Christmas/Chanukah cards

Noel and Shalom

Annual invitation to those of you who are creative and print your Christmas/Chanukah cards.

Share your artistry (and brag a bit).
Those of us who are not artistic appreciate viewing your examples of the craft.


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Happy Holidays, Inky!

Attached is this year’s card printed on my Adana Eight Five. Catchwords are from Moore Wood Type. The printing blocks and 4 line Gothic wood type were picked up on eBay.

Our name is in in 22pt Whiley Bronze Devon type from Larry Lionetti. (Boy, if you want a deep impression, that’s the stuff to use!)

Merry Christmas to all!

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You win first prize (for being first in).
Thank you for sharing.
Let’s hope it starts the flood.


I will post mine when I am finished…

So far I have done the first two (of three) runs.

We have the tint block (gold ink) for the Massey Initial done, then the main text in black… I still have to do the Massey Initial in Red.

The main text was pushing my 4x6 press to its limits. The block of type was packed into the chase without room for a quoin in one direction…

The biggest issue I have is the potential copyright issue… I am using a verse by Robert Frost which might be out of copyright. It was first printed in a magazine before it was printed in a book. He made the copyright renewal date for the book, but too late for the magazine copy. According to his estate they still have copyright but I am not aware that that has been tested in the courts. (My reading of the law is that when he failed to renew copyright within the statutory period from first publication it fell into the public domain and that cannot be reversed. But I am not a lawyer).

So I finished it. 36pt Massey 2 colour initials with Tint Block from Skyline, Goudy Old Style in 2 sizes, 12pt, 18pt and 18pt italics all from Pat Reagh. Red and Gold inks from NA Graphics and the black is from Van Son.

Next time I will not try to push the limits of what my little press can do… Maybe.

The card itself is 5x7, the press is a C+M Caxton 4x6.

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Zwack - very nice. However, since fine typography, and fine typographers, are almost completely obsolete these days. People nowadays have to rely on their ‘eye’ more than any set rules anymore. And….you need to be very very picky. You have obviously used standard word spacing between the “y” and the “W” in your headline.

That sticks out like a sore thumb because you could “park a truck” between those words simply because of the “air” created by their shapes. A much thinner space (or in some cases no space, would have served you better.

And, since I’ve broached the subject, almost all of your finer printers used to use 4-to-the-em word spacing, not the 3-to-the-em which seems to be more of the standard nowadays.

Just some typographic tidbits for anyone that actually might care.


Thanks for the tips Rick. While this is just a hobby, I do care.

In my case I need to not print such large blocks of text on a small press, and take more proofs.

I should probably try taking some galley proofs in future. Having to clean up this little press after taking a proof seems like a pain.

One thing my dad taught me back in my teens was to take a proof, sit it somewhere you will see it on and off and then leave it for a few days. You will see everything that is wrong with it. This is only the fourth thing I have printed since my wife got me a press. I am still relearning things I have forgotten int the last 30 years (ahem).

I do need to get more spacing sizes as I am seriously lacking in those.


To give you a bit of positive feedback to add to Rick’s good comments, I do like the way you indented the second and third lines of the text where they butted against the initial cap block. That is a nicety some do not use these days. I have seen some initials in magazines placed in a space with the first line spaced the same as the second and third, so that the initial word is broken up inordinately.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

My fold over business size of handout this year.

Merry Christmas

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2017 marked the 80th anniversary of the year my dad and his childhood friend established The Norlu Press. To remember them, I designed a greeting card using only metal types and printed the cards on the same circa 1863 Gordon Jobber that my dad used when he was a teenage printer in Fairport, New York.

The front panel, from top to bottom, is composed from:
ATF 48pt Decorator No. 256 and 257 holly/bells and berries in green and red inks.
Boston Type Foundry circa 1882 60pt Facade Condensed in red ink.
14pt Greeting Monotone in black ink.
Bauer Type Foundry circa 1935 24pt Trafton script in black ink
Unknown (probably ATF) Christmas wreath decorator in green ink.

Stock is an A1 65# Stardream Crystal Cover by Cordenons and impression is kiss. All inks are from Southern Ink Co.

Photos show the front panel, back panel, and the types locked up for the single-color guide prints that I used to facilitate the multicolor stone and presswork.

