deckle edge paper

I’m looking into the possibility of sourcing deckle edge letterpress paper and envelopes. I am open to the idea of tearing the paper so that I can get the effect of a deckle edge (even if it’s fake!). Does anyone know of any kind of paper manufactured for letterpress that would come with deckle edge (matching) envelopes?

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A lot of art papers come with a partial deckle, but you need to learn how to tear down to a full deckle. Don’t forget that printing a deckle is usually a pain in of itself, since most systems are going to hold a register by using the edge of the paper.

For quality results, tearing down is the way to go, in my opinion. But I’m not a deckle fan.

James Beard
Vrooooom Press

Thanks! Yes, I’m trying to figure it out b/c a client has requested it. I can definitely tear down the paper and would do so after printing so that I avoid the registration issues, but she is asking about matching deckle envelopes… Seems unlikely that I’ll be able to find these to match whatever paper I use.
Thanks for the advice, though.

You may be able to get by with Crane’s. But if the budget will handle the best, you may want to look at Twinrocker’s handmade lines. They have deckled envelopes.

From the late 40s until they recently went out of business, Matz Paper made their own deckled paper. The machine I knew in the 40s and 50s was home made. It consisted of a paper press much like a padding press that held the edges of the paper tightly with +-1/4” exposure and a spinning wooden drum studded with nails that could be worked up and down the edges.
Today I would use a padding press or if unavailable 2 sticks and 2 Cee clamps and work the edges with maybe a hand held wire brush or ?. Maybe experiment with a drill motor with fine, medium or course rotary wire wheels.

For the record, instead of just tearing down to achieve a deckle, I would suggest using one of the silicone brushes made for such a thing. The effect is more natural when you use water than just tearing with an edge.

I’ve never heard of one of those brushes. Do you have a link to some information, or could you enlighten me?


I can’t find one online, but I bought one at Plaza Art supplies. It’s essentially a scoop-shaped “brush” made of silicone which holds water. You run a line of water down the edge you want to create and then pull it straight away, not pulling up, slowly and carefully.

I have had success just using regular ol’ water colour brushes though. You don’t need the silicone brush.

A friend of mine has also sanded the paper after it has dried to feather the edge into a finer deckle, but I’ve never felt the need to.

A deckle-like edge can be accomplished on many papers by creating a fold where the edge is to be deckled, stacking the sheets and wetting the entire edge with a damp sponge. Let the stack sit for a few minutes, then pull the sheets apart one-by-one, leaving a roughened edge. Not entirely the same as the deckle-edge created in papermaking, but still a nice, soft edge with a similar effect.

Arturo makes deckled papers though their envelopes are clean edged. Fabriano Medioevalis is also deckled. Keep in mind, though, that the sizes for each will be European, so not the standard A2, A6, etc.

I have a “Chandler All-Steel Trimmer.” It cuts a 12” sheet with a sort of a deckled edge. The bed of it is 12” x 6”. Using straight flap envelopes allows you to deckle the flap. These were used years back by photographers to trim photos. A few calls to some long-ago (or should I say long-gone) photo shops, or antique shops may find you one! Oh, and mine is not for sale! Good Luck!!!

Only a full-size handmade or mouldmade sheet has four true deckle edges, a machine-made sheet only has two, and a partial-sheet mouldmade may have two, one, or possibly even none, the balance being torn edges (that 22x30 sheet may have started out as a 30x44 sheet which was then torn in half, or torn again for a 15x22 sheet). For smaller formats a hand mould may have extra lines in it so the full sheet can be torn down consistantly, and that’s what you’ll see in handmade and mouldmade stationery. If anybody made letterheads and nortecards one sheet at a time, you couldn’t afford it.
Then point here being, torn edges can’t be avoided and you are lucky if you get one TRUE deckle edge to the finished piece.

Cartiere Magnani, the Italian mill that makes Arturo, also makes a line of deckled handmade cards with matching deckled envelopes called Valle dei Fiori. They’re 100% cotton with a laid finish available in white, cream and light blue. They’re not stocked in the US, but can be brought in with our shipments from Italy. If you’d like samples contact me offline.