, almost like an olive chartreuse color. Right now it's looking pretty yellow so I'm just going to grab a tiny, and if you can see,I mean it's barely any black. Let's just see what that is. Yeah, you can already see it's making a pretty big difference. This is just a process of getting your color close to what you want it to be, exactly what you want it to be, depending on the project, and your color selections. It's pretty close to that Pantone, it's a little bit more green. Then I'm wetting so I might add just a little bit yellow. I'm just going to mix this until I have it exactly how I want it. I'm going to add a little bit more yellow because I've used what I grabbed out. I just think I went a little bit more. Now if you go back into your can with a palette knife just make sure you go back into your can with a clean pallette knife is clean. Don't want to mix your colors. I'm just going to put that up there and just grab a little bit of it. This is way more ink than I need. You'd be surprised how far this ink will take you on your press. I'll talk more about this and demonstrate this on the demo, but you'll notice as you start to print, your first print is going to be your most opaque. When you get 50 and 100 down the line, you're going to notice that ink start to fade. There are situations where you'll want to re-ink, it's way better to mix, especially if you're mixing ink to a custom color, it's way better to mix more than you need then have to go back and go through this whole process and hope that it's exactly the same shade as what you started out with. I'm happy with this. Maybe hard to see on the camera. But it's a pretty close match to what I'm going for so, yeah, I could do this. I've literally mixed ink for an hour trying to get certain colors. You can buy custom Pantone colors through Boxcar, and through certain ink suppliers. If you know you're going to use a color a lot or maybe if you're doing wholesale printing and you have a greeting card line and you're constantly reprinting the same thing, or maybe it's a branding project where you are reprinting business cards for someone and you need that certain Pantone color, you can always order a custom Pantone color so you can just have it ready to go right out the can. I've done that before. That's been really, really nice to have so you don't go through this mixing process every time you reprint that piece. I'm going to move to my press and show you how to ink up your press, and then we'll get to printing, which is going to be the fun part. We're going to ink up our press and we're almost ready to print. But I do want to run this test print for the print that I already set because we did a blinding boss layer and that was really hard to see on camera. But I want to show you what that test print looks like before we get started printing our whole stack of paper when your press' cleaned up. I'm going to grab my ink. What I do is I just take my palette knife. I don't know if you'll be able to see this, but there's just a thin little strip of ink on my palette knife. I'm going to put two, sometimes I do three, I just put my ink here in thin even layer. My press runs of a motor so my press is plugged up and ready to go. Some safety notes. I have gotten my apron caught in here. If I had a shamry short on over like a tin-top point, got the side of that caught in there. I always tie my hair back, take my jewelry off, things like that. This press will not stop because your hand is in the way, because you're closer in the way. It's definitely something to not take lightly. It will hurt. Not to intimidate you, but just common sense, be careful. The paper is not as important as your fingers, so just keep that in mind. I'm going turn my press on and ink this up. It is loud so I may let you hear how loud it is and then I'll turn the volume down. To turn it on, you got to give it a push fast and then it'll go. As it's slowing down, it's a pretty even layer of ink. I fast forwarded that a little bit, but that whole inking process took about three minutes. If you had a hand-driven press or a tabletop where you would pull the lever each time. Definitely it will work out but it would take a little bit longer. But if it's a motor driven press, it's fairly quick. Now I'm going to do a test print manually, just on one piece of paper to show you that paint we've already set out in its color. Remembering that I'm aligning it horizontally, I'll set that piece. Pull this back, because this is off-print mode. I can feel the pressure when I'm doing it this way. Definitely have some packing issues. My plate is uneven. The oppression really isn't there so I'm going to spend some time building up the packing, and what I'll do for that is just simply raise this up again. Put some more tightening paperback here, put some more paper back here and just to give it a cushion to really get that bite that we all love about letterpress printing. I'm going to do that real quick. I like where it's at. The sun is going in and out in here, but I'm determined to do this today. If it gets light and dark, then we'll just go with it. But I want to explain a couple of things that I just did in fast forward. When I ink my press and my plates' already set, let me grab a rag, I like to go back and just wipe it off before you do your test print because it may look like it's too much ink, which is a problem you would want to fix if it is too much ink. But often it's just because that inking run went over that plate however many times so it's likely that the plate does has too much ink from being in