Epic fail

My very first go at printing was … well. Used ploymer plate, adana 5x8 had to use brayer as I do not have rollers. Crane lettra 100% cotton. Oil based ink. Prints came out all blotchy and could not read the fine print. Switched to stratford 25% cotto 80 lb a little better but still blah. Will try again. Be kind total first try noob!

Log in to reply   10 replies so far

Hi Elaine,
Keep trying! It gets better by the day. Also, you may need some rollers ;)

If you ever need help, it helps to add pictures!

Keep on keeping on!


One of the most common mistakes of beginners is to use too much ink. Start out with what looks like a tiny amount, and keep rolling it out, on your flat surface, until you get a beautiful, smooth, even layer. Then roll it onto the printing plate, while trying not to let the roller slide on the plate. After doing a test print, if you find you don’t have enough ink, you can always add a little ink if necessary.

What type of flat surface are you rolling the ink out on? A piece of plate glass with the edges polished or covered (so you don’t cut yourself on them), works well. Plate glass is thicker than regular window glass. Also, plate glass is easy to clean. Most any glass company should be able to cut you a piece of plate glass. They should also be able to polish the edges, if you ask them to do it.

Here are some pics… I’m embarrassed!

image: image.jpg


image: image.jpg


image: image.jpg


As Geoffrey said…too much ink! Start with less and work your way up. Harder to control ink with brayer as well, easy to lay the ink on way too thick.

Agreed. Way too much ink.

Roll roll and roll that ink out some more. Start with what you think is too little. A dab will do yah.

Also, be very careful how much pressure you put on the brayer when rolling the ink onto the plate. Photopolymer is very shallow and any excessive pressure on the brayer in contact with the plate will work ink onto the shoulders of the letters and image, adding to the problems of making a clean print. A fairly hard brayer will help, but you really should be using well-adjusted rollers with runners/trucks that just kiss the top of the plate. Photopolymer on a small table-top press is hard enough without making it harder for yourself.


If you’re not going to get rollers any time soon, the next time you order photopolymer plates (say, from Boxcar), ask them to send you the edges. Use those edges as roller bearers when you use the brayer so that you keep the roller at an even height.

Roll up. Roll down. Remove roller bearer polymer. Print. Repeat!

This is how I work on my proof press, so it should work for you, too.

Thank you for the great ideas and feedback. I will try again this weekend. I do have the edges, was not exactly sure how to use them … Duh they come off before you press, got it. :) I will hope fully be getting rollers soon, I’m just a zealot and could not resist playing around. Thank you for the encouragement.

Given the press, the brayer, the laid stock and the fact that this is your first attempt- I think you should be pleased at your results. As I read your post, before I saw the pix I imagined far worse. There will be plenty to do and learn but at least you’ve made a valiant attempt and the results are certainly not awful. One of the fellow Briarpress members likes to say, “get your hands dirty”. It is good advice, keep at it and welcome for the ride.

Hand roller and it’ll be sweet days ahead!