Cheap Drying Rack

I just read the delightful thread about gummy bear rollers and thought I’d share a money-saving idea that I happened across. Living in a smallish apartment and agreeing to print my sister’s 3 color wedding invitations posed the issue of where the cards will dry between passes. While pondering this dilemma, I remembered seeing small metal slinkies in the dollar section on one of my recent jaunts to Target. I decided to purchase a few for a mere $1 a piece, join the ends together with a small binder clip, and resting on a table, they can hold several cards standing upright but not touching allowing them to dry while taking up the same amount of space as a salad plate. It’s cheap, it’s small, and it gets the job done. I hope someone out there finds this useful!

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Sheba….. that’s a pretty good idea. Since I had a Slinky on my desk whilst reading your post, it was quite easy to make the little rack as you described…. and it looks like it would work like a charm!

The only difference between your and mine is that I used a full sized Slinky, and taped the two end coild together with Scotch Tape instead of using clips. (I couldn’t find any clips)

I’m wondering why a drying rack is needed. I’ve always just stacked freshly printed sheets and haven’t had a problem. I’m curious about how many printers use some sort of drying arrangement, and why.


I like to dampen my paper slightly so I feel they need to dry so that they’re not touching. I’d love to hear what others do. Does the slinky rust?

I suppose the need for it depends partly on the kind of printing you do. If printing with a traditional or “kiss” impression then the ink can offset as it’s near or on the same plane as the paper. If printing with a deep impression the ink is sufficiently below the surfcae to avoid offset. Also, different inks dry at different rates and I imagine more exposure to the air may hasten drying time, though of course absorbtion by the paper does this as well. Another factor can be the number of sheets being printed. When I’m making pads for example the weight of the hundreds of sheets, if stacked on top of one another even in several piles, would certainly offset the ink. And the piles would need a handy place to sit in any case.

Since I use a traditional impression I built a tabletop drying rack modeled on vintage floor standing models. It not only helps prevent offset but provides a convenient and out of the way place for the prints to dry. I’ve attached some photos of my rack below. The frames lift out and can be tilted up at an angle if needed to allow more work room. I removed a few to give a better view. Sorry for the poor quality photos; my camera is an old Sony. Perhaps it’s overkill, but then I am a cabinetmaker and I like things vintage.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

image: Drying Rack 2.jpg

Drying Rack 2.jpg

image: Drying Rack 1.jpg

Drying Rack 1.jpg

Wow, went all out with the dove tails, nice work!

@portraitpainter: regular slinkies might rust but there are plastic ones that you could try.

for years i would use a rack of type cases, just pull out every other case instant drying rack. good luck dick g.

Ah, hello Dick Goodwin now *there’s* an *old* printer indeed!

I, too have used type cases for drying racks for years - especially good for drying 12x18 posters. (see:

And, for most of my hand-fed work, I simply deliver cards and tickets and such onto a staggered stack on the delivery board - on top of a piece of chipboard for easy removal, then let the job set overnight. The trick here is to stagger the stack so that no two pieces lie exactly over each other. This is the technique I have used for 40 years with never any offset of ink to card back.

And Rich’s classic racks are cabinet-maker works of art - and were common in many shops for the past 100+ years.

But the slinky idea is intriguing. I recently came upon a small drying rack made not of slinky’s, but of 1” diameter springs stretched out on a board. It’s turning out to be quite handy for drying proofs off of the Vandercook. The stronger spring holds anything from a card to a poster.

I actually plan to stock up on springs and produce these for sale from my web site - one of these days soon, I hope…

- Alan

I have these two racks which I love. I tried to think of a way to build them myself but finally just bought them. They have a large marble and you just slip the paper in and it stays without making any mark on the paper. The drying pieces are safe and out of the way. Unfortunately I don’t have a ladder high enough to reach the ceiling so I strung them on a rope sort of rigged from whatever I could find. In my ideal studio they would hang on pulleys and go up and out of the way until needed.

Here’s image that should have attached to last post.

image: dryingrack.jpg



I have no drying rack as such, but do have some stacks of interleaving I use when setoff might be an issue. I use corrugated cardboard cut to a size which fits on my delivery table on my platen press, and fill the surface of one sheet, then place another on top and fill it. When I get a “lift” (about 3” high) filled, I start with a new sheet and build from there. The stiffness of the cardboard makes it easy to handle the pile if small pieces are involved (bookmarks and business cards).

If printing on dampened stock, I simply use blotting paper in the same manner. I use and reuse the sheets (both corrugated and blotting paper) and keep them available when needed. It is important to stand the blotters on their sides to air out between uses so they totally dry out.

Hi Paul,
I’d love to learn how you are making those racks. with pictures!!