depth too much. I'm going to show you what the inked impression looks like. There comes the sun. Hopefully you can see this. Let me try to focus on it. All right, so it's a nice even layer of that yellow color we mixed and it's hard to tell, but the impression looks great. I'm really happy with it. I normally don't get the plate right on the first time. If this were crooked in the bottom with a little wonky, I would just carefully take the plate off from my base. Keeping on my base where it is, I just peel it off and just go through that same setup process where I'm placing my plate and positioning it based off of your first attempt at it until you get it just right. Since this is right we're ready to print and this is the fun part. I do want to touch though, if you mixed too much ink on your press, which I've done a thousand times, you'll want to take the ink off and put less on. It's far easier to start with less ink. With less ink and add more to it, and you'll know, you'll look at your first print and if it's not opaque enough, and it's starting to get transparent on the very first print, you'll know you need to add more ink. Let's get to printing. 10. Demo: Part IV: Now we're ready to print and you're going to see me throwing this lever back and forth. We need the non print mode, that means I was not as quick as my press, my press runs fast and sometimes I just can't keep up with it. You'll see me throwing it back and forth just to avoid a print run in-between a cycle if my papers is not ready or if I'm not moving fast enough. Sometimes I throw the cape bar every other prints sometimes I keep it and I can get a good rhythm going and takes me a little bit to get my melody in place. First I'm wash my hands because I'm ink all over them and I don't want to be grabbing paper with inky hands. I'm going to give you that a little quick, I'll be right back. I still have some ink on my hands but it's drying. I like to get small stacks and fan out the paper, so it's easy to grab. But that's just because I move first when I'm printing, I'm just getting situated. I have a counter on my pass so I can set this to zero and whenever we print line, it'll click for me. That's just really convenient because you're not going to want to sit here and count. I'm going to get started, I'm going to go through this in real time. You can see how I pull this forward and backwards as I get my motion. It's very loud, so I'll let you hear it. If you have headphones on watching this video, you might want to turn them down and probably speed it up as I go through this deck. Giving it a push to get going and when other things just slowing down my press. This was about 58 prints, I had some messed up, I have found that as I was inserting them really fast, they didn't quite line up. A lot of times what will happen is, I'll put something else and I don't have the right motion to get it all the way to the edge. There were a couple like that, I'll go through these before I would send them off or just, quality control checks, there is our first layers. What we would do next, let me grab the other plate, if this were the only print we were printing today and I didn't have any other things this color to print. We would go ahead and take the ink off of this press and we would put our next color, which was that black color. Oh my gosh, you know what? I made a mistake. But you know what, that's okay. We're just going to inverse the card. I mixed this chartreuse color, which was supposed to be for the flower, and I printed it for the texts, but that's okay. We're just going to invert the two colors. This happens. What I would do is, I would take this color off and now mix the black color for what will now be the floral. I don't want to black floral, so maybe I'll just mix another color on the flower because this is an art print and not for a client, so if it were for a client, we had set colors, honestly, I would reprint. What I would do is I would take the base out of the press and I would puzzle piece this on the base before I took that off because that plate was perfectly aligned with this piece of paper and I want this floral to be perfectly aligned with that plate. I'm going to do that real quick and show you what I mean. I'm just going to set this beside this where my norm mess up, although I know I have some more in that stack. I'm going to come with my rollers all the way down. Let me make sure they are, as far down as they can go. Let this if it's not light, it's very heavy and just place this right here. We're going to grab that rag to just wipe off, so I don't make a mess. What I would do, because I would simply peel this off, we don't need our duck tape for this. Just a line that is just like a puzzle butting up right perfectly against that. Let's see, I'll use my muscles and show you. Now this floral plate is aligned next to this plate and I could go ahead and take the text off since I know this is perfectly aligned with the setup I already have on my press. Stick that back going it's backing and just set it aside because we may want to use that again. Because I have several things that are going to be printed this color, normally I would print all one color and align the plates how I aligned this first one, but I'm just going to treat each print as its own little job here and just go ahead and re-ink the press and maybe I find new color than we intended, since we have that little mistake. I'm going to put the space back in the press and I'm going to mix a new color. Before I mix the new color though, I'm going to go ahead and clean my