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What ink colors can you print with letterpress?

I explained a little bit about inks used for letterpress in a previous blog post. Now, I'm going to go a little deeper in to ink mixing

letterpress printing supplies and a Pantone formula guide
letterpress printing supplies

Letterpress ink can be rubber or oil based. I use inks from Southern Ink Co which combines both. It dries quickly on paper, yet can stay on the press overnight if I don't have time to clean right away.

photo of a hand mixing letterpress ink on a small scale
weighing and mixing letterpress ink

If I need to print a color that's not one of the Pantone base colors, I use the Pantone guide. This is the "universal" color language. Each color comes with a formula. I weigh each ink color on a scale and mix it prior to applying it to the press.


Using a Pantone formula guide helps ensure you get the exact color you want. If you say "light purple," I might mix something that looks more grey to you but more purple to me.


In short, the sky's the limit when it comes to creating ink colors for letterpress!


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