Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Help with Roller Printing


I have been toying with the idea of roller printing. I have done some
research only to find many different methods of accomplishing the
same thing. I could use some advise on the best method/s of roller
printing. I have tried sandwiching my silver sheet and the print
material between two sheets of brass. This has proven to be very
difficult as it takes several passes to even mark the surface of the
silver and the sandwich always wants to shift at each pass. I look
forward to your replies as this seems to be the largest pool of
jewelry knowledge available to non-professionals.

Arizona, USA
Home of the Grand Canyon and The Superstitions

P.S. I think That Hanuman and all you Pros should be commended for
making yourselves available for comments
and advice to everyone interested in jewelry.

Hi Tom. If you’re using sterling silver then first anneal it fully.
What are you printing onto the stg? I print fabric and paper and
bronze mesh etc without the extra brass sheets. Try that, and use a
higher roller pressure.

It’s hard I find to guess the right pressure setting. So I always
roll a sample quarter inch first, take it out and see how it went. If
the printing is too light, crank the roller pressure up a little
more. If it looks right, do the rest of the sheet.

B r i a n A d a m
www adam
co nz

Tom, The first question that pops into my mind is the hardness of the
silver sheet. Much sheet is shipped half-hard, you probably need
to anneal it to dead soft. And don’t be afraid to apply some
pressure with the rollers.


Hi Tom, Make sure your sheet is annealed so that it is more
"receptive" to the imprinting. I do it exactly as you describe,
between two sheets of brass. The materials I’ve used (steel wool,
coarse sandpaper, etc.) don’t really cause a problem if they shift,
but I can’t say I’ve had to run the sandwich through more than once
or twice.

Hope this helps!

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Tom, I generally use paper to roller print my pieces. What sort of
design are you trying to achieve?

Deb Karash

I roller print using the following method:

1). Set the sheet to be printed between the rollers and tighten the
rollers until they meet the sheet.

  1. Make a “sandwich” of the sheet, placing the printing material on
    top, and a paper towel folded in eighths on the bottom.

  2. Put the sandwich through the rolling mill.

Works like a charm. The only time that you would need to include a
sheet of brass is for protection if you are using a printing
material which is hard enough to damage your rollers.
Lee Einer

Hi Tom,

Another thing to try, along with using annealed metal, are some
’pusher pads’. These are nothing more than the good old brown paper
towels ( the ones without patterns). Put several thickness’ of paper
towel next to the metal on the side opposite the patterning material.
The pusher pads cause the pattern to be pushed deeper into the metal.
Varying the number of layers of paper can give different results.


It was my understanding that you get a crisper image if you don’t
anneal the silver first. What kind of rolling mill are you using? I
bought a minimill with no reduction gear and had to exchange it for
a larger one because I couldn’t get it to make a deep enough
impression. The minimill with the reduction gear works just fine.
You mention that you need to make several passes. You should only
have to make one pass, but you may have to use a bit of strength to
roll the metal through.


The materials I am trying to imprint with are feathers, aluminum foil
and dried leaves. From all the replies I figure the leaves and
aluminum foil are out but I have seen the results of using wing and
tail feathers. I have tried feathers that I have found, I really don’t
rob birds of their feathers. Besides I am not as fast as I used to
be. ;-> I would like to say “Thank You” to all who have given advice,
this is truly a Great Group of People.

Tom Timms
Arizona USA
Where 104 deg. came early this year.

I have a small (mini mill) Dursten? It does have a reduction gear but
by all the replies it is not the mill it my lack of knowledge.

Tom Timms
Arizona USA

I have taken leaves and flowers, sprayed them with a fixative and
then rolled successfully. Gives them just enough stability to
imprint. Teresa

The materials I am trying to imprint with are feathers,

Hi, Tom – I have had great luck printing feathers. I use fully
annealed metal (silver, copper or red brass) and use sturdy
feathers. The best feather source is my little hobby shop that
serves the YMCA “Indian Guides” program. The feathers are about
8"-9" long and come in colors. (I think they are turkey feathers). I
choose a section about 2" down from the top of the feather and cut
a feather shape the size I want. Sometimes I seperate the the
feather to leave small gaps in the finished print. The only other
hint I can give you is to use a hardened yellow brass back-up sheet
when you print. Then all the printing will go to the annealed one.
(I don’t put organics next to my roller.) Good luck!!! Deb