Best Letterpress Papers

The Best Papers for Letterpress Printing in the World!

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So many designers and creatives go absolutely bonkers for letterpress printing but what they don’t know is that in order to get the most out of a letterpress machine like an old-school Heidelberg windmill for example you have to feed it the right kinds of paper.

That’s why we’ve spent the last months researching and testing papers from all over the world in order to bring you the most perfectly curated set of letterpress papers let’s get creative

Howdy do internet folks, Austin with Print Peppermint here and today we’re going to take a look at our new letterpress paper sample bundle but first a quick disclaimer.

This video is not sponsored by crane & co Gmund, Fedrigoni, or any of the other paper mills mentioned in this video. These are papers that we love and buy and use on a regular basis for our own internal projects and for client projects alike.

So let’s dive right into it.

So a little background information all samples in this bundle have been trimmed to two inches by three and a half inches and have been letter pressed printed on one or two sides using Pantone’s metallic ink number 10411c. Although metallic inks are designed for coated papers with some experimentation you can get great results on uncoated stocks as well.

Just be aware that heavy darkening or desaturation of the ink color is to be expected when printed on uncoated stocks.

The first stock up on our list we call lucky day this paper is made in Italy by the Cordenons paper mill and is more commonly known as wild natural white. Wild natural is available in two thicknesses 450 grams and 850 grams per square meter. The sample in our collection is the thinner variant.

This paper contains 35 cotton and 65 elemental chlorine free chlorine-free wood-free pulp. Lucky day is FSC certified and fully recyclable.

Cordenons states that this stock is ideal for art prestigious additions, greeting cards, invitations, luxury packaging, catalogs, calendars, menus, tags, annual reports, monographs, and of course corporate stationery like business cards.

This paper is suitable for letterpress and offset printing and performs well with most finishing techniques including blind embossing, foil stamping, thermography, and silk screen printing.

The next stock we call dear hoof and it comes from the same family of papers but as you can see has a nice sandy light brown color – again the sample is shown in 450 grams per square meter.

The next stock in our bundle we call top hat this also comes from the wild natural series but as you can see is dyed black. I am a super big fan of how Pantone metallic inks look when printed on uncoated black papers like this one – classic!

Now we’re leaving Italy and flying over to the famously wet and gray United Kingdom. This paper we call the crown but it is most commonly known as Saunders Waterford.

This 100 % cotton stock is produced by the St. Cuthbert’s mill and was originally designed to be used as a watercolor paper for painting. In fact, it is one of the few stocks currently endorsed by the royal watercolor society.

This paper series is available in thicknesses ranging from 190 grams up to 638 grams the sample featured in our bundle is the 425 gram weight variant.

This stock comes in two colors white featured here which is a fairly yellow warm white and high white which as the name suggests is a brighter white.

Saunders Waterford also comes in three textures or surface treatments hp cp and rough our sample is the hp variant which has the most subtle amount of texture giving a smoother more uniform surface.

The next paper in our collection is another watercolor stock we like to call UK bell and despite the name is actually produced in Germany by the Hahnemühle paper mill.

This 600 gram stock commonly known as Leonardo comes in three different surface textures cold pressed, hot pressed, and rough. We selected the rough variant for its beautifully uneven appearance -every sheet is unique, awesome!

This mold made paper is a 100 cotton resistant to aging and has an elegant natural white color due to its thickness and uneven surface we highly recommend applying your design with either letterpress printing or foil stampingblind embossing also works flawlessly.

Now we jump back to the UK for another stock in the Saunders Waterford series this paper is 638 grams thick and features the rough surface treatment again is available in two types of white. We have chosen the regular white variant which is a warmer natural white.

The next paper we will look at is made in the USA and is arguably the most famous and most commonly used paper in the entire world when it comes to letterpress printing – yep you guessed it Crane Lettra from the crane paper mill – an amazing paper purposefully engineered exclusively for letterpress printing.

This stock is 100 cotton soft and luxurious to the touch yet stable and strong on press. The fibers are relatively uncompacted giving the paper a fluffy yet tight and smooth feel in the hand.

Crane Lettra is available in three colors from brightest to warmest including fluorescent white, pearl white, and ecru.

