It seems like there are very few letterpress companies who offer edge painting as one of their services. I am curious if anyone knows how this is done. Is there a machine for this? Or is it just a matter of figuring out a way to clamp the paper and paint the edges with a brush?
If anyone has any insight, we’d greatly appreciate it!
Gus & Ruby
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I had an old professional bookbinder friend, who did bibles, account-books and ledgers etc. They would do marbled fore-edges as follows. Books would be firmly clamped between boards and slowly lowered onto the surface of the basin, on which the marbled colours were floating. Single coloured fore-edges were simply done with a brush. Sometimes spattered effects were made in this way as well. First a flat colour would be applied, once it had dried, they would use a small wire mesh and a stiff brush and spatter a second, often darker colour on.
I forgot to tell, that the flat colours where aniline based inks (aniline dyes dissolved in alcohol or some other volatile solvent).
I think, the used colors are the major part doing edge coloring. Some are not opaque enough, some will stick the paper together, you’ll have to experiment a lot.
Where I work we do edging by cutting down the paper so all edges are even, then clamping tightly between two boards. We then simply paint the edges with an airbrush. We use airbrushing paints thinned with a little water and the standard airbrush nozzle/air compressor combo. Results are generally pretty good, but the color of the paint can be a little unpredictable in terms of how it looks.
I noticed on this entry from underconsideration, the printer used a stamp pad to edge paint. You can see the results: http://www.underconsideration.com/fpo/archives/2009/08/michael-faber-bus...
Has anyone else tried this method with good results?
I’ve used a stamp pad to edge a school project, simply due to page count/size. I think it turned out great.
There are million ways to get the painted edge look. You’ll find it’s a fairly guarded secret out there. I think it’s worth investing the time to find what works for you.
Just thought I’d revise this to see if anybody wanted to share more specific tips and techniques for edge painting. Anybody use a padding press? Other tips for clamping? Other ways of painting besides airbrush? Anybody use a brayer instead?
I did a test the other day and it didn’t come out too badly. I used a regular wide brush and just painted the ink on some clamped together stacks of cards. I used some regular speedball water-based block printing ink, though, and it bled into the card a little. Like I said, it was a test and I used what was within reach. I think with proper Van Son’s or other printing ink it would work out better.
After cutting some sample paper down to business card size. I clamped them down and used a brayer on each edge with Van Son’s rubber based ink. I tried running once, multiple, harder and softer. I found that the harder and less times you run it, the cleaner the effect and less chance the bleeding will occur. The paper MUST be cut perfectly or some edges will not get coverage. It did work - but tricky. I’m gonna try using a letraset marker next and see how much that bleeds.
For airbrushing what type of paint works best, acrylic or water-based? I was thinking about giving this a shot this weekend on my sisters weeding invites and see how it turns out.
Where else but a crafts store…
They sometimes have coupons on their web site for 50% off one item!.
And attention guys, you meet some of the nicest ladies in a craft store!
we did edge colours on books using book ruling ink ,it was water based and fixed by mixing oxgall into the ink in higher proportion than required for ruling . Ox gall for the uninitiated is dehydrated cattle urine !
The invites I have are crane 220lb. would airbrushing be the best option with these? I need to get them out soon so I don’t want to mess them up.
Not urine, but bile, the liquid which resides in the gall bladder of a cow is the material indicated for use.
I’d have to say that either material brings up a rather dark picture in my mind, but the effect or urine would be much different than that of oxgall in painting, marbling or your use in edge decorating.
John Henry (who once worked in a meat packing plant and whose memory can vividly recall the difference between urine and bile.)
I used it for about eight years always believing it to be urine chrystals certainly it stank in the summer ! Having said that i shall bow to superior knowledge !!!!! It was used in ruling machines and was supposed to make the ink penetrate the size in / on the paper .The spatter pattern was as mentioned above created with a small pool of ink only 1/16 deep dip a stiff bristle brush and as mentioned brushed across a mesh or anything that would sufficiently cause the bristles to spray afine spray , needless to say it was messy and time consuming but the effect was acheived satisfactorily .
In retrospect it may explain why our government stinks!!
Hi everyone. I want to know what inks are used in edge painting? As I understood water based inks are the best?
This seems to be the secret that no letterpress printer wants to share when it comes to edge painting.
I paint on a Matte Medium with a small brush along the edge of the clamped paper stack, prior to applying the pantone ink. The Matte Medium dries clear and acts as a sealer, preventing the pantone ink from seeping too far into the stack. Gives a nice clean result everytime.
Has anyone tried using rubber based ink (eg Van Son) in an airbrush for edge painting? Love to hear from you if you have.
This is just my personal technique which may or may not be perfect but I did a video demoing this and a detailed written post. Check it out:
Than I need to make colored edges, it depends on the effect I want to create:
solid presses, clean solid edges, often I use a matte medium to seal the edges to prevent seepage of the color into the stock:
Often I roll the edges with a Brayer as a matching color to the ink is wanted, fan fast and let dry.
I foil Edges on occasion and more often than I do bespoke cards (printed on an etching press), they have gold leaf or beveled gold leaf edges.
I sometimes use a brush, Airbrush or sponges.
How do you seal it? I’m having an issue with rub off. I used a metallic silver on some black cards & it’s getting everywhere.
I’m pretty sure I’m remembering right that the London bookbinding trade prepared ledger edges for marbling,usually with a ‘pinerel’ type of pattern in the trough, by wiping over with a tiny sponge soaked with ”alum water” and allowing to dry before placing in contact with the prepared marbling trough surface pattern. .
Regrettably I don’t exactly know what ”alum” is, but no doubt someone on this site does. Its function was to neutralise any acidity or more usually alkalinity remanent in the paper. In those cases back in the 1950s for ledgers this would have been ‘canary’ stocks, pale blue in colour, not from any kind of dyestuff or pigment but from ground blue glass powder! yes really!