Printing two overlapping colors?

had another general question for you guys on the forum. As you know I picked up my letter presses the other day and i’m going through cleaning them and such ultimately the goal is to get them up and running and start to print some stuff. I’ve seen some sample letterpress work but I’ve never seens a print that has colors on top of a color is it not possible?

What I’m trying to accomplish is to print our logo on white card stock. Our logo is 2 colors black and yellow (see attached images) I’m just wondering if its possible to print the yellow first then have the black on top (see the number ‘2’ on the logo) of the yellow or have a tight border of black on the yellow box?

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Black on top shouldn’t be an issue at all. You will want to “choke” the yellow back from the black border to go under the black, so if you are off a little the yellow will not show up outside of the “square”. They probably did this for the shirt!


Thanks for the quick reply! Yea the logo is ours its just a mockup but on the t-shirts we did the same process as you mentioned. The main concern I had was figuring out if the overlapping of colors is possible when printing letterpress

Certain colors will bleed and show through, something allot of people like and strive for, you can get a nice third color for free!! Usually the black is dense enough to cover!

Letterpress inks are a lot more transparent in general than screen printing ink, but either way trapping is a good idea. Like Dennis said, printing darker colors on top of lighter colors is fine, though sometimes the overprinted area is a little different.

@ Dennis and @ Vrooooom

Thanks! Do you guys know any suppliers who would provide pre cut card stock but also do edge painting?

I’ll do it….

Otherwise, I only know of Crane’s hand-bordered stationary.

Edge painting is easy. See my other advice in the “Thinning Rubber based Ink” discussion.

James Beard
Vrooooom Press

@ Vrooooom

Thanks James I’ll send you a message here definitely interested in getting into it (edge painting) How much effort is it similar process as to gilding?

It’s a little similar, since the principles are the same, such as the importance of working with a good edge (whether cut down perfectly, or finished with a burred piece of steel). But, since you’re typically working with an ink or paint rather than gold leafing, it’s a bit different. The main thing to fight is ink seeping. I think it’s slightly faster than gilding.

@ Vrooooom

Thanks James I read your post very informative i’ll give it a shot to see how it goes I’m a far ways away before I get to that point anyway still in the restoration phase ;)

If you want your black to be as dense on the “2” as on the text- in the prepress process - knock out the two on your yellow file/ plate- do this by copying the 2 from the black file and pasting it on the yellow file- turn the 2 to white and the “knock out” will leave a place for the black 2 to print on the paper with out yellow ink on it-
if you want it a less dense black- when printing ink over ink,test for the best first color- try black first, then yellow and then yellow first then black- then you will see how the colors lay over each other -