My First Letterpress Projectfeatured

"Give" Letterpress Print

“Give Freely” of your time, talent, love, friendship and resources. We all have so many gifts to share. 

I mentioned in my screen printing post from Monday that I would be learning letterpress printing today. I took a guided studio session with Lee from Signal Return in Detroit’s Eastern Market today and I couldn’t be happier with the results. It is printed in two colors on 110# Crane’s Letra Fluorescent White Paper, a beautiful bright white paper with a soft but hearty texture.

The print is based on this hand lettering drawing I did in my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project.

Give Sketch in Sketchbook

I resized this picture to fit onto an 8″x10″ format then printed it out and traced the print to produce this artwork:


I took a photo on my phone then emailed it to my laptop in order to bring it into Illustrator to digitize and edit in the computer. I wasn’t happy with my “freely” so I drew a couple more options then did the same with those.


After playing around with sizing, color and adding a few more random flowers scattered about I was happy with what I came up with. I sent my file to Boxcar Press to have polymer plates made of my design.

Lee was awesome at guiding me through all the steps of the process. It was hands on learning which is the way I learn and retain information best. I was taught everything from mixing up ink to match the Pantone colors I’d selected to setting up the plate on the press and troubleshooting all the little particulars to match what my vision was for the final project. The press we were able to use today was a big one so I was moving around a lot as I operated it. Letterpress is a person-powered operation—it was so fun but there is a lot to remember and it took some coordination.


I brought one print home for now. The ink takes 24 hours to dry completely so they will be hanging out here until they can be trimmed down to 8″x10″.

Give Prints on Drying Rack

I am so thrilled with the results and so pleased that I was able to achieve what I wanted in my head. It is so pretty and tactile and just so, so amazing to see an idea come to life successfully. I wish these photos captured the indentation of the printing into the paper. I think letterpress printing looks and feels just so beautiful.

I will list these for sale when I have them all in my possession but I just couldn’t wait to share. Please consider purchasing one so I can continue to explore this amazing craft and produce more art prints using letterpress—I can’t wait to come up with my next design and get back in the shop! If you are in downtown Detroit, stop into the shop and take a look around. They have a beautiful selection of art prints, stationary and other letterpress gifts and you can see the shop and learn more about it from all of the kind people I met today.

Give Image 2


About the author

Jennifer Stefanek

Hello, I'm Jen. I am a forty-something closeted artist and designer. This blog is a place for me to chronicle creative projects big and small in an effort to re-ignite and rediscover my creative self. I am The Picadilly Project.

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