Question about mixing metallic pigment in with ink?

I hear you cannot mix for example screen printing metallic pigment or pearl ex metallic powders in with the ink for offset printing because the pigment is too big. I am not sure if it has to do with the offset plate not being able to transfer it or the rollers not being able to transfer it? So my question is if this can be done if your doing letter press printing? Or can it wreck the rollers or does it not transfer correctly to a letter press plate either?

If not, can anyone give me an explanation what will happen? If the rollers can get wrecked and why pigment the size of metallic flakes mixed in screen printing ink or pearl ex flakes mixed cannot print with offset or letter press printing?

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(repeat post)

I would guess that pearlescent pigments are fairly coarse and must be to be effective. I also suspect that they work best on smooth papers and on lesser detailed images (solids over line art over type). The coarser the pigment, the heavier the ink film required to attain coverage.

If you are this concerned, and don’t require color shifting effects, buy a can of silver ink and mix in whatever colors you desire. Likewise, thinned silver ink (over a previous coat of varnish) may lend more “pearlescent” colors without the weight of color that printing silver ink will create.

I think you might get a sound answer from Ronald Britton Co. Ltd, here in the UK, of Regent Street Rochdale Lancashire OL12 0HQ or email They were in the past defined as small order suppliers of Wolstenholme brand products. That range was vast, metallic colours etc.
On the other hand these powders were sometimes based on
atomised aluminium, and I think I hear something about import tarriffs … . . or was I mistaken, Knowledge is however usually free.

Can you mix bigger metallic flakes in with offset or letter press varnish and will it print? Anyone tried this? So we can get more of a sparkle look instead of a flat look?

You’ve had some suggestions, but no response from anyone who has tried using the materials you mention. I would suggest that you mix some of the dust with a varnish and try it out.

If you have a concern for its effect on the rollers, just remove your form rollers and hand ink the form with a brayer. At least you will have some basic experience and experimentation under your belt which you can then share with us as to results with the various materials.

If you are using rubber rollers on a platen press, I can not imagine a scenario where the particles would damage anything, They may be difficult to clean from the rollers, however, as is gold ink when I’ve used it, but a couple washups get rid of the evidence.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press