Building your own press

(*disclaimer)I know, it has been a while since I’ve posted something new. I’ve been terribly busy, so sorry about that.

I want to share something with you; building your own little press from some wood and bolts. Last June I printed a birthday card with my little girl for her mom. We have printed it while she was still asleep in the morning. The card that we’ve printed was ready in 15 minutes, from beginning to end. I will explain it to you by showing you some pictures. Also, I’ve made some additional pictures of the wooden press so you can copy the idea and build one yourself. If you have any questions about this little press or about anything else for that matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the contact form on the website. 

So we start off by drawing a nice image on a piece of styrofoam. Styrofoam is used in packing material (mostly meat products) and as subfloor insulation. (check your local hardware store). It’s fairly cheap. By using a blunt pencil or any other blunt object you can draw an image into the foam. Make sure the drawing tool isn’t too sharp because you’ll tear up the foam. You just need to leave an impression in the foam.


Next, we ink the styrofoam. We’ve used Talens Block Print Ink. It’s water-based and will dry quickly. You can also wash your hands with water afterward so you don’t have to use any chemicals for cleaning up. Be careful with using chemicals and kids. Better to just leave it with water-based ink. That way mom hasn’t get to get furious on her birthday about inky clothes either.

Next thing is to put the inked piece of styrofoam on the press and put your card on top of it. What I’ve used here is 240 grams white stock mc paper, creased in the middle making it a folding card. You can get ready made cardstock from the hobby shop along with some envelopes too.

Right, now that everything is in place we start pressing. Just pull the lever and your card will be ready in seconds. You can add a piece of tissue paper on top of the card so it will be pressed firmly against the styrofoam making the card stock obtain more ink from your styrofoam.

Well, then you’re all set! Open the press, pull the foam out along with your card and peel them off each other. Leaving you and your kid with a cool custom made birthday card mom will love and keep forever. The styrofoam needs to be washed and thrown away or you can make another card on the back if you like. It’s fun, have your kid(s) mess around with it for a while on their own. The process is quite simple and they come up with all kinds of crazy ideas. My daughter has used leaves from the garden, feathers and cut out cardboard figures to ink them up and press them on cards and such. 

Alright then, the press in itself is a quite simple principle. You have to make it as sturdy as possible. Othe lino presses which are made of steel use the same principle as this one. The only difference is that this one is made mostly out of wood. I used some oak I had laying around. I didn’t use any plans, I just wanted to create a press and spent several afternoons on it making it fit and figuring this thing out. Below are some pictures of the press so you can make your own. Have a blast! 

Cheers, Coen.

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