Printing for one

I’m looking for an off-the-shelf solution to print inside 3.5 x 5 inch cards for one and done thank you notes of three to four sentences.

I have horrible handwriting and don’t like typewriters, but want something that feels homemade and makes an impression. I may graduate to photopolymer plates on 5x7 paper.

I currently use a product called RIBtype and enjoy setting type, but don’t enjoy the rubber characters.

Is a book press my best option? Without a chase, how do I keep everything together? I’m not handy. I would hope to keep it under $150.

Thank you.

Log in to reply   10 replies so far

A “book press” is not the right tool for printing, and the reasons are too many to list here. Ideally, you might want a small sign press with a gripper, but like all small presses, they are kind of costly and can be hard to find. If you can find a local private press, they might agree to teach you how to use a small floor platen, and possibly rent time on one of theirs. There is no easy answer to this.

I feel better about not easily finding an answer to this. Thank you.

You might look at . He makes a couple of small wooden presses.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

I had seen his video on the hydraulic jack press. I didn’t know about the other products. To my unexperienced eyes, it may work for what I need.

Anything I should avoid or any best practices if I go the book press route?


Sounds like you’re up for some do it yourself fun. Why not look up a local Briarpress member and see if they will teach you to print on their own press. You never know at some point you might actually want to get involved and buy a real press. Let us all know where you are located and maybe someone will chime in.

This is how it begins huh? You all are sneaky. I’m not handy and I can’t afford the space or cash to turn this into a thing.

This group has been an amazing resource though. I see local classes and am reluctant because I have so many questions and I know I can’t dominate a group with my off-topic questions when a bunch people are trying to make Valentine’s Day cards or something.

Rib Tip, where are you located? You may find someone nearby who’s OK with one-on-one practice.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Rib Tip- your local library probably has books about linoleum block printing. Many of those books have directions for building a printing setup that might fit your needs. Also you might attend a Waysgoose or other letterpress event. You can learn lots at those events.

A book press is a bindery apparatus. It is used to press the pages of a book together so it can be bound and covered. It has nothing to do with printing.

You CAN find small affordable presses, but they are few and far between. Generally, they will be found in the back rooms of old print shops where they have been since the original operator died forty years earlier and his widow/son/daughter wants it gone NOW.

Had you considered looking for a mimeograph machine? You can use a typewriter for “typesetting”. Ink is still available and I think you can even find stencils. If you go this route, make sure it actually is a mimeo machine and not an old spirit duplicator. I don’t know how many quizzes I took on paper reeking of carbon tet. It’s a wonder I didn’t get cancer at age 20.

In passing, George Bernard Shaw had such things printed postcard size. There were some still to be seen i.e. remaining stock at his house in Ayot St Lawrence (UK) in the 1960s, maybe still.