Fundamentals of Mimeographing

Old-school lessons in mimeographing can be found back in print in the Mimeograph Revival Print Shop.

No Bad Memories

Though she suggested that she’d reinvented the wheel, Rachel Simone Weil very cleverly worked with Riso Kagaku’s Print Gocco system, then came up with workarounds to low-availability supplies, thereby (re)inventing what she calls “mimeoprinting.” In part one of a two-part series of blog posts, she explains how she came to use Riso masters in a thermal label printer. Part two details the process – essentially giving a tutorial – and compares the results with the same image printed with a Print Gocco.

Stampalofi – lo fi printmaking

Without using a mimeograph machine, Robert Marjoribanks makes low-tech prints with a hybrid screenprint/mimeo method. He’s got a gif-based tutorial at, here (unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working as of 07/2022). A nice touch is his use of rice-flour- or corn-starch-based medium to make ink out of on-hand pigments from items like coffee, red cabbage (on YouTube). He does in-person workshops in Leith (UK). More info is available here.

DIY mimeograph machine – the Tin-Can Wonder

Courtesy of Rich Dana (Obsolete Press) and Pete Balestrieri (Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture Collections at the University of Iowa), instructions for making a DIY mimeograph machine are now available to all.

But this is a lead-up to the all-in-one guide, Cheap Copies! reviewed here and available here.


Visit this blog post for detailed information on the paper used in stencils and the processes involved in making it, including videos.

Ink Pads

Visit this blog post for an ink-pad tutorial targeted toward the Heyer Lettergraph 60 but with customized options.

Supplies and Tools

A print test page provided by Mimeomania member Arnø Jürgen van Matendouce, drawn by his friend TYST.


Folks and their projects

  • Hamish Ironside, co-author of We Peaked at Paper (an oral history of zines in the UK), has published a few zines with the help of a Gestetner. Available here.
  • Plaugolt Satzwechsler prints visual poetry collections on Gestetners. Her work is widely seen in the Mimeomania group.
  • Curtis Scaglione’s Antique and Vintage Office Museum -no mimeographs, but lots of other cool stuff (thanks to Curtis for donating some digital resources for the library here).
  • Tomoko Kanzaki works with mimeography in the way it was developed in Japan. See here for the art studio page (mostly in Japanese), here for instagram, and here for info on a newly released book, “The Past and Future of Mimeograph.”
  • Fred Bednarski’s mimeograph pages – Fred’s experimenting with making inks and stencils (among other things). Like me, he’s looking for non-electric, low-tech options. Unbeknownst to me, he had the same idea to create a mimeograph repository. There must be something in the air.
  • Similar in concept (kind of) to Mimeograph Revival, but broader in scope, the dead media project has a little on mimeographs but more on other retro-tech that might be worth resuscitating.
  • Ted Munk’s site has lots of typewriter-related goodies and is the source for several of the documents presented in the library here.
  • Rich Dana’s Obsolete Press.
  • Woorilla Caught, a site dedicated to memorializing childhood in the 1960s and 70s had a post on the Roneo duplicator.

Other mimeograph write-ups, sites, and resources

  • Obsolet Mimeo Print Studio has a section devoted to manuals and advertisements (available free, just like this site) with a focus on Gestetner models. Based in Vienna, the majority of their holdings are in German. Their mission is very much in alignment with Mimeograph Revival: “Analog printing is also a sustainable technology: the machines work without electricity; the ink is soy-based and does not contain any chemicals. We also use uncoated and recycled paper. The ability to self-publish promotes creative independence and gives a a clear understanding of the process of printing. We are thus setting an example against predetermined breaking points and expiring durability. Obsolet Studio deals with questions about the obsolescence of products and, closely related to it, the obsolescence and forgetting of knowledge and manufacturing techniques.”
  • For an extremely detailed look at the development, manufacture, and distribution of Thomas Edison’s electric pen, the precursor to A. B. Dick’s mimeograph, don’t miss Bill Burns’ well-researched site, Edison’s Electric Pen.
  • Early Office Museum page on “Antique Copying Machines
  • Robert Marjoribanks (see Tutorials, below) shows his prints and projects on Instagram.
  • For a nice one-page write-up on A. B. Dick mimeograph history, visit The Made in Chicago Museum’s page, A. B. Dick Company, est. 1884.

