How to Print With Gold Ink

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Gold ink is not actually made from flecks of gold, but from bronze flecks in an oil varnish, but is still called gold ink because it resembles gold. The same is also true of silver ink, which is actually made from aluminum flecks. Gold foil stamping is the preferred method for printing actual gold onto paper and leather, but that is not always cost effective. Gold ink can be very effective and, if you take certain measures, your very first run can be a success.

  • Proof the content of your brochures before you print anything with the gold metallic ink. Print samples of the brochures without the metallic ink to ensure that all of the other colors look the way they should and all of the text is correct.

  • Have an expert set your rollers. You might feel like whoever normally sets the rollers on the printing press should be able to do it fine, but the first time you print with gold ink, have someone else do it first to ensure your first run goes smoothly and you do not have a bad experience. Test the rollers to make sure nothing is bleeding or the pressure is not pushing the ink out from the design.

  • Mix a very small quantity of the gold ink so it is very thin and runs off the palette knife. You do not want it thick, or it can stick unevenly and you might have to do the run again.

  • Wash the rollers when the ink starts to dry and get thick on the rollers or starts to cause poor quality work, usually every two hours. Have the expert set the rollers again and start a fresh batch of gold printing from the run.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are running the paper through twice to get a brighter effect, use a light amount of gold ink on the first run and slightly more the second time. Allow the sheets to dry overnight before the second run.
  • Traditionally coated paper gives the best effect for gold ink. Experiment with slightly thicker gold ink on uncoated paper. Get some experience printing with gold ink on coated paper first and allow uncoated sheets to dry overnight before any further work is done on the run that printing.
  • Rough textured papers allow more gold ink to rub off than smooth or glossy sheets do. Consider varnishing textured sheets to keep the ruboff problems to a minimum.
  • Use specialized gold inks from your ink manufacturer for papers that might need to go through a laser printer, like letterhead. Regular gold ink might be affected by the heat from a laser printer, but your ink manufacturer can provide you with gold ink that is less heat sensitive.

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