press and show you what that process looks like. If you hang tight, I'm going to get my cleaning stuff. I use odorless methylated spirit to clean my rollers and my disk. I'm going to link some cleaning supplies in the downward. I'm going to go ahead and clean this press. I like to use either a shop rag or a really soft paper towel. You don't want anything that's going to fall apart because that can stick to your rulers and affect how you ink your next run. I'm just going to speed through this. Because I made that happy, we'll call it a happy mistake and printing the wrong color, I decided it makes a different color than just inverting the two for that floral piece and the text part of what we just printed. I mixed a nice blush, I went ahead and mix that and now, I'm got to ink the press for our second color. This is a pretty thin layer of this blush, I can see the disk behind it in through the rollers but blushes can be tricky and you'll learn about different colors as you create it yourself. What colors do well as a thin layer because they show up brighter on the paper and it depends on your paper too. I'm going to start here because it's easier to add ink than takeaway. We're going to do a test print of this blush floral with all of the pieces that we just printed. A couple of mess ups right here on top. I like to text print on mess ups or even not even the paper I intend to use if I don't want to waste really good paper, because paper can get expensive. I'm going to manually do a test print just like we did on the first layer. Already know my print to the line, I did not clean my plate from that increments. It's going to be a pretty inky layers at this or at least make that feel alignment and then I'll give the plate a swipe. Actually it looks really good, I'm about to show you. Already know it's aligned well. Let me see, I'm just darkening my camera for a second. This is a really nice blush and I really liked the color, so I don't think I'll add any ink, and I'm going to go wash my hands again and honestly just get right to printing. Sometimes I have to move plates around 1000 times, sometimes you get it right on the first couple of tries. We're going to get right to it. This is the same as before, I'm going to reset my count to perfect zeros and some on the same project and I'm going to get so printing. We just printed that second line. That was real time and it literally took about five minutes. You can see that the setup is way longer than the actual print time, especially when it's a motor driven press. Now I have 62 color prints that are done. Because we had a little mess up and I printed that wrong color on that first print, I'm going to keep this pink on the press because I want to show you now the same print, but the two-up version, when an 8.5 by 11 parent sheet that we designed and ordered the plates for. I'm just going to keep this color because I know I'm going to use it again and replace that floral border, the floral on the two-ups. I'll probably do the same for that bordered print as well just we already have his ink on the press. We'll be productive that way. Yeah, I'm going to show you the parent sheet version of this print. Now I'm going to show you how I set up my parent sheets. This was the artwork for the same print that we just printed, but a two-up one an 8.5 by 11. I'm going to cut this apart the same way I cut the other, very closely around these florals in that the text is pretty close but it's doable. Because I have that pink ink, that blush ink that we just printed, on the press already, I'm going to print this layer first. Your plates will sometimes get printed with the little item code. Just their standards and I usually just snip that off. I'm going to set this aside and align this with my paper. Now I use crop marks so you can ideally just line this up and set it to your paper, really by eyeballing it. I measured it on the computer, so I knew where to cut. Just the math of it knowing what size paper it was. But when you align your plates this way, it's all relative and you have crop marks, so we'll use those as our guides. I'm going to set this aside, grab my masking tape, which is never where I need it to be when I go to do this. Because this is a larger plate, I am just going to cut two little pieces. Same with the other plate, I would have done this first, but I already have the ink on the press. But what I am going to do, is eyeball this. It's forgivable if it's not as straight because it's a floral but the text, I suppose we do have crop marks there, so it doesn't really matter if it's not straight on the paper because we're going to cut it straight per the crop mark. I'm just going to set that. Let's see, totally did this wrong. You want to put your tape on the palmar side because your sticky side is going to be facing up. We are going to carefully pull that away and set it aside. Just puzzle piece this down. Set this aside as well. Now, I'm going to set this up the same way. I'm going to go ahead and bring it to the press. I have this plate carefully set and brought over to my press. I'm going to use the same guide marks as I did for the other print. There are some situations where the artwork might be larger and hang over the base where I would have to move those gauge pins. That is why this setup is far more intense than the actual printing process. There's actually maybe a situation where I have to do that because I'm seeing this artwork might fall out the base. I'll show you how we can easily do that for this situation. I'm going to manually roll this forward. We've