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Letterpress makeready
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Long-Distance Letterpress: Precision Makeready

with Dafi Kühne
Friday, April 21
10:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT


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Why you should take this class

After two hours with Dafi Kühne, live from his studio in Switzerland, even experienced letterpress printers will gain a new understanding of the mechanics of their cylinder press. Stop guessing and learn how to approach makeready—the process of preparing your press to print well—with intention. Once you understand the rules, you too can work with unorthodox materials in utterly original ways!

What you’ll learn

Makeready is a fine balance of plate height, pressure, and ink. Whether you print with metal type, photopolymer plates, or experimental blocks, it’s important to know what the correct range of plate height, packing, and roller height is, and how to get there with precision. 

Dafi Kühne will explain (from various camera angles and with lots of examples) what is actually happening when you adjust press packing vs. when you adjust the height of your plate. He’ll show various ways to precisely measure the height-to-paper, explain the recommended tolerances, and why you don’t want to inadvertently mess with them. He will then demonstrate how he marries precise makeready and unconventional materials in his award-winning letterpress poster work. This class will focus mainly on cylinder proof presses, but some aspects (especially block makeready) work similarly on a platen press. You’ll learn:

  • how makeready adjustments impact registration and print quality
  • how to balance cylinder packing and underlay to get the perfect impression (on a Vandercook or similar)
  • adjusting roller height 
  • using process of elimination to arrive at the proper setup and inform future troubleshooting 
  • how Dafi prints from alternative materials in his studio 

All participants will receive an illustrated handout for reference and notetaking.


This workshop consists of a demonstration and interactive Q&A, with no advance preparation or supplies necessary to participate.

Who should take this class?

This class is suited for beginning to advanced letterpress printers who wish to gain a deeper understanding of printing mechanics. To get the most out of this class, some letterpress printing experience is helpful.

Will this class be recorded?

All of PiP’s letterpress classes are live and unrecorded — we find it’s a lot more fun and interactive this way. They are closed captioned using Zoom’s Live Transcription feature; to make the most of this tool, update to the most recent version of Zoom. 

Visit our FAQ page to learn more about PiP’s class policies.

About the Instructor

Dafi Kühne
Zürich, Switzerland
Dafi Kühne is a Swiss designer, letterpress printer and graphic design educator. In his studio, babyinktwice, he uses a wild mix of analog and digital tools to produce posters for music, art, architecture, theatre and film projects, and also for products. With one main rule in his studio— “No PDF ever leaves the studio as a final product”— he prints all his posters with letterpress printing presses. His mostly typographic posters have won international awards and been in exhibitions all around the globe. Since 2016 Dafi has been running his own intense summer program in Switzerland. His designer monograph True Print was published by Lars Müller Publishers in 2016. Dafi is known for his non-traditional yet precise approaches to letterpress printing using unconventional materials, which are entertainingly documented in his educational video series, The Dafi Kühne Printing Show™. Dafi studied in the Visual Communication Department at Zürich University of the Arts and also holds a Masters of Research degree in Typeface Design from the University of Reading, UK.