Handmade paper for Letterpress

Typography is the latest trend in the field of communication. The most ancient and charming press system, after years of decline, has been “rediscovered” in the United States and in the past several years has been rapidly spreading all over the world under the name of "Letterpress".

What makes it different from other printing processes? The combination of both the charm for ancient things and the modern graphic settings makes it possible to produce simple, luxurious and impressive products:

Letterpress on our specialty handmade paper

For this new-old technique, the media is essential. The paper must be of heavy grammage, soft to the touch and very thick, to allow the die to leave a deep reverse relief effect, unobtainable with digital or lithographic press systems.

The only paper available to printers today, although of very good quality, is industrial made paper, in stark contrast with the philosophy of "Letterpress" printing, which aims to emphasize the old methods and would require handmade paper, the only one used in the golden age of typography, from the 15th to the first half of the 19th century, before offset and digital systems modernized, but also banalized, printing.

The group of Italian technicians and entrepreneurs, who created the Papelera Don Bosco within the Peruvian missions, has designed a product to go beyond this contradiction. After studies and experiments, we started the production of a specialty handmade paper for Letterpress, with these main characteristics:

Raw materials: 100% Peruvian cotton, famous for the thinness and toughness of its fiber.
Pulp preparation: Simple hot washing of the fibers to obtain our color "Natural Cotton White". Additional bleaching process (with no chlorine involved) for our color "Graphic White".
Sheet forming: Exclusively formed from the vat one sheet at a time, as shown by the deckle edges.
Grammage: The old techniques allow easy obtainability of paper of every grammage, with a weight for square meter above 1000 grams, unachievable with continuous machines.
Thickness: The techniques we developed allow us to minimize the pressing of the sheet after its formation. This way we can obtain sheets of very high thickness, ideal for a deep impression, the distinctive mark of Letterpress.
Surface: Drying happens slowly and naturally, under the action of the sun and the breeze of the Pacific Ocean. The result is a naturally coarse surface, soft to the touch, very pleasant, which doesn't cause any difficulty while printing.
Certifications: Our process and technical characteristics are certified according to the ISO norms. See the certificates
Our letterpress kits
Matching envelopes, flap with deckle edge

Our products

200 g/m2 Designed for projects where heavier grammage cannot be used. This is the paper we use to manufacture our envelopes for letterpress cards, which are thicker than usual to host high thickness cards.
400 g/m2 Recommended for business cards and other small-sized works.
600 g/m2 Perfect for wedding cards, invitations and other medium-sized stationery projects.
800 g/m2 Suggested for larger works where the grammage must be proportionate to the area.
1000 g/m2 For those looking for out-of-the-ordinary products.
Letterpress cards, 4 5/16" x 7 1/2", manually torn edges
Graphic white (top) and Natural Cotton White (bottom)
Graphic White Pure white, for projects requiring a surface of uniform and neutral color for the graphic design to stand out.
Natural White Cotton Without any bleaching, the original color of the cotton bolls is left untouched. The surface is even softer and is perfect for projects relying on the charm of cotton and natural methods. Additional feature are the rare and minute darker dots in the bulk, the fragments of the cotton seeds, further proof of the handicraft of our production.
For a complete listing of our formats and grammage, please check our catalog:
A2 sheets Whole sheets, 40.8 cm x 57 cm, (16 x 22 1/2 inches) with four deckle edges. For those who need to cut non-standard formats, or clear-cut cards for accurate registration or for painting edges.
Pre-cut cards Ready to use with clean cut edges, in a choice of grammage and formats. For each of our cards, matching envelopes are available.
Cards with hand torn edges Coming soon
Cards in a choice of grammage and formats, manually torn, for those who favor irregular edges. Matching envelopes ae available.
Envelopes In a variety of formats, realized with our 200 g/sm paper. A perfect match for color and surface to our “Letterpress” cards. Envelopes are not die-cut, but manually torn. The bottom border of horizontal flaps is obtained from one of the deckle edges, so it will have a very natural and elegant irregular line. Each envelop carries our embossed mark "Don Bosco". Orders of at least 25 items are shipped in elegant and strong handmade boxes. You can use them to store your finished printed cards, for a precious and elegant presentation of your work to your customers.

Printing advice

The best results can be achieved with the simpler and older printing presses, either with electrical motors or with manual levers or pedals. For automatic sheet-fed machines, like the Heidelberg Windmill, we suggest testing the aperture of the two pliers, before committing to the thicker versions, (e.g. 1000 g/m2) .

Cards with torn edges, especially on automatic sheet-fed machines, may cause slight variations in the placement of the printed area, due to the unevenness of the register border. In case of two or multiple color prints, we suggest to design your project in a way that minimized these imperfections.

Printing can be done with metal dies (zinc, magnesium, brass, copper...), moveable types (lead or wood) and photopolymers, with or without metallic base. Good results can be achieved with normal plates. For a deeper impression, we suggest to use very raised dies.


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