Christmas Cards (limited edition, for sale)

As my first ‘real’ project I decided to print some Christmas cards using a lovely wooden block I got recently of a Christmas tree.

Once I was set up and ready to go I printed rather more than I’d planned…

Here they are:

Square 14cm x 14cm (approx)
Rectangular 12cm x 17cm (approx)

Printed on recycled card.

There about 30 sets available (in total) so if you are quick they can be yours for £11 for a mixed pack of 4 (one of each colour) with white (recycled) envelopes (P&P included, UK only). They will be hand numbered on the back by me.

If you’d like something really quite unique then get in by emailing me at:

theletterpresslab AT gmail DOT com

PS here is the print block before I started printing

Handblocked notebook

Todays’ work in progress is a one off recipe ideas book for a very good friend who has asked for some tips.

Rather than send an email I though a personal notebook would be nice and would allow me to use some of by food related letterpress blocks.

Because its a one off  I’m hand blocking which is very slow but easier than setting up the Adana.

I’m pleased with its slight quirkiness so far.

Gold ink

In my various letterpress adventures I’ve been trying out some different inks and paper combinations.

I have a ‘standard’ forme I use for testing the papers and inks…which I’m sure you’ll see popping up as I experiment.

One of the inks I’ve really liked so far is this metallic mid gold

Inked rollers

Inking the forme

Ink on glass

Inked forme ready to print

Print operators view

Final result (printed twice on same card)

It’s particularly good on red paper

Attempting a birthday card

For project 2 I decided to try to print a birthday card for my Dad.

I wanted a mixture of text and a picture. So off I went and rummaged through the bits I had and spent ages played with them and trying to set them in the forme.

What I realised was that something relatively simple is not as easy as it looks if there is lots of space to be carefully filled and the forme must made nicely tight so nothing wobbles when you print.

After lots of testing and packing the print bed and so on I got a few acceptable prints.


It has rather a school project quality I feel.

It was hard to get a good print impression from both the font and the countryside scene.

I think my Dad liked it, he said he did.

forme = a technical term for the composition of text and any pictures laid out ready to print with spacing material and locked tight in a frame specific to the print press being used (the frame being known as a chase)


ink: Light Green (Hawthorn Printmaker Supplies Stay Open Ink)

paper: cotton rag pre folded square card with envelopes 210gsm medium texture (Khadi Papers)

First ‘proper’ letterpress project

For my first real project I decided to use a nice big block so it would be relatively easy to set up the forme and lock the block in the chase (see look technical terms I didn’t know existed only a few months ago).

I decided to try it across a variety of papers I already had to hand and as I’d only got one ink (Paynes Grey), well I used that.

And goodness did I learn a lot.

Like its not as easy to pad the bed as I thought (and get an even impression). Old blocks are unlikely to give you the sought after impression in the paper. Smooth paper gives a better print (than textured) if the block is detailed like this one. And ink takes an age to dry on modern shiny paper takes. And its really easy to get ink everywhere.

All of which I’m sure an experienced letterpress person could have told me in five minutes, but hey sometimes its fun finding out for yourself.

25 May: PS – just to be clear the block is a vintage one I bought not one I designed, I’m not that advanced yet :(

addendum (8/6/11):

ink colour: Paynes Grey

ink make: Stay Open by Hawthorn Printmakers Supplies

paper: Concord index card 6 x 4