Thursday, September 25, 2008

The joys of printing on metallic paper.

Lots of people are interested in the range of pearlescent/metallic papers available, such as Stardream. They are available in lots of striking colors, and can be used for numerous applications. However, they are not necessarily ideal for letterpress printing.

These are not the “lofty” papers that are often used for letterpress, so if the current “deep impression” is sought, you may need to use a softer packing for the impression to be blatant enough on the front of the paper. The softer the packing, the more it forms (in effect) a debossing counterforce to the printing plate.

Because of the finish on these papers, they are also almost completely non-porous, and behave like a hard coated paper. If the ink used is not an oxidizing ink it will probably never completely dry and will rub off. To use common examples, oil-based ink rather than rubber-based should be used.

With this non-porous finish, the harder the impression the more the ink will tend to squeeze out under pressure and cause “halos” or otherwise sloppy-looking printing. One way around this is to use two separate impressions with lighter inking—perhaps a first with hard impression and very little ink, followed by more ink with less impression.

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