got it set in print mode. I'm going to go back. I see that it caught so I'm just going to, as it comes up, pull this aside. All this happening mistakes are actually turning into big learning moments. I can see, you may not be able to tell, but the crop marks are at the very top of the base, which is fine. The artwork is on the base, but we're not going to get that far crop mark because it's falling off the base. What I'm going to do is take this off. Because we were fine with the height, the only thing I have to do is shift everything over to the left. If the crop marks were falling off, I would have to move these gauge pins down, and this gauge pin over. But since the height wasn't an issue, we are just going to grab our masking tape, reset this plate on the correct side. Again, these are things you'll learn through a ton of experimenting. You probably won't be able to see it, but I can see the impression that this floral made and I know where I had the floral on the paper is fine, it just wasn't fine for the base. I'm just going to eyeball that and set this plate back where it was in its place. If you want to grab the text plate to recheck it, I probably will, that would be a great practice. I'm just going to carefully peel this gauge off. Then I have on the far left, since that's the one we need to move. These are the little Henry Compression Gage pins that I like. That I mentioned earlier. Lets see. I knew where it was because I drew a line there. I would like to have a bigger visual. I know that the crop mark wasn't that far off the base so if I just moved it over an inch or two, that would be that would be fine. I'm just going to set it a little higher up since this is the parent sheet. You can move these around. They do lose their stickiness after a few moves then you can buy them in a larger quantity because I go through them pretty quickly. I am going to grab this plate just to line it up where it's going to go next. I know we have crop marks so it doesn't really matter but I still like it to be straight on paper, just it's more pleasing that way. It's pretty straight, even though we have crop marks, where we'll cut. That is the good thing about having crop marks. It's not the best practice, but you can pretty much slam your artwork on your paper and size it up and straighten it up for your cutting process. I just like to keep things straight. I'm going to reset this hoping it all fills out on the base this time. This is thicker paper than I had before so I might have to take away some of the backing that's on here because it might be too deep of an impression. Although sometimes thicker paper just prints better so probably actually won't do that. Now that that plate is set, I'm going to grab my larger sheets, do one more manual test print. Lets see if I can hold it up. Harder pull because it's thicker paper and we're printing all of that. Everything pretty much just depends on your paper. Here is that, hard to see. Let's see that blushy color because I went through, what was it? Fifty rounds of that other, I could probably stand to reading this. I can see some areas where it's a little bit transparent, but I'm only going to print about 20 of these. I'm just going to punch through a bit of our printing, I'm printing large quantity, I would definitely reink and I could even take the first print and compare it to this one and you'll be able to see the difference. That's how you can gauge whether or not you'll need to reink your press. I'm ready to print. I'm just going to print, set this to zero and start printing. We literally just printed two per page and I printed 19 of them. I have almost 40 prints in less than a minute. I mean, that couldn't have been more than a minute. What I'll do now, since I'm done with this blush color, is print the second layer of this and then I'll move on to the more complex print using our actual colors that we intended to use. Yes, I'm going to move on, I'm going to clean this press and go on and apply the next layer of color. I have already mixed the ink. I just went ahead and reapply that initial chartreuse color. You had to mix, I didn't want to waste the ink. Yeah, this will be the same two colors as R1 up print. We're going to do the second run of R2 up print. Before with the first example, I took the base out to reset the plate. But there are some situations where the plates are very easy to get to and you could just leave the basic bases have ink. I'm just going to peel this other plates off, and just puzzle it where it should go. Then carefully peel off the floral layer. You want to be careful that your plate doesn't touch your rollers as you're pulling it off or really anything touched your rulers, are there the ink, your fingernails, anything, I have long finger nails, I usually cut them when I know I'm printing a lot because if you put a dean in any of plate that way it can show up over your artwork. You just want to take care of your rollers. Rollers are not cheap. I'm going to go grab my paper and do a couple of manual test run to make sure the ink coverage in alignment and everything looks good. I'm just going do a manual test for, I already see a problem we're going to have and I'm going to do it anyway because I want to show you how you can fix it. Unit of the setup, lots of trial and error. Arms might be short at the end of the day as well. With our first run, we had to re-situate the plate on the base so the plates artwork will fall on the base and this is what makes everything type high and touch your paper. The problem we're having, and you may