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A Week Inside The Hungry Workshop - Mixing and Printing

8th February, 2012
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

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email