I’m new & I need your advice

Hello, I’m really interested in the world of letterpress. I’m planning to start my small studio at home.

I was thinking i would start by creating greeting cards, etc,

I’m not sure which equipment i need to invest in as a start.

what type of letterpress do you recommend & what other machines i need to have. (machine that created the plates, machine that cuts the paper?)

I want to know the approximate total amount i need to invest in Please advise

Thank you so much in advance!

Log in to reply   6 replies so far

Before you spend money; learn to print.
Say where you are and seek a teacher.
I teach and am on California.


i emailed you. check your spam or trash. there is soooooo much equipment you could buy. I agree, get together with some peeps in a print shop and figure out what you will need to get started. outsource at first what you can. get good at this in stages.

I think, I wouldn’t worry about not knowing much about printing…. yet. Besides, it’s not like you can walk into a Wallmart and get yourself one today and start fiddling with it… You can learn once you get a press…

Make sure you have a solid sets of illustrations for your greeting cards. Well, unless you’re doing greeting cards with just words. I don’t have much to offer you there.

I suppose you’d need to have enough understanding on what sort of a beast this letterpress thing is so you can design your work appropriately to its beauty and limitations.

Find a cheapest, fastest and best way (hiring out or making your own) to make your plates. There are always a few in a town who would make you dirt cheap BUT good plates - cash exchanged behind bushes (my experience)… You can always carve your own wood/lino plates, too…

Get a decent production quality platen press with a motor… I just can’t imagine making a reasonable profit using a proof press or a hand driven platen press to do greeting cards?? But this, I may be wrong… Anyone? Don’t have to go for fancy brand named ones. Germans are not always right. Don’t be afraid to mess around and customize the press for your needs - if you are short, build a platform, etc.

Oh, you will also need a decent paper cutter.

Figure out the paper source. The size of the paper cutter is determined by what size paper you are going to buy from the paper source… (or in our case, a 6,500 LBS 38” guillotine cutter that was on sale near by… WHY!?! WHY!? I asked. But it’s fun now that it’s working - but I digress…)

Find and befriend a local letterpress OTAKU or two… There are always a few near you and they are always really really friendly (well, except for one near me - he’s crusty as…..). Don’t mind that they may be really really pale from being away from the sun all the time, fiddling with their presses and posting their comments here at 2AM in the morning…

Then, call Fritz and buy a lot of stuff from him. He has a lot of stuff you can buy!

Then, call Fritz and buy a lot of stuff from him. He has a lot of stuff you can buy!
Did I say that already?

Also, get a proper base to go with it. If you choose metal backed plates, then a bunting base. If you go with the friendliest of all BoxCar plates, then of course their base. Don’t bother with the fridge magnet *magnet* bases…. First two will cost as much as a press, may be…

Once you get the press, understand how it works. How IT works.

One way to learn how it works is by cleaning it “so well” you can almost die-cut raviolis with it. It could be of a meatless vegetarian variety. That’s up to you.

Ask a ton of questions here about it. Folks here are really REALLY nice. Ignore political types. Political Types… as in political fonts??? LOL

Exhibit at the NYC National Stationery Show and have an outlandish booth with 100 bitchin’ designs and woo reps to sell your stuff. “Reps Wanted” is the greatest sign you could post.

Get connected with all the established letterpress-haus owners there.

Understand the hazard of letterpress… I would avoid items that is or have come in contact with lead oxides. Funky solvents, avoid them too. Understand the imminent danger of getting your limbs squished by OSHA-highly-un-approved industrial equipments. Kid you not, I once saw a guy with a silver dollar sized end digit on his middle finger… It got squished by a press…. Permanently… (at the Stationery Show one year)… You will hear things like “oh I love the soft chew of excess slugs out of my Linotype Model 31, for 42 years, and look, I’m fine!”… But he won’t be saying it when he can’t anymore… Don’t be paranoid about it, sure. Our skin is a pretty good organ and protects us well. But science is there to warn you.

Speaking of hazards of letterpress, you should learn to move your own press, at least w/in your own premise(s).

Dob’t forget to buy boxes of Kirkland Signature Nitrile Exam Gloves and GoJo hand cleanser.

The following year, rinse and repeat….

Don’t forget to buy stuff from Fritz.

You can get blank cards pre-cut and folded from https://flurrypaper.com/ in various sizes. I’ve used them to make single-signature books.

Boxcarpress.com is a source for both the Boxcar base and photopolymer plates in various specifications.

Buying the initial stock isn’t all that expensive, but buying the press and the rest of the stuff you may need can be.

Marketing is the biggest headache. You can print the best cards in the world, but if you can’t sell them, you might as well not print them in the first place. My first printed “book” sold enough copies to break even and I still have some left. I did this with a hand-operated table-top platen press.

I am really just a hobbyist, but I’d say obtain a press and then print what you want. Read all you can on the subject and then practice. Business cards are a nice option for practice… everyone can use them, so you can usually find someone who will take them from you.

Gosh, three plugs for me in taros post. I appreciate it. But seriously, we are still here supplying what is available. Right now I’m watching the live feed from CODEX in New York. It is very interesting. Fritz

Thankssss ALL for your reply!


unfortunately, we don’t have any classes for letterpress in my country. but I’m watching online videos


I’ll check it out! thanks : )


LOL! XD thanks for your reply, you motivated me to start tbh!
I’m thinking to get ADANA 8x5 now


yes i though of ready cards too. I’ll check the resources available.