not be able to see, but the bottom half of the artwork is actually not printing and the first time this happened, I literally had no idea. It's a steep learning curve, but that's why I'm here making this video for you. The reason that this is not printing, even though it's on the base my packing in here show you I use just some scrap paper as packing and it's not high up enough. Basically the artwork at that half of it is that getting to take advantage of this packing. What I'll do, I'm going to grab my masking tape and now this is makes shifts. I'm telling you it's not as formal as you think. Many printers are much more formal than me. High-producing printers, but a lot of printers are pretty routine makeshift. What I just did, I just scooted that packing up so all of my artwork gets to take advantage of this packing. Let's make sure it all gets covered. I'm just going to use this paper again, I don't want to waste this paper. Very fast I'm going to turn it upside down to second really see, it'll print over the blush, but I just want to see that chartreuse color. Without overlapping the first chartreuse color. I have a whole basket full of overprints and this overprints are just test prints that you'll run over each other and I don't know, they just have a really cool, I don't know if you can see that, really cool effect. I actually shred my mess ups just to get some packaging out of them up-cycled at that way. Anyway, the crop marks, the bottom half of that artwork is printing now because we moved that packing. Everything looks good and I think I'm ready to print. It's aligned with the bottom of the paper. Which again, doesn't really matter when you have crop marks or a guide that you'll cut. You can always basically square up your prints when you're printing on parent sheet. Setting that back to zero. Now I'm just going to get to printing my next color. I always keep our rollers down. The rollers are pretty squishy and I don't like to leave it sitting up on the bass or on your disk because it could damage the rulers. Were going go ahead and back to zero for the next print. We just printed very quickly a lot of set up, a lot of trial and error and mess ups and things like that. But once you get going, it's a fairly quick process. We just printed the second layer of our parents sheet that we will later cut down. The next print in the next lesson that we're going to do is that more complex print where we ordered two plates per color. I will have over and we'll do that artwork setup for the plates. 11. Demo: Part V: So we are going to go through the same setup as before. I'm cutting these little numbers off. They're often printed just as a little item number for a box card, your plate maker. So for this, I'm going to invert the colors. I designed the floral to be sort of charcoal black print and this to be the chartreuse. I'm going to flip-flop those and I'll tell you why. When you align two colors, this closely together, you kind of want those overlapping layers to be friendly to each other. What I mean by that is, I noted that, if I would have printed this in the lighter color, I'm going to print this second and those overlapping colors, even though they meet, if they do overlap and touch each other and the registration is just a tad off, I know the black will sort of hide that for me and that'll make more sense when we do the demo. I also think that it would just look better the other way around. Here we are changing so many things on the fly, but if it's client-based work, that would be a different situation. I'm going to set this plate first and since this is such a tight registration, you're going to want to be as closed and precise as you can. So I'm going to get real close to this, because this bleeds exactly to size, which can make it easy to set up. You just got to spend some time getting it right. Okay. Just a little bit. Probably blocking that with my head. Okay, you can see it's pretty tight. You want to get this layer right, because getting your first layer right's going to make getting your second layer easier and it's going to look great. Earlier I had mentioned that I usually wouldn't print a full bleed like this. When a pre-cut size, not a full bleed that is covering pretty much all the edges, those Henry gauge pins that I use will cover pieces of this up. So just please remember, I said this was makeshift and I'm about to show you how makeshift things get in a situation like this. We're going to hop over to the press. Bring this, I already have the chartreuse on the press from the last run, so we're going to print this first. No need to ink our press, we're just going to get straight to setting the plate, and then testing the print, and then hopefully everything is great and we get to printing. Okay, like I said, you're about to see how makeshift things are going to get. So I have my plate and it's so close to the edge. It's probably going to take some rounds of plate setting. I'm actually going to take this gauge pin, because I had it up here from when we did the parent sheet and moved it back down. But I'm going to show you why these gauge pins are about to cause problems on a printed bleed in this densely around the edge. I'm actually disappointed, take those off. Set the paper. Put this gauge pin back, closer to what would be a perfect seven. I'm going to lean over, my belly is getting in the way, I'm like four months pregnant right now, that's why I'm winded and out of breath. Hey, we're doing it. All, this is my third baby, and all three of my babies had heard this press from the