19 replies on “Resources”

Great to find this site. I have an Edison No 1 and want to work with it. I need a source (preferably UK) of stencil paper and correct ink — cannot find either.

I don’t know of any specifically UK-based sources of stencils, but there’s a European mimeographer who has a supply of stencils and I believe he sells them. If you use facebook, please ask the Mimeomania group (and check if there’s anyone in the UK who has them): For ink, you can use the readily available Risograph ink (obtained cheaply on ebay – no matter if it’s “expired”). Best of luck!

Hello, I am working on a spirit duplicator from the early 1950’s. I cannot find any technical resources on the machine and would like to get it working for demonstration in our museum. Could someone point me in the right direction for resources and possibly where I could get duplicating fluid or a suitable substitute, as well as the right carbon paper. Thank you!

Hi Weston, the type of carbon paper you need is the transfer paper made for tattoo artists, for example,!/Spirit%C2%AE-Classic-Freehand-Transfer-Paper-100-Sheets/p/77871287/category=22446293.

I’ve forgotten which chemical works as the duplicating fluid (the original formulation is no longer made and I want to say methylated spirits, but don’t quote me on that). I suggest looking at some of the tutorials and information available on YouTube. Sam Keller has a number of instructional videos showing different machines and you might find what you’re looking for there:, (this one opens with a shot of a container of duplicating fluid; from talking with Sam, I know he’s got a stock of old supplies and materials, and I think that’s what you see in this video – but be sure to check if you can find any duplicating fluid on ebay or elsewhere. It may still be available), and in this last one he shows how to make a master

What machine do you have? I can ask around to see if anyone’s got a manual.

Hi Russell,

there is no source for new mimeograph parts. Used parts can, of course, be gained by cannibalizing other machines. Alternatively, for rubber rollers, you might look for typewriter-platen refurbishers. J.J. Short ( comes up frequently in typewriter-repair circles, so perhaps contact them to see if this is something they can do or if they have recommendations. Have you also checked your local hardware store (if you’ve got one)? They may have leads.

Hi Chad, unfortunately not. I’ve tried looking for potential suppliers in India and China – but so far I haven’t had much luck. It looks like the last US/European/Australian (etc.) mimeographs were made in the 80s.

I dont know if it would help anyone but I have several metal can gallons of dup fluid in Houston. Might be good to get it analyzed for content to be able to duplicate it. Pun intended.

Hi Dave, I’ll let folks on the fb page know too. Pretty rare stuff, no? At this point, I still know next to nothing about spirit duplicators, so that’s me maybe recalling I’d heard it’s no longer made…

I have some gallons of Bantam dup fluid, that are available.
I’m not sure how to ship them, but I won’t charge for them.
I am in california at 93421

Hi Folks!
Does anyone have a formula for Spirit Mister fluid that can be made from simple easy to get products?

Hi Russell, let me see if Kevin’s available to give details on something he’s worked out, in hopes that it’ll meet your needs. Stay tuned.

The original spirit duplicating fluid was mostly methanol. In many countries, you can still buy 99% methanol at any hardware store for a few dollars. It is, however, flammable and toxic and therefore must be used with adequate ventilation and precautions. You can also use an 80-95% solution of ethanol in any spirit duplicator, but you must apply similar precautions to its use. Even though some consider ethanol safer than methanol, it still has the potential to cause harm at those concentrations. You can also make a safe duplicating fluid using propylene glycol and distilled water. Mix 80% propylene glycol with 20% water. This solution will produce brilliant copies in a spirit duplicator, but if you have a machine that uses a wick with a gravity type system to dispense the fluid, you will require a different wick to supply adequate amounts of fluid. You can make yourself a wick that will perform well from 3/8“ or 1/4“ thick soft wool orthopaedic felt. Make sure it is a highly absorbent felt and is wool, not synthetic. If you have a pump type machine in which the fluid sprays or drips out of a pipe above the moistening roller, the original wick may still work fine. The propylene glycol based fluid is non-flammable and non-toxic; on certain papers, it may produce minor paper curl. If you notice upward paper curl, turn the stack of duplicated copies upside down on a flat surface.

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Mimeograph Revival