Free range is the fluorescent or bright white variant and relative to the other stocks in this collection is probably the brightest white you can get.

Crane Lettra comes in three thicknesses 120 grams 300 grams and 600 grams for our collection we selected the heaviest of the three

The next paper in our collection we call unicorn magic. This is the pearl white variant from the same crane letters series we just talked about this stock is identical to the previous one in every way except for the warmer natural white color.

Now we’re moving over to Germany but this time heading down south to a paper mill called Gmund located in a city of the same name – gotta love that german practicality.

I just want to pause here for a minute and say that if i had a gun to my head and I could only buy paper from one manufacturer it would be Gmund.

I have a soft spot for Fedrigoni as well, perhaps because I’m part Italian, but i find the overall collection of Gmund papers to be super dynamic, fun, and simply more innovative than competing mills.

Gmund cotton is available in five colors including white cream light gray light blue and power blue the light gray is also included in our bundle and will be reviewed later in the video. Gmund cotton comes in four thicknesses 110 gram 300 grams 600 gram and 900 gram – featured here is the 600 gram variant.

This 100 cotton stock is not only eco-friendly but guaranteed to include no animal byproducts making it the only true vegan paper in our bundle – there may be others that fit this criteria as well but Gmund is the only one who publicly makes this claim and has the certification to back it up.

Lady shoes is another stock from the Gmund factory but is a bit different in some meaningful ways. This stock is 100 % recycled made from post-consumer raw material that has seen a lot of action – thus differences in color and surface are to be expected and add to the overall character of this stock as each sheet is truly different and unique.

Gmund calls this family of papers Heidi short for Heidelberg and although it does not include cotton like the other papers in our list it was designed to be used with a letterpress machine. It’s thick but soft and performs equally well as any 100 percent cotton stock would.

Heidi comes in five colors including used white milky glassine faded gray soft craft and dull black the craft and black versions we will review a bit later in the video this stock performs wonderfully with letterpress offset and silkscreen printing do note that because the paper is recycled you will get slightly more color shift in printed inks when compared to brighter white uncoated stocks.

Next up we have der Schädel german for the skull coming again from the Gmund paper mill -this is part of their cotton paper series and shares all the same features as the classic florist paper we reviewed earlier aside from its gray color of course.

We chose the 600 gram variant for our collection and I must say the PMS metallic ink looks just stunning on this stock the detail and contrast seen here in the top of the skull just makes me tingle inside.

Jumping back to the Heidi recycled series from Gmund we have black rabbit which as you can see is the black variant of the paper series we discussed earlier.

Although Gmund calls this dull black i would say it is slightly richer in color than the other two black stocks in our letterpress paper bundle for example the one from the wild natural series.

In terms of texture though you do notice that 35 cotton content in the wild stock gives it a smoother softer feel while the Heidi is rougher with a deeper tooth – again i love the combination of black uncoated stalks with Pantone metallic inks.

Almost done guys only two more stalks to go!

This paper is called der Hund and again comes from the Gmund paper mill and is part of the Heidi recycled series. It has a weight of 530 grams and features a light brown or sandy craft color.

Compared to the other brown paper in this bundle from the wild natural series you can see that Der Hund is quite a bit lighter which will give you more contrast and better legibility if your design is using darker ink colors.

Lord help us we’ve come to the last paper in our collection and it comes to us all the way from Japan.

I’m not exactly sure the official name of this paper but it is from the Sakura paper mill and we call it nice chair. This is the densest stock we have in our letterpress bundle coming in at 700 grams per square meter.

It may be the heaviest but this does not necessarily make it the thickest a quick micrometer read shows 36 points or 0.93 millimeters. The title for aesthetically thickest letterpress paper in our bundle would go to the soloist coming in at a massive 52 points or 1.13 millimeters metric.

Well thanks to all you troopers who made it all the way to the end of the video i know not everyone finds paper as scintillating a topic as i do.

If you enjoyed what you saw today please like the video and consider subscribing for future content if you’re a designer considering using letterpress printing for your own or a client project feel free to shoot us an email at info@carrieprintpeppermint-com

If you leave us a good mailing address there’s a good chance we might mail you one of these paper bundles for free.

So that’s enough out of me today and we’ll catch you in the next one 😉

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