womb, or a press. Okay. So my paper is at the gauge pins. See, this is just finicky but we got it. Okay, I'm going to set this and show you why this is going to be a problem. It looks really good, but I'll show you where the problem is. Let me do an ink run. I'll get a new sheet so we'll register correctly. Because you will not be able to see what I'm trying to show you on a blind DeVos layer, which is just a no inked layer, which is really, really beautiful. I do it all the time. So before I take this off, these gauge pins just got printed on, because they are in the way of the artwork. I will show you a close up. Hopefully you can see this. No, it's too bright. Okay, so that's one gauge pin that got in the way, here's the other gauge pin that got on the way, and here's the other gauge pin so you can see that impression but the ink didn't get to touch the paper because the gauge pin was on the way. So I'm going to show you how I fix this. Now normally, I print this in, I would just print on apparent sheet. If you have artwork that bleeds off, you can in certain areas but not all the way around like this, you can just move your gauge pins around to where they're not blocking any artwork. So what I'm going to do, and I'm sure other printers will probably cringe but sometimes just got to do what works. I'm going to place the paper and bend these little plastic parts back. These compression gauge pins are not going to last forever. So we're going to go through these demos. I'm just going to bend them back so they are no longer in the way, and I'll do a male ran to show you them. It really does look good. I don't know if you can see, but let's see if I can darken, so there's just this bordered print that the other plate will sit nicely on top of them we'll do a darker color so it just compliments each other well. I do realize now that little strip on the left end bottom, the artwork doesn't go all the way around. So I'm going to shift things around until I get it perfect and then we'll be ready to print. I'm ready to print. I want to make a quick note then. When you're doing a complex job like this, you will have more mess ups because the registration is just tighter. You want to make sure too your gauge pins are no longer holding your paper. See, you want to carve it up pretty quickly so it doesn't fall in between. I have probably a pile of paper on the floor of things that have fallen in between. You're going to have more mess ups, more misprints, and just more error with complex jobs like this, so when you order paper, you always want to order, I'd say the rule of thumb, it's 15 percent more than you need. With a job like this, it doesn't hurt to order more than you need, more and more, that work. What I'm going to do now is set my first piece. Being careful with each run, I'll probably throw this [inaudible] bar up more so I can really keep a careful eye on the placement, because I know that the placement of this layer is really important and the next layer will depend on this layer, so you just want to be really careful. I'm going to get started. Okay, I didn't print my whole stack, but you get the point. The next layer up would be what we're going to do as that sort of dark charcoal black layer inverted from what we designed, but it's going to look great. But since I already have this color on the press, I'm going to go ahead, set this aside because I'll be aligning the plate to this artwork and I'll show you that in a second, and not where this artwork is on the base. It's okay that we do it this way. This is just another way you can set your plates. So I'm going to keep this ink on the press. I'm going to just go ahead and grab the file for the two up version of this, and just like before, it's set on the paper. When you do a two art version on apparent sheet, it's easy to either use crop marks. Excuse me, for this one it was so dense that we'll be able to see where to cut. So I'm just going to go ahead and set that plate on the paper and then show you here on the press. Before I set that next plate, I'm noticing my ink is getting pretty thin, and you can compare this to the very first print. I can see that it's really a totally different color. So I'm going to reink. I just want to make a note on. When you have to reink your press, you don't want to put the same amount of ink you did from the very first ink set up. What I do is just four little beads of ink to sort of centered up on the plate and then you can just mix like you would. Now I'm going to print the first color of the two up version just like we printed the first color of the one up version. Now we're going to do just one since it's the same color. We already have it on the press so there's no use in reinking and then putting this color back on the press for the next projects. So I set that plate up, the same way I did the other two up version. Because this border is so dense, and I align them side by side, I know where I'm going to need to cut. I didn't use crop marks, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea to use crop marks. So that just depends on your personal taste and the artwork as well. So I've set this up. I'm going to set the blade just like we've been doing. Make sure it falls on the base. I get, this two-up paper that I'm using is thicker, so the pressure is hard both or manually like this. But I've got the plate there. Let's check. I don't think I could do this twice if I tried. It is barely on the base so we don't need to move it. Perfect. I don't know if you can see, there is some ink plums in the negative areas