A Week Inside The Hungry Workshop – Mixing and Printing

by Jenny Butler
Wednesday 8th February 2012

Today things are getting inky! Jenna and Simon are mixing up a very Design Files yellow with their collation of vintage teaspoons- cute! If you haven’t already visited, be sure to click over to The Hungry Workshop website and blog for more letterpress joy. – Jenny x

Now that we’ve finished our design and mounted up our plates, it’s time to start letterpress printing. We like to stock up on our cards, so we’ll be using the Windmill (our workhorse of a press) for this job.

The first step is to make sure that the press is nicely lubricated. There are lots of beautiful little instructions scattered about the press and it’s best to make sure you pay attention to them all. Keep those blower holes clean and lubricate all points daily!

We mix all our colours by hand, using a fairly crude but also very cute system. We have a set of fancy antique collectable teaspoons to dish out the rubber ink in (as close as humanly possible) equal and accurate measures according to the Pantone Formula Guide. Then all the portions of ink are mixed together with a palette knife on our mixing plate.

The incredible part of mixing ink for letterpress printing is it never really looks quite right until it is pressed into the paper. It’s an absolutely mesmerising process every time: from a few simple base colours we can create any colour in the spectrum (and even a few that don’t exist yet).

Colour is by far our favourite tool in the workshop.

Letterpress is slow going and you can only print one colour at a time, so before we dive into the next colour we like to let the prints dry for at least a few hours, often overnight.

The last task of the night is to clean the ink off the press and wipe down the rollers.

Jenna & Simon x

by Jenny Butler
Wednesday 8th February 2012


  • Ahhh, printing heaven! Thanks so much for sharing these… might be my favorite guest blog ever. Printing was one of my favorite subjects in art school and I would jump at the chance to take another class!

  • Mandy 5 years ago

    Thanks for taking the effort (and the photos) and posting a bit each day. I’m really enjoying following your process step by step.

  • Robyn 5 years ago

    Yum those golden sploodges are like dinner… Great photos of the maintenance ‘pms’ love those signs. I am enjoying the whole process…

  • Robyn 5 years ago

    Actually I think maybe dessert…

  • Ariane Fricke 5 years ago

    I just love letterpress! And what a great idea to show step by step how ideas come to live. Thank you for this awesome blog post!

  • Jodi 5 years ago

    What a fascinating process! I’m learning so much, thanks :)

  • Leslie 5 years ago

    I have my own tabletop press and I am just starting to learn the ins and outs! Seems like you guys really have mastered the art. Me…I have a long way to go! :-(

  • allesistgut 5 years ago

    Wow, this is pretty cool. I’m so excited to see the result. Letterpress is beautiful. :)

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