black or dark gray paper for letterpress

Hey everyone out there, I am printing wedding invitations for my daughter and she likes the idea of black or charcoal gray paper with white ink. I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion of paper for me? In the past I have mostly printed on Crane lettra.

Thanks so much for any help,

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How many copies? You could try an experiment — get some black spray shoe polish and carefully spray one side of the Lettra until it’s as dark as you want it, then print with opaque white. You’ll probably need two hits with the opaque white if you want a very white image, though one hit should be readable. If it works you have duplexed Lettra!


Arches has a good black cover stock, but it is very hard to get white ink to print exactly the way you want without multiple impressions. The real problem is that the ink needs to dry between impressions, but the paper can vary in size with the environment it is in on a daily basis making perfect registration nearly impossible.


I’ve found the Arches, although I like it better, is quite absorbent, and that black Stonehenge has a harder and less porous surface and sometimes works a little better — although there is still the probability of some environmentally inspired shape-shifting. Stonehenge also comes in a grey……..db

thanks everybody! I really appreciate your input and will get to work experimenting!

Arches looks better with foiled White, even a double hit in white ink isn’t opaque enough.

French Paper Copmany Pop Tone has Black, Muscle tone, etc,

if you really cant double hit the job you could try white thermo powder over opaque white ink . caslon used to supply a “sea foam white ” .

I believe Somerset do a black semi-cotton paper not heavyweight though-double hitting just about does it, maybe, the white doesn’t sing out, had to thicken it a bit with magnesium carbonate(ref to previous posts) with spot strong litho varnish, but tricky, very.

Black Rising Museum Board looks really, really nice when letterpress-printed. The magnesium carbonate, as mentioned above, does help in thickening up the ink, and a double-strike will give you a decent solid coating of white ink on the black Rising Museum, though it’s never going to be foil-stamp opaqueness. The downside, of course, is that fine detail (tiny print, etc) will look a bit bloated after a double strike.

I’ve used French Muscletone black (now Speckletone black — maybe they’re retiring this line?) to pretty good success with silvers and golds, but white has been so-so.

For greys, I’ve used Mohawk Loop Urban Gray and have been really pleased with it. It doesn’t punch like Lettra, but hey, what does?

I have some French Muscletone and Mohawk Urban gray in 130lb and 110lb, respectively, if you’d like me to send you some samples to experiment with.

I posted his a few months ago, it hold be helpful.