What kind of plate for calligraphy??

Hello everybody,

I just had my first letterpress (C&P New Style 12x8) delivered yesterday, I am SO excited!!! I am by trade a calligrapher and plan on transposing my calligraphy onto a plate and print that. I have used photopolymer in a Vandercook at a community print shop. Sometimes it printed fine and sometimes the really thin line fell right off of the plate!

So, my question is, for the fine hairlines of calligraphy what types of plates are the best? Sometimes they will be one use (invites) and sometimes I will want to save them for future runs (marriage certificates, poems, etc). If you know the price per sq inch or any other pricing that would be fabulous!!


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I’ve found great results using photopolymer

check out owosso graphics, they make mag dies, which is all i use. Some use boxcar for poly plates and seem to have good luck with them. Dick G.

I will check out the mag dies, thanks!

don’t be afraid to price copper. Mag can oxidize over time whereas copper seems more stable. copper is more durable than mag also.

If you’re having trouble with the thin lines I would definitely try copper. It’s more expensive, but if you are keeping them to reuse, the price is worth it.
You may just want to make your lines a hair thicker to avoid the problem. If you’re scanning your calligraphy into Photoshop. take that image into illustrator and ‘trace’ it to get it into vectors, then add a stroke (I do this sometimes with really thin fonts that I know won’t print well). Even adding a 0.125 pt stroke around something will make it thick enough to hold up during platemaking/printing.