I would love to start my own stationery business (specifically greeting cards or thank you cards) and I am just confused on where to start, what materials to use, what skills/abilities I need to obtain, and if a degree to accomplish my goal is necessary? Printmaking, papermaking, and letterpress I am interested in as well, but I do not know if I need to get a degree in them or just take a few classes? The BIG question is what supplies are needed to make the cards? I say all that to ask you if you can help me by supplying me with loads of advice? Anything and everything about stationery would be great!

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What’s a degree? you should definately take a few classes, if you’re near a printing museum you should visit and see some of the equipment out there. Check out Excelsior Press website, he has lots of interesting stuff on his site, Good Luck Dick G.

Hi Scott,

There are degrees in fine arts available, but as Dick notes, they are not necessary to print stationary.

You’ll need a printing press, type and/or polymer plates, and paper (there’s more, but conceptually you need a machine to print with, something to print, and something to print on.)

As Dick notes, you can visit local museums or centers for the book arts. For example, in San Francisco we have The SF Center for the Book ( which teaches around 300 classes a year (mostly 1 or 2 day) to teach people how to print. There is even a specific class on creating your own portfolio of business stationary (exactly what you describe above).

Many urban centers now have such resources. Los Angeles has the International Printing Museum, NY has the Center for the Book Arts and others ( Which urban center are you closest to? Also, many colleges now teach continuing ed and regular coursework in printing. SF City College has two classes, an 8-Saturday course in letterpress with traditional type, and an 8 evening course in letterpress with polymer.



It sounds like you have a clear idea of some card designs already. If this is true, I would start by putting everything down on paper (or computer).

When you have your designs perfected then you can ask yourself if you want to print them yourself or have someone else to print them for you.

This way you can start on your stationery business now; no learning curve and no investment, and it will be easier to select the type of press (ie flatbed, proof, platen etc).

Also, if you decide to take some classes, you will get a lot more out of them if you already have a portfolio of designs ready to print.