Printing on Envelopes? (very very newbie)

Hello all,

I am very new to letterpress printing, haven’t even bought anything yet (will probably start with a basic Kelsey when I’m ready). I’m curious to know if it is possible to print on the front (not the flap) of envelopes in a way that prevents the impression from going through to the back?


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Sure it’s doable. Very careful makeready combined with very consistently made envelopes. The technique has been covered elsewhere (Letpress, I think, and should be findable through the archives page).

You could stuff a bit of cardboard into each envelope. Depends on your print run and tolerance for manual work. Sure wouldn’t want to do this for 1,000, but might consider it for 50.

And for certain (large) jobs, you print on the paper before the sheet is made into envelopes. I’ve heard there are a few envelope converters that will do relatively small runs, too.

“The Printer’s Guide” that the Kelsey Company published has an excellent description of how to print on envelopes. If there isn’t an on-line copy somewhere, when you get your press and are ready to do this, e-mail me and I’ll send you a scan of that portion of the booklet.

Don Black of Don Black Linecasting has reprinted a copy of the Kelsey Printer's Guide on his site. Here is the section on Envelope Printing.

Elizabeth: That is a fabulous link! Thank you!

Of course, the “Prices” section is of particular interest/amusement, I think. 100 business cards for $2.75? How times have changed…


If the image you are printing falls within the area of the flap on the reverse side, just open the flaps then close them after your print. For smaller runs, you can insert a dense card in the envelope as a blocker but that is labor intensive… make sure you take the blocker into consideration when making ready. Good luck!