Hello Ladies of Letterpress,

In my letterpress research I've been conducting while I'm not working on restoring my press, I've noticed a trend in edge painting and I think it's absolutely beautiful. Only problem is, I haven't been able to find out actually how to do it! I mean, maybe it's easy enough that it doesn't need instructions on how to do it...but I feel like there must be some secret to it! What type of ink/paint do you use and what's your technique? Do you need any special tools, or anything that you've found that makes the whole process easier. I'm the type of person that needs a step by step tutorial! :)

If anyone is willing to divulge the secrets of edge printing, I'd be eternally grateful! My first project once I get my press up and running are my roommate's wedding invitations and I think she might be interested in doing it for them!


Views: 15717

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I am also interested in this and would like some instructions on how to apply this technique.
There is a fascinating video here on the Crane blog about gilding, which is similar:


I have used the same method to clamp my paper, then I paint the edges. So far, acrylic paints have worked the best for me.

- Christy
I should add that it does take quite a bit of patience and practice (at least for me, it did) to perfect this -- I recommend trying it two or three times on stacks of scrap paper (the same kind as your real printed pieces) before doing the real thing. There's a certain point when the paint is drying to take the stack apart. It just takes some trial and error to know when that is. If the paint hasn't dried enough, it will smear onto the front or back, if it's too dry, it will rip the sheets apart. And you have to clamp the paper enough so the paint doesn't seep in between the sheets, but not so much that you leave marks in the paper or take out the impression of the letterpress (if you're painting after you've printed). One more thing -- put lots of scrap paper at the top at the top and bottom of the stack, because the best ones end up being in the middle of the stack.

- Christy
so i watched that one and at the end all these other ones popped up and i found one on their process of edge painting:
Wow. She makes it look so easy! :)
ooh. thanks for all the tutorial on this Christy, never thought to try this myself. if you want someone else to do it for you, go to Exclusive Bordering Company {ottoprinting.com}
I have used gilding powder from Daniel Smith {they call it dry pigment} but only brushing across part of my design as quickly as possible after it's been printed so it sticks to the ink. which makes for slow printing. i print say 10 at a time, brush them with the powder, set them aside, and repeat. this really old blog link shows the wedding invite i did it on, though you probably can't see enough detail with the actual powder:
I don't have the patience for it, tried it for a client that didn't want to wait for it do be done elsewhere, and got burned!

I concur with Exclusive Bordering Company. Just picked up a new sample pack from them. Have used them in the past, and honestly for how incredibly reasonably they are priced, until you master it, they are a great resource.
This tip just came up on the listserv today:

"I use water-based leather dyes applied by hand with a cottonwool swab =
(squeezed out until almost dry) then, when dry, I burnish with warm =
beeswax and a bone folder. (When I say 'warm' I mean softened up a bit =
by being placed near a heater. Then apply with cotton wool. It doesn't =
take much.)"

And Dave from Crane's posted a link to this video of edge-painting being done at Crane's:
Do you burnish the edge of the paper with warm beeswax and a bone folder? What does that do? Thanks for the tips!
I imagine you rub a little warm wax on the edges, and then rub with the flat side of the bone folder . . . someone want to give it a try and report?
I've been giving this a few tries on Crane's 600 gsm lettra. I want to have red edges for my cards and wanted to do it by myself instead of sending it out. So far, I've tried a few things - acrylic paint seems to work best, but I still sometimes get a little fiber tearing. I only let it sit for about 1 minute then I pull them apart to dry entirely separated. (small stacks in a vice) I've also tried rubbing glycerine on the edges to seal the fibers before painting. This helped immensely! I still don't have it perfected, anyone else have advice to offer? Thanks!
Have you tried painting the edges with Matte Medium first? Might help prevent bleeding.



  • Add Photos
  • View All


LoLP Book + Shirts + More


  • Add Videos
  • View All



© 2017   Created by Kseniya Thomas.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service