How to hand print display lead type

I have a case of 72 pt lead display gothic type and a blank wall in my house, so I tought of printing the beginning of El Quijote in Spanglish over a big sheet of paper. I think it will be somehow humorous and appropriate to print this text in a gothic face.

Here´s the text: "In un placete de La Mancha of which nombre no quiero remembrearme, vivía, not so long ago, uno de esos gentlemen who always tienen una lanza in the rack, una buckler antigua, a skinny caballo y un grayhound para el chase."

Has anyone done something similar before? How? Which ink? Which paper? What about Fabriano?

Thanks in advance.

marcox's picture

Nice idea! I don't have any technical advice, but it would be even cooler to print it directly on the wall.

bojev's picture

You could try just using a rubber stamp ink pad

rs_donsata's picture

Maybe, but I was thinking about something like a frame where I could press the paper and even make some extra copies for friends.

McBain_v1's picture

Somehow I couldn't see my lass going for that, she'd go mental if I "fontified" a wall - love the idea though. Arts shop will easily provide a frame I would have thought. What colours / inks are you intending to use?

hrant's picture

Just be careful, if you use a mallet to make the "impression" you might damage the sorts.

BTW, once you finish you should store/display the type under that wall in this:


russellm's picture

I'd suggest setting the type on a flat surface, clamp or wedge is in place, ink it... (and this is actually very clever :o) . I did it with lino cuts once upon a time using the ink from some ball point-pen refills. It looks like the surface area you're covering will render that option impractical, but oil paint would probably work as well (or, what the heck, get your self some printing ink from an art supply store) . Spread
it on a piece of glass and use it to ink the type with a hard rubber roller.

Then, lay the paper onto the type - keep it from moving and firmly press the paper onto the type with a clean rubber roller.

bojev's picture

Oil paint and a brayer will work for inking if you set it up and tie it all together. Then put your paper on top and use a wooden spoon for pressure to print it. Stamp pad print would be a one off but you could then have copies made of that.

Joshua Langman's picture

Have you made sure you have enough sorts to set the whole thing at once? For instance, you would need 20 e's.

rs_donsata's picture

I think I will use black on white only.

Je, nice try Hrant! No mallets assured.

I may actually do it that way Rusell. It doesn't seem that difficult. If I can't get proper letterpress ink I will try Oil paint.

Joshua I may have to think of a simple device for proper alignment because you made me realize I will have to do this job in three different stages.

rs_donsata's picture

Do anyone think Fabriano paper will be too coarse? Do anyone know how to properly clean the type?

bojev's picture

Fabriano is not a good choice - without a press a soft paper like those used to print woodcuts or linocuts would be best.

Joshua Langman's picture

A common letterpress ink, straight from the manufacturer:

And to clean the type, you would use "type wash" which is often "denatured alcohol" (buy it at any hardware store).

kentlew's picture

Don’t substitute oil paint. If you don’t want to (or can’t) get the quantity of letterpress ink, then you could use oil-based blockprinting ink instead. You should be able to find it in any reasonably well-stocked art supply store.

For paper, consider Rives BFK or Rives Lightweight.

You might consider dampening the paper slightly first. If you’re not familiar with the technique, search for general instructions for wood block or relief printing.

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