Best holiday wishes to all in the letterpress community from The Norlu Press!
Jim DiRisio
Fayetteville, NC

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This is the first print run I have ever done. I picked up my press in March and finally got it running. Needed to be simple as I don’t have much type yet. Done a 5” x7” card.


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For everyone - as to Zwack’s comment about the pain of inking and cleaning up just to pull a proof - for four decades I have simply inserted a piece of carbon paper over my form and pulled an inkless proof.

No wash-up or mess!!!!! It is not perfect, but it does produce a readable proof to check layout, spacing, broken type, wrong fonts, typos, etc.

There are DIFFERENT types of carbon paper. Some is excellent and can be used over and over until worn out. Some barely make a good impression the first time. I have collected carbon papers wherever I have found them over the years.


Try it - you will like it!


Another quick-and-dirty way to get a proof is to use a small stamp pad. Just rub the pad all over the form and then pull the proof. It’s not great quality, but it’s generally good enough to do the checks Rick describes.


Mine is set, I need to print the photo that is going onto it. Looking at these, I want a bigger press.
These look amazing, especially to us beginners.
Happy Holidays folks!

I’ve been printing letterpress Christmas cards for almost fifty years, having started on a 3x5 Kelsey Excelsior and now printing on a C&P Pilot. When my brother Greg was still alive he – a professional artist - designed some beautiful cards and carved or engraved some outstanding visuals. I’m reduced to type; the enclosed card is based on a mediaeval Gregorian chant. Setting and printing the chant was a true challenge since I have no Gregorian Chant fonts (they existed at one time – I have seen them at the Plantin Museum in Amsterdam). I had to print the red four-line staff first and then spent a few quiet afternoons setting the “square notes” to overprint the staves. The text is from a medieval Christmas poem. I will be including an insert to the card with the following text:

The poem “A solis ortus cardine,” written in the fifth century by Celius Sedulius, is an abecedarius, that is, each of its twenty-three verses begins with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. The hymn recounts the life of Christ and is traditionally sung at the Office of Lauds during the Christmas season. Reproduced here are three verses telling of Christ’s nativity, the angelic annunciation of His birth, and the visit of the magi. The text is based on the version found in a fifteenth-century Antiphonary from the Dominican Abbey of St. Catherine at St. Gall in Switzerland.

From the hinge of the rising sun
To the farthest edge of the earth,
Let us sing to Christ our Lord
Born of the Virgin Mary.

The heavenly choir rejoiced
And the angels sang of God’s coming,
To the shepherds they did reveal
The Shepherd and Creator of all things.

The magi travelled towards the star
Which led them on their journey.
And seeking the Light with light,
Their gifts proclaimed him God.

- Denis at the Loedengreg Press.
P.S. Many thanks to Rick for the large initials!

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Wonderful and inspirational work, thank you very much for showing us!

Here’s my card for the year - two color woodcut, printed on recycled paper.
or not, having trouble uploading even with no spaces and symbols - is there a size limit?

Of course, I meant to say “the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp” (not Amsterdam!)…

@bowerbox: there is a size limit, I’d love to see the card; perhaps you can size it down ?

Trying again- 2 color woodcut!

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bowerbox, Looks great! Did you do the woodcut? Beautifully executed!

dcrnkovic, Yes indeed! Most of my work lately is woodcuts, and printing them on the Vandercook makes it a lot easier to get perfect registration when carving multiple colors :)
Thank you! And thanks to everyone sharing their cards, it’s nice to see everyone’s work!

Thank you to everyone for your great work!
Attached is my effort for this year. The background is a linocut—from my Vandercook No. 0 proofing press. The type layer was printed on my Golding Official No. 6. Fonts used are Palatino, Bernhard Gothic Medium, and News Gothic Condensed.
Best wishes to all!

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My cards so far. The paper if FOMA fiber base pearl finish photo paper. I contact printed from a 4x5 negative. I have another colour to do. Bad news, the red never dried on the photo paper even after heating, and I had to go to black oil base.

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The first time I have had enough manicules to try this:

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My card for this year. Set in 42 pt Augustea Inline and 24 pt Augustea.

View a larger image here:


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Merry Christmas to all.
I am the instigator of this thread.

Thanks to all who have shared your work. Even if you are a little late in getting up your current work, post it up. We will enjoy it.

Get to work on next years design and get it printed early. The invitation will go up about Thanksgiving Day.

Now I wish you a Happy New Printing Year.