Paper for letter pressing then laser/inkjet?

Hi! I’m a total novice in this realm, and am hoping for some advice on a project I’m getting off the ground. Basically, I’ll be writing custom poems, nicely printed. The idea is to get a batch of letterpress templates made (nice designs ringing the edges of 8-1/2 x 11 sheets). Then, the individual poems will be printed onto those letterpresses templates.

The woman who will be doing the letter pressing usually uses Crane’s Lettra, but I’ve been reading that that might not take to laser/inkjet too well. I want the final product to be as classy as possible, so does anyone know of a paper that will look nice letterpressed but will also take printer ink well (I still haven’t nailed down a best printing method, so any advice along with the paper itself will be fully welcomed).

Thanks so much for any insight and ideas!

Log in to reply   9 replies so far

Oops, comment made to this topic when intended for another.

Reich Savoy, is 100% cotton, it looks great, prints great, feels great and and is digital compatible.
check out

Reich is great for digital printing.

Technique/order of operations wise, you may find some issues with running the work in the order of medium you’re looking at. Sometimes hitting stocks a bit hard with letterpress can create a bit of a buckle or bow, and the thicker stocks out there tend to exacerbate this tendency when hit pretty hard.

Your inkjet may also have trouble with certain calipers of paper- depending upon the model you are using. For instance, Epson’s 7880 was designed to print up to 1.5 mm- which is essentially exactly one thousandth less than the thickness/caliper of #220 lettra.

Have you inkjet printed onto alternative papers before, and especially thicker stocks? There are some materials handling concerns to consider with regard to the border the stock will need at the head and tail, in order to inkjet print onto it- and the height of the nozzles/platen gap will have to be carefully set as well, which will really be determined by the stock you choose.

Reich Savoy, as mentioned above, would be a good choice. At .030” and .040” thick calipers it is plenty thick, the .040” (40 pt) caliper equates 1.016mm- which is below the Epson thickness I mentioned above and should do just fine.
It’s also less expensive than lettra, by quite a margin. And the people who make it are super nice :-)

Good luck!

Steve and HavenPress, thanks so much! That recommendation is great — it looks like a high-quality yet versatile paper. From what I’m finding, it looks like ink jet would be the choice over laser printing to get a higher-quality look/product. Would you agree?

I am looking at my paper sample of Crane’s Lettra Digital.
90lb Cover Ecru White, Fluorescent White and Pearl White.
If you like the Crane’s Lettra Brand it’s available, NEW digital weight. My Xerox work center will run the 140lb.

I find the lazer printing sits on the surface of the paper, looks very sharp….ink jet can be within the paper a bit…using archival inkjet inks?

Inkjet- higher resolution. Unless you have a great piece of equipment, which you can time the head for max dry time and set the ink to a higher percentage of output, it’s going to dry really flat and look sort of faded.
Most inkjet papers have a coating on the surface that dries the ink a bit quicker and keeps it from ‘soaking in’ to the paper fibers- instead it ‘soaks in’ to the coating and stays in a clear layer, above the fibers. That’s why inkjet looks so deep, dense, dark, almost painted, on coated stocks designed for inkjet.

Switch to the typical cotton rag, and you’re looking at a sponge that is going to absorb even the pigments and leave a thinner layer on the top that looks stained, rather than painted.

Laser- lower res, but the plastic particles will stay on the top surface. If you have access to a really good laser and it is able to feed thick stock through, you’ll be good. But most lasers also have to heat the stock from both sides in order to get the particles to fuse, or they will stick to the carrier rollers and drive rollers, rather than the paper stock. So you end up with lots of problems with laser, too, and the thick stock like Reich is not going to feed through that as easily, even on a card stock setting.

You need to do more research into different printers, talk to the folks conducting the work on both ends, don’t settle for “I think it will work” before actually having the work done and spending money on the paper, plates, setting, etc., without a way to do the work after. You also might need to put these folks together. Instead of tapping a random internet knowledge community (we like to help!), you should be relying on the expertise (and experience) of the people who are actually doing the job. (What else are you paying them for?)

What I don’t get is why you don’t just can a whole stack of the borders, for example- print everything you want from the border run- and then just have a second plate set up for each poem that needs to be run, as a photopolymer plate for example. Ink the press back up, run the second color.

It sounds like a 2 color job with one common element (the border, it’s on everything) and one ‘variable’ element (the poetry, it’s going to change every now and then).

Unless you’re doing 1 print of each poem, single poems, it would make sense to order some plates and make multiple impressions.

Here is another thought. If it is going to be using inkjet (Haven’s comments are spot on), and a very heavy cover is not critical to you, MOAB paper makes some incredible inkjet 100% cotton sheets in some very nice weights. You may want to get some samples from them. Inkjet photos on this stock are absolutely gorgeous!

Steve, thanks for the tip! I’ll look into MOAB. Haven, I really appreciate you breaking this down. The reason I’m not just having plates made for the poems is that they’re one-offs. Each of the poems will be a single custom/original. That’s why I’m trying to figure out this method (letterpress for the template/border and a more cost effective option for each poem). But I’m getting close! Thanks everybody for being so helpful! The other reason I’m in a bit of a quandary is I’m moving from Portland to Cincinnati in a few weeks. I’ve already committed to a letterpress in Portland, but will ned to get the printing done in Cincy. Thus, I need to select a paper before I get get there and figure out how/where to print these. Anybody know a good print shop in Cincy? Otherwise I may just invest in a printer. Thanks again, everybody!