that are not supposed to print. Sometimes that's happened, if it's a lot and it starts to show up on your paper, that means your roller height needs to be raised. The way you do this is it's makeshift, keep using that word. Boxcar has a really great tutorial on this as well. But I use the packing tape, I think it's called corrugated packing tape. It's got the little lines and it just gives it some height. You just cut little strips and put them on your bars, your runner bars right here and it literally just raises your roller height. If you have setup problems or if you need setup help, you just got your press, this is something I do a couple of times a year, is make sure my roller height and everything is clean and operating. I give my press a deep clean probably once or twice a year, probably should be more. Just reach out with questions like that you might come across. But yeah, Boxcar has a lot of really, really great tutorials. Anyway, I'm going to hope that that doesn't print. But we'll cross that bridge if we get there. This is going to use the same piece. Run an inked test print to see where we're at. Manual labor. That didn't get [inaudible] , so we're going to have to do with them. Otherwise though, it looks really great. It's pretty dense around the edges, so I'll know exactly where to cut once we finish it. I'm going to deal with the issue of the over inked plate because of the roller heights. I'll be back. I want to talk about what little trial and error and all of that that I just did. The roller height is definitely an issue I've run into several times and sometimes this tape just gets worn down, so I need to put another layer on it. But the problem that I actually ended up having was not the roller height, the plate itself was not the one. The base, smoothly and evenly, so there was a bubble in the plate which was causing that uneven ink. There's a lot of testing you'll do and this just comes with experience. I did a test print, everything looks great. I'm going to get to printing this first layer and then we'll move on to the second color for the one-up and the second color for this one. This is zero. Grab my paper. I'm glad you can't see behind me, I'm an extremely messy printer. That's the cleaner [inaudible]. I've folded these little gauge pins back, so they can help me catch the paper. I'm going to get started. We're done with this color, so we're ready to clean the press again. We're going to add that darker charcoal color for the test part of the two-up and the one-up, so I'm going to go through that cleaning process. I'm a little close up so you can really see this yellow and see how we are going to register this second plate for the one-up footprint. I get my masking tape and go through the same process. Now, this is why it's so important that your first layer was printed as accurate as possible. There are presses like the Heidelberg press where it's automatically fed, the paper, so when you get into some really intense printing like that, it's definitely easier on presses like that. But it can be done, it just takes a bit of practice and experience. A lot of trial and error. That's close as I can see now, although we'll really know when we get it to the press. While I am here, I'm going to go ahead, grab the two-up version and just go ahead and set up the artwork, the plates for this one using the same methods This one's is large, I'm going to grab two pieces of masking tape, and set this one-up while we're in plate setting mood. My hands are filthy, I know. True printmaker when you have inky hands. I'm just going to line this up the best I can see here. A lot about the letter press printing process, you just figure out as you go. I don't want to say too much. I fear that saying too much is just going to be confusing. But I want to make a note. If this is confusing, just completely ignore it. You could have set this two-layer piece up with crop marks, and it could have made it easier to align. Rather than the way we just did it, we could have just aligned the crop marks, because wherever the crop marks were for both pieces, is where everything inside of the crop marks will lie. Hopefully that didn't confuse you, but there's more than one way to do just about anything. This is the way I typically do it. I'm going to bring both of these to the press. We're actually going to start with the two-up version because I don't really know why, I just want to. I'm anxious to see it. I'm going to bring this to the press and then we'll do the one-up version. We are getting to the end of the demo. I already had this gauge pan realigned to accommodate the parent sheet when I did this first layer, so that's why I wanted to put this one first. I knew there was a reason. I've already inked up my press using that charcoal layer. Mixed the ink the same way, inched it up the same way, inside the plate is the same way. We're about to set the plates onto the base. Just like we did all the other tests. This is going to be a finicky setup because the registration is so tight. But when you get it right, it looks really, really great. See the blind impression over it looks really awesome. Let's see the color or the color one. This is where you get your real deal. Example, or test print. Ooh I love it. I have to adjust it just a little bit carefully. Hopefully you can see it. It's really hard to see, and doesn't look like the colors that it is. Let's see if we can adjust it. Pull the tape up so the papers pill it up. But this is just a test run. I can see it have a little bit of misalignment here. But yeah, I'm