Question About Impression

I just finished my first print of greeting cards and I had some questions about the impression I should expect.

I am using a Kelsey 5x8 with a polymer plate and base. I know a kiss impression is preferred by most, but with this setup, is there any way to get a small amount of deboss?

I am getting absolutely no deboss/deep impression. I used so much packing that the press was very difficult to open, so I figured that was probably too much and backed off a little. Is it the polymer plate or just the small press that prevents a deep impression? Or is there a better paper or packing technique that helps with this?

Thanks for the help!

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Too large a plate may prevent a deeper impression…the total number of square inches of inked surface is what counts. Large solids are harder to print with impression than spindly text, for example.

In any case you were wise to back off on the packing. Kelsey presses aren’t known for their robust impression strength. Deeper impression is easier as the size of the press increases (or the image size decreases).

If the paper can handle it try dampening it — maybe use a plant mister with just a little moisture and let the sheet sit for a few minutes to stabilize. Depending on how thick it is you may want to spritz it on both sides. The moisture will soften the paper a little and it will also accept the ink better if you are using oil base ink. However if you are using rubber base for offset the dampening will make things worse.


You can try adding a sheet or 2 of what your stock is to the top of the plate. This will give your product something to “Sink into”. Expect a bit more ragged print edges tho.

I’d agree with Bob. Dampening slightly will allow for greater impression depth without stressing your press too much. Certainly, the area of potential impression is limited on the Kelsey. I have not seen any difference between using oil-base and rubber-base ink on dampened paper. Both seem to work well for me.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

AND, on any small tabletop press, put the heavy impression smack in the middle of the press to avoid damage (or destruction) to your pride and joy. Remember, they will NOT do any of the things that a bigger, more heavily constructed press would have some difficulty doing.