[how to] ink

Once you learn the basic technique of using the L Letterpress ink, printing becomes a lot easier. It just takes a little practice and always remembering that less is more

L ink is formulated to create a thick, tacky consistency. This is essential for achieving great letterpressed prints. I find that spending a little extra time in the beginning to prep my ink base and brayer is totally worth it. 

To start, a little ink goes a long way! I typically squeeze a small pea size amount of ink onto the ink base and then use my brayer to roll it out into a smooth, fine square. You don't want any globs of ink or spots where the ink is heavier. 

Squeeze out a dab of ink no larger than the size of pea.

Start rolling the ink out in a square pattern.

Keep rolling until the ink is spread out in a large square on the ink base. I spend a good amount of time (maybe about a minute) really rolling the ink evenly and smoothly on the ink base and roller

You want a really fine, even layer of ink on both the base and roller. There should be no globs of ink. It should seem like the ink has been rolled directly into the base and has simply colored the top surface of the ink base.

I then like to do a "prep" ink run with my printing plate. I roll the brayer all over the printing plate using a little more pressure to ensure the plate is completely inked. I then print on a scrap piece of L Letterpress paper. 

The first time you ink your plate make sure it is inked completely. I typically use a little more pressure and roll over the plate several times with the brayer. After a test print, try to minimize the number of time you roll over the plate with your brayer. You want a thin even covering of ink

Then, I'm ready to start printing actual pieces. Again, a little ink goes a long way. You want to lightly roll the brayer over your printing plate in as few times as possible until the plate design is covered. Too much ink can result in globby, uncrisp printed designs.


  1. Wow, what an excellent bit of information! Thank you SO much for sharing this; I have a feeling I'm going to be letterpressing later today.

  2. I know this is an old post, but I've having issues with inking. The ink gets on the edges of the plate, and not the part that you want. How do you prevent this?