going to work through getting that plate setup perfectly how I want it, and we'll get to printing. It's perfect. I'm going to speed through this one, and really the one-off version too because I'm sure you're tired of seeing the same old press. We'll evaluate everything when we're done and I'm going to clean the press up, and we'll move right along. If you're caught up, I'm setting the plate now for the one-up version and I'll just fast forward through this as well. Because you've seen it, we're just doing different variations of the same thing to show you all the different ways you can do this type of work. What I'll do after this, this wasn't on the next lesson. I'll go through each print and what it looks like finished. You can compare the artwork and the best setups for each one so when you think about your own artwork, you can gauge how you'd like to set up the file and print, and your plates, and all that good stuff. 12. Print Comparison: We have just printed two different prints in two different ways. I'm just going to go through so you can see the final product of what we just printed. The very first one we did, even though it was a happy little mistake that we made, it actually turned out really nice and I really like it. This was the one art version where we cut the plate. I move that aside. That one is ready to go but this one, we printed as a two art versions, so we printed one color, then the second color, but two per page. Because we have crop marks, we can just cut down at these crop marks and we'll have twice as many prints when half the labor it took to print and you'll just find different scenarios where this is really beneficial. I'll note a lot of times for weddings stationary, if I'm doing an imitation, say an RSVP and maybe a details card and it's all the same color, you can fit the invitation, the RSVP, and a details card pretty nicely on one sheet. This really cuts down your printing labor. When you're printing a wedding stationary, it's often larger quantities, so printing all on one sheet and cutting down might be a quicker way for you to move that production along. If you don't have a heavy duty cutter, paper cutter then I wouldn't recommend printing on parent sheets too often, unless it's just a really low quantity and you can hand-cut each one. I have a paper and I'll link it in the notes or the download or both, which cutter I have. There are a lot of really great ones out there and it was worth the investment because it can cut through a stack. This is a fairly small stack, but it could cut through a stack four times this size, like it's better, which is really awesome. We'll go to the next print that we did. This was the more complex print, the artwork we did, the colors we intended, and to be honest, I love how the blush and the chartreuse turned out better than these two colors. This does show up well on the camera so we'll go through this. This was the one that cut to size, and it was difficult because we had those gauge pins that blocked our artwork, which we, like I said, make shift, maneuvered around to make it work. Printing on apparent sheet this way is probably the better route, when you have a pattern that or just artworks that overlays and bleeds off your print. If this artwork wasn't so dense, then it would have been fine to print precise. You can move those gauge pins around based on your artwork. If I had art work that bled over here, I could just set my gauge pins on either side of it. Then we had the same version where we too up this. Same concept as before we just laid it out. We ran the first color and then we ran the second color. If you remember in the artworks set up, I positioned the two plate artwork setups to where the middle aligned exactly where it needs to be. To cut this down, I would first cut off all the edges, I know that this is five inches and five inches. I know this is 10 inches this way, which would be an easy mark for me to cut five inches down the middle. Those are our four prints. I've cleaned the mess that my studio was. It looked like a tornado hit it. We just did a lot of printing. I have put my clothes in the wash because it smelt like ink and clean up material and all of that. We just did a ton of work. I hope you are excited about letterpress printing and really testing the waters. Come to the next lesson because I want to leave you with some encouragement and farewell thoughts as we end this course. 13. Final Thoughts: We just ended a ton of demo work in several different scenarios for several different plate setup. I hope that at the end of all this, it all ties together and it makes a little bit of sense to you whether you're just starting out, you've never printed before or you've had a press that you want to get started with. I feel like it's important to say again, these are things that have taken me a ton of experience, figuring out. Experience is just something you cannot teach. I encourage you to go through this course, but I also encourage you to just keep printing and just keep trying new things. There are a ton of things that popped in my head as we were going through the demos that I'll update the download, and I encourage you to ask questions here in the comments and in the course notes. Or you can direct message me on Instagram or e-mail me. Because I know you'll have questions as you go to and chances are, I've probably been in the scenario that you may have a question about. I hope this course really encourage you to get started or continue or grow your letter press journey, and I'm excited to see where it takes you.