printing small multiples

Hi all,

I’ll be printing business cards (standard size or somewhere near it) on a vandercook.

I’ll be setting type in furniture as opposed to using linotype or polymer plates, so as far as I know, I can only print one little image of one little business card at a time, right?

I want to have as little trim loss / paper waste as possible, but I haven’t figured out how to set up the paper so I can make multiple prints out of it, mostly because there is that gap of space between where the furniture sits and then further gap between the locks and the type itself.

Should I cut the paper into pages double the size of the business card, print one, turn it 180 and print a second?
Is it better to print one, cut it, print another, cut it, print another, cut it… etc. out of one long strip that is standard biz card wide?

any advice is appreciated! Thanks =)


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Hi Andrea,

I am having a hard time understanding why you think you can’t print more than one business card at a time.

Business cards are roughly 12p x 21p. You could easily compose 6 or 8 business card formes that size, separate them with 4p furniture on the bed of your press and print them all on an A4 or letter sized sheet of paper.

You will be missing crop marks, but just need to do the measuring to get the first two cuts made, from there you should be able to trim each card down pretty easily.


I run my cards on strips, 3-1/2” wide by 8-1/2” long, i get three strips from an 8-1/2x11” piece of paper. I set my type ludlow 4-up and run them, this gives you 12 out of a sheet. If you are using hand type and don’t want to set it more than once you can print one then move the form 2” down and print it again till you have your 4 cards. Or you can print the first position and turn the stock and print on the bottom of the sheet, then move your form down 2” and print the middle of the sheet and turn the stock for the fourth card, this saves you from moving the form so much. Dick G.

I had a business card business back in the 70s. It was Letterpress and printing 8 up tow rows of 4 is best. When you go to 12 up you might have problems if the work is two or more colors.
Hard to register the colors, if the two or more color(s) card is near the bottom of the sheet.

Thank you, everyone!

That was just the kind of information I needed. I didn’t know that furniture runs in picas, I never brought a ruler to check. Now I’ll be sure to take it to the shop with me so I can make sure to pick the right size.

It will be a pest having to set type for several blocks, repeating, but the nice results are worth it.

We don’t use a Vandercook, but when we print business cards 1-up (either because we don’t want to set the additional type, don’t have duplicate cuts, or didn’t feel like paying for an 8-up photopolymer plate) we’ll cut an A4 sheet in half and print in each of the four corners.

We square and space the card in the corner being printed (we always print on the inside corner) so that when using handset type there are just two more cuts for a finished piece and so that either way the whole stack is consistent relative to the corners and edges (which is useful if a sheet gets turned or flipped within the stack and no longer aligns with the rest when cut).