Errant ink spots

I recently printed a series of prints that all have some very small dark blue ink spots where I didn’t intend them to be. The spots are small enough that I didn’t notice them as the prints were made, but now that I am packaging them the spots are noticeable. The prints are on 300 gsm fluorescent white Lettra. The ink is Pantone 294u, rubber base. Anyone have any ideas about how I might remove them or cover them? Or, as a am afraid, am I just out of luck?

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I have seen people printing art editions occasionally tidy up a small superficial ink spot with a razor blade. What exactly caused these spots? Are they always in the same place?


The spots were from the edge of a photopolymer plate that either wasn’t cut well or was not stuck to the base completely. Pretty much my mistake unfortunately.

A razor blade may just do the trick. I’ll try it out.

In the pre computer era, we used a similar eraser to this on our vellum drawings. It worked like a charm.

image: Glass_Fibre_Eraser.jpg


It could be a handy thing to have around the shop:

image: EKIT_Brush_Kit.jpg


We often just work over the area with a sharp (read brand new) Xacto knife blade trying to be as careful as possible to not damage the surface any more than necessary using the tip of the blade. Then we run a white eraser over it to generally smooth things over. After a few you’ll get the hang of it.


Thanks for the helpful suggestions.

All this new technology, when I was an apprentice we used cuttle fish from the local pet shop.

There’s also the electric eraser, though I stopped using rubber-base ink because it is more likely to smear than erase. Rubber-base on Lettra will be hard to correct without a mark because this ink dries by absorbing into the stock, and the stock is very absorbent, so some fiber will need to be removed.
With the electric eraser there are eraser strips of different abrasiveness, suited to different conditions, and sometimes used with an erasing shield to localize the work. I’ve saved a lot of jobs with this tool. And before its invention, draftsmen used a knife called the ink eraser, with a rounded blade, though that’s more for stock like drafting vellum.

Another thing to add to this pile of good advice already dispensed- get ahold of some 110 cover lettra (the same stock you used, but thinner) and an intaglio burnisher, or bone folder, or any blunt smooth tool
You can restore some of the texture on the surface/tamp down some of the fibers you will inevitably lift up with your abrasive techniques if you go over the spot with that afterwards.

It will not make it perfect but will conceal some of the flaws from the process.

I don’t know how many prints you made, nor how complex they were, but I wonder if reprinting would be far less effort than going sheet by sheet trying to remove these spots. When your messing with the paper fibers, I would think you risk ending up with a different kind of spot on each sheet.

Anyone can read these posts including your clients.

Yes, and if you post with a moniker that is publicly identifiable, you might actually risk people finding out that you had ink spots on something you printed, that one timeā€¦.. ;-)

Specks of ink on a job are not the end of the world—this is common in commercial engraving because the die wipe doesn’t always wipe the die perfectly clean. In the engraving operation I ran every sheet was inspected before being packed and any spots were removed with a sharp knife as has been described previously. We used high end papers and enough overs were run to take care of any really bad sheets. The 2 women who did this work had been doing it for years and litterally did spotless work. They always wore cotton gloves when handling the stock and worked in one of the few truly clean places in the building with excellent lighting. This technique will not work with every paper stock, so the best bet is to do clean, accurate work in the first place. And once in a while, the job was rerun if the spotting problem was bad enough through out a run.