need paper that works and thats cheap!

Hello all,
I just received my first ever plate from boxcar press, however I have ink from letterpress L, and dont have 100% cotton paper. I have tried to order from online on Keldonpaper but for some reason I think they are having security issues (as per my browser) Lettra Crane sells them WAY TOO EXPENSIVE and I dont know of any store that I can just walk in and grab some. I’m in Hilliard OH, but would appreciate any advise between OH and NJ or the web. thanks a million

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Try They have many options.

I’ve picked up pads of watercolor-type paper at an art store and used that. It’s relatively inexpensive.

A lot of different papers can work, and will be affordable. It’s more a matter of what you want the final product to look like; if you are making posters, cards, etc; are you wanting to kiss the paper or pound your plate into it.

If you are wanting to print on 100% Cotton, it’s going to be more expensive than other forms of paper… I’ve had good luck with Holyoke paper (you can order online at

But I also love printing on French paper (

Dick Blick ( works well if you only want a few sheets to try out. Shipping is flat rate, done safely, and fairly quick. .

Milkandtoasts’s question is a good one.

Why is it you need to use 100% cotton paper? Many modern wood pulp papers are fine for printing and take ink better than most cotton-content of 100% cotton fiber papers.

What is it that drives so many new printers to use cotton fiber papers?

John Henry

If you have an Expedix in your area you can walk in and buy what you need. I’m with John Henry, what’s so great about 100% cotton, there are lots of great papers besides cotton. Dick G.

Just look up paper suppliers in the yellow pages. Many will be wholesale houses with minimum purchase requirements, but some, like Xpedx (see spelling here vs. Dick’s) have a walk-in retail shop to service small printers and scrapbook folks. You can snoop around and find some stock which suits your fancy and get a chance to look at and feel it which is a real advantage over the on-line sources.

Once you find something you like, you can shop around online to get the best price, or just patronize your local supplier to help keep them in business.

John H.

John, can you tell i can’t spell. Dck G.

Ifloaton, thanks for suggesting Dick Blick. I reproduce small quantities of letterpress printed 19th century ephemera pieces, and it is hard to find the very smooth pastel colors of heavy paper which was used in the 19th century. Those papers and boards were usually clay coated, with the color only in the clay coating on the surfaces, and with white paperboard underneath. It looks like some of the Dick Blick papers and boards may be a close approximation of these.

Curious also what the need is for 100% cotten paper. Paper costs are going up daily and customers have to absorb the cost . I agree with jhenry about wood pulp papers, beautiful sheets, strong colors and lower cost. Not everything we print has to be on paper of archival quality. xpedx selfserve stores are great. In my market, you can even buy 1 sheet of 8-1/2 X 11, or they will order parent for you from the their warehouse, whether you have a commercial account or not.

The 100 percent cotton sheet I suspect is a direct relative of the heavy impression school of printing. Of course I wouldn’t want to try heavy impression on a lot of wood fiber papers—but I must admit that I haven’t really gone into that end of the impression pool.

I suspect that any substrate that doesn’t beat the tar out of your type (such as seed paper) should be good, but I know I can print a lot better on some sheets than others, and the open nature of the cotton sheets doesn’t seem too inviting for anything beyond text work.

As a newbie, I would recommend something simple and cheap. It is actually a better test of printing skill to get a good impression (without punch through) on cheap 20 lb copy paper than to start out of 200 pound cotton Lettra.

I’m also interested in paper that I can use to print things to give away to friends and family. It does not have to be high cotton percentage, but should be nice to print on (ie. not 20 lb photocopy paper).

Can someone suggest names of products that are wood pulp papers? I’m having a hard time identifying these.


owesome info from everybody,,thanks a lot
I will look into the wood pulp papers,
also I will look into the self serve expedx.

fot the time been I got some of the precut letterpress L that Hobby Lobby carries., now I need a better roller for the ink because for some reason my plates end up with too much ink using the small roller from my L kit

Talk to Tom at Legion paper. Tell him Cody from it’s fancy letterpress studio sent you.

But do not think you need all cotton. Most of the time I was printing on Neenah 110# wood pulp papers. Loved them! But if you need cotton tom reps lettra.

Cotton paper shows deep impression better than tree pulp paper in my experience. On the other hand, the ink doesn’t look as consistent as it would on tree pulp.

Other than Hahnemuhle Copperplate (and a few other likewise expensive examples), I don’t know of many tree pulp papers that have the softness and feel of cotton paper. Customers who buy letterpress usually want this “luxurious” feel.

That said, while you’re learning the printing process you should probably use less expensive papers.

For those looking for tree pulp paper options for letterpress, you can find a few good ones here:

Newbie and others,
Mlkandtoast has the right idea. The current concept that letterpress could be read even if there is not ink on the sheet has become the new letterpress fashion. However it is a better test of your printing ability if you can get a good impression on lightweight stock without bruising the paper. But to each his own, I’ve printed plenty of pieces where I intentionally went for a deep impression.
Having been in the paper business for over 35 years and printing letterpress for over 30, I suggest a good printer
can get it done on all kinds of substrates. From paper bags to Tyvek. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
However if you want a great surface, a wonderful hand and a variety of choices in both color and weight use
Mohawk’s Strathmore Writing cover and pasted bristols, available through the Mohawk website, or Neenah’s Classic Crest cover available on Neenah’s website.
For a wonderful 100% cotton substitute for Lettra try Reich Paper’s Savoy.
Happy printing, Steve V.

Thanks Boxcarpress and Steve V.

I will check out your recommendations.