Metallic Paper Letterpress (or just sheen)

We have a wedding invite to print and were wondering how well letterpress might take to a metallic paper or what some paper stores call “metallic. This client loves the “metallic” sheen on some papers and I was wondering if the ink would have an issue resting and drying even though it wasn’t a super porous paper.

Using Rubber-based ink on a Vandercook.

Here is an example. Hard to see the shiny look in an image though.

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As always, it will depend on the specific paper and ink combination, but the pearlescent/metallic papers I’ve worked with (Aspire Petallics) are designed to be printed offset so the ink should dry properly. My personal Titivilus Press business cards were printed on Petallics Beargrass. It took oil-based ink from photopolymer plates just fine. I have no personal experience with rubber-based ink, but I expect they would work as well.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Rubber base inks are great in some ways, but not for everything — and this is a perfect example of when NOT to use a rubber base ink. While obviously it will depend on the paper, I think it’s pretty safe to say that most all of the “metallic” papers are not very absorbent, and keep in mind that rubber base inks “dry” primarily by being absorbed into the paper, so there could very well be drying problems using rubber base ink on any more-or-less non-absorbent stock. In this case, either be sure you do extensive testing if you want to use rubber base ink, or just be safe and use oil base ink (which will dry on virtually any substrate).

Dave (the Ink in Tubes guy)

Rubber base ink has to absorb into the paper (or whatever you are printing on) to dry. If it can’t absorb, it will dry very slowly if at all. If I were you, if I wanted to use rubber base ink, I would do a test print first, to be sure the ink dried OK. If the ink didn’t dry OK, or if you don’t want to be bothered doing a test, use oil base ink as Michael did above. Oil base ink dries by reacting with the oxygen in the air to form a skin and harden.

Dave Robison,

I need to talk to you. Please email me. You have my email address, but in case you don’t have it handy, it is gquadland(at)execulink(dot)com

Thanks, Geoff

I’ve printed on Curious Metallics before using oil-based inks and it was fine. I gave it overnight to dry and there were no issues putting it back through the press for multiple colors.

Thought you might like to see something I printed a few years ago on Stardream Metallic using rubber base ink.
I mix all my ink from a few select colors of VanSon rubber base and never have a problem. The colors on these cards were all custom mixed. It is a little hard to tell in the pix but the colors on the calendar are a deep teal, burgundy and warm brown. Since I have the room I have the luxury to leave the cards out to dry overnight. My basic colors are; Pantone white, opaque white, reflex blue, warm red, rubine red, yellow and black. I only use the pantone white if I am trying to create a transparent ink effect as used on the Wayzgoose invite. See pix.

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Additional photos

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