Litho Print: Step Three – Printing

Posted on: September 27th, 2014
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You can print with wet or dry paper. IF you are printing wet with multiple layers, you may want to pre-stretch your paper to maintain accurate registration. When paper is wet it expands. This combined with the pressure exerted from the press will cause your paper to significantly stretch (up to 2 inches in some cases). Wet paper responds better, producing a darker impression.

To print using the lithography press, lift the tympan (i.e. the piece of Plexiglass) and rest it vertically on the ledge of the press bed by the scraper bar. Put your plate on the press bed, followed by your paper. Cover with 4-6 layers of newsprint. Replace the tympan. Make sure there is a line of grease on the tympan, close to the scraper bar. Push the press bed in using the handle and lineup the top of the tympan under the scraper bar. Pull the scraper bar handle down. Lock in the rotating handle and turn. Once you’ve cleared your plate, you unlock the rotating handle, lift the scraper bar handle, pull the press bed back and lift the Plexiglas. Remove the newsprint and slowly reveal your print!


Watch for crushing and pinching hazards when engaging or pulling the press bed. Printers sometimes get their fingers, hair or scarves caught between the press bed and the frame of the press, or in the handle, so PLEASE be careful. This hasn’t happened at Waterloo, but let’s keep our safety record clean!

Although the press is large, it is delicate. If you’re not sure, ask before trying or forcing something to work. It is best to ask questions and to KNOW what you are doing.

Categorised under: Lithography