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Printing with a Split Fountain

February 07, 2013

I've recently printed my Valentine's Day Cards. They are for sale here:

Valentine's Day Card from Cerulean Press

The plate that I designed was very simple because I wanted to try a new (to me) process, printing with a split fountain, which results in a gradation between two colours in the final print, which can be seen better here:

Letterpress Ombre Heart Ribbon Valentine's Day Card

Because I printed these cards on a platen press (my little Kelsey), I had to rig it so that the ink disc wouldn't spin. I did this simply by tying the ink disc ratchet to the roller arm so that it couldn't engage with the ink disc as I was printing.


It was a bit crude -- I just used a bit of yarn that I had handy -- but it did the trick. Then I mixed up the ink I wanted to use and put each colour on half of the disc. As I was inking the disc I rotated it a small bit back and forth so that the colours would start to blend together a little bit in the middle.

Letterpress split fountain printing

It was a fairly simple process and I love the results! I definitely plan on experimenting with this process a bit more, maybe on the big press next time. Once I was done printing the front of the card I simply cut the yarn and ran the press for a few minutes so that the two colours would completely blend together, then I just used that pink to print the message inside the card.


I liked the colour in the end, but I mostly did it because it was the lazy option -- easier than cleaning the press and adding a new colour. Next on the press I have a couple of custom orders, but I've also got my Mother's Day cards designed and ready to print, so look out for those coming soon!

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