Letterpress Printing Resources

By LaurenMarie

Many of you know that I took a letterpress course back in August and then proceeded to clean up a letterpress of my own. The Vandercook SP15 is now fully restored and I was able to print my first project on it last weekend!

There was a lot of tweaking and poking about the press to get everything situated right, but fortunately I had help from the owner. It can be a little overwhelming to learn to use the press when it’s working properly, let alone trying to fix problems that crop up! But that is one of the joys and banes of working on a press.

And the best part is that we got this initial run and all the problems on tape! I still have to get the video files from my friend and edit them together, so I’ll probably share the video in a few weeks (I have to sort through several hours of tape and try to grab the nuggets for you).

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share some of the excellent letterpress resources I’ve found around the web.

Letterpress Websites

Briar Press should be your number one stop online for letterpress information. They have tons of links, a glossary and of particular use is the classified section.

In the same vein, Five Roses Press should be your first stop for a complete introduction to letterpress printing. This is a treasure trove of letterpress information.

British Letterpress is very helpful, too, and Benjamin recently wrote an article, Letterpress Printing from Scratch, for I Love Typography.

Vanderblog is more like a forum than a blog specifically for Vandercook brand press printers. Registered users can publish articles asking questions about their presses. Some very knowledgeable folks hang around there and you’re bound to find answers.

Boxcar Press Portfolio

Boxcar Press has many useful pages, including BITS (Boxcar Institute Training Series), the famous Boxcar Base for photopolymer users and a beautiful portfolio of work.

Letterpress Printing Blogs

Blogs are often the best way to find helpful and specific information on letterpress printing, and better yet, you can often get in touch directly with the owners to ask questions.

Mixing Ink

The Joie Studios blog has been one of my favorite letterpress blogs. Tina Pham’s work is gorgeous and she gives some very helpful tips and tricks. Two of my favorite posts (well, one is more of a series) is Joie Studio’s Setup Steps and then Anatomy of a Custom Letterpress Baby Show Invitation (I hope this will turn into a new series!). Check out Tina’s work on her Flickr account, too.

Testing Pantone Colors

Anemone Letterpress has quite a few little tips, too. Carrie is the printer who writes her and she has such tips as testing your Pantone colors and scoring cards. View Carrie’s work on Flickr.

A couple honorable mentions:

Adventures in Letterpress

Snap&Tumble (Flickr too!)

Letterpress Printing Stories

Heidelberg Windmill

I’ve shared before that Alex has a really awesome story about moving his Heidelberg Windmill. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it! He has tons of photos, too (which practically tell the story by themselves).

Erin from Sunlit Press talks about getting her C&P down a narrow basement staircase and she’s hoping if she ever moves she’ll be able to get it out again!

Fameorshame Marks

Paul Moxon from Fameorshame Press–and also the man behind the Vanderblog–tells an interesting story with a brief of history about press marks, kind of like the original publisher logos. It’s a neat look into some letterpress history.

Letterpress Knowledge Base

Often online groups are a good idea to join so you can have access to other printers from around the world. Three resources that have been highly recommended to me are:

PPLetterpress Yahoo! Group was started by Gerald Lange, a much respected printer and teacher living in Southern California. This group focuses on photopolymer plate techniques (hence the “PP”).

SFLetterpress Yahoo! Group is a little bit of a misnomer as anyone from around the world is welcome to join, not just printers in San Francisco, CA.

LetPress ListServ Archives are a little difficult to navigate and you need an account to access the actual archive information. Nonetheless, there is good info here.

Letterpress Printing Inspiration

Almost any press that has an online presence will have at least some of their best work in a portfolio. There are also many sites that sell letterpress-printed stationary and broadsides (posters), and they will have photos of the products.

Etsy is your handmade craft resource. Search through the “letterpress” tag for those items.

Flickr has tons of groups dedicated to all types of letterpress products, the most notable of which is simply Letterpress.
And don’t forget to check if your favorite letterpress printer has a Flickr account. I find it’s way easier to upload photos to Flickr than to update a portfolio website, so the most recent and largest collection of work can probably be found there.

Bella Figura Inspiration

Bella Figura provides a page specifically for inspiration for their clients. I’m sure you can find some there, too!

Minted is an online-only stationery store that sells “fresh, modern custom stationery and invitations.”

Hello! Lucky has a vast selection of letterpress cards, stationery and invitations.

For more awesome resources, head over to my Letterpress Printing with a Vandercook page on Squidoo.

If you want to keep up with my letterpress bookmarks, subscribe to the letterpress tag of my delicious bookmarks Every time I find something cool, I save it to my delicious account!

And of course, remember to grab the Creative Curio RSS feed to receive free updates on my letterpress work!

So what awesome letterpress resources have you found on the web? Share any inspiration, tutorials, tips & tricks, beginner’s guides or just plain fabulous letterpress-related resources (and go ahead and brag about your own adventures or portfolio!).