Our Letterpress Shop is a
full service, fine printing
resource specializing in
Letterpress Printing and Foil
Stamping.   We offer master
craftsmanship with
professional service
delivering high quality
products in a timely manner
with a value orientated

Contact us today for a quote:

Press room
It would be our pleasure to
help you with any of the
many services we offer:

Letterpress Invitations
Letterpress Announcements
Letterpress Cards
Letterpress Holiday Cards
Letterpress Printing
Letterpress Stationery
Letterpress Posters
Foil Stamping
Die Cutting
Gift Bags
Upstairs Imprinters Inc.


We are a full service Type Foundry and Letterpress Printer

Our shop includes:  Type Foundry, Monotype Type Casting, Monotype
Composition, Ludlow Type Setting, Hot Foil Stamping,
Bindery Operations, and Letterpress Printing.

We do our Letterpress Printing "the old fashioned way" using Foundry Type
or Ludlow.    Although plates can be made we prefer and encourage the use of
metal type for the time honored tradition, look and  value it affords the client.

Contact us today to get started

Upstairs Imprinter Inc.
Creating your Letterpress Design
Start to Finish


Margins:  We prefer a margin of 1/4" minimum on all sides.  Papers with deckle edges will require more.  
We can work with smaller margins for an additional set up and run fees.  Please
contact us to discuses.

Type Size:  We do not recommend using type that is smaller than 8 point.  When a heavy impression into
the paper is employed it causes many of the lower case letter to fill in and or looked blurred.
A kiss impression on a smooth stock is recommended for small type sizes.  

Full Bleeds:  The proper method for producing a full bleed job is to run the stock over sized and then trim
or die cut the stock to there final size, this insures a job well done.  If the stock is run actual size there
will be some pieces of stock that will not bleed entirely off the page.

Large Solids:  It is not to be expected that a large solid will be completey filled with color and be opaque.  
This  actually makes the design look authentically letterpress printed and in the end enhance a design.
Two runs should be used if the design includes a large solid and copy; because the solid requires heavy
inking and will cause the copy to be over inked and the impression to be blurred and the characters to be
filled in.  


The minimum over  run is 10% per press run.  We will discuss this in the design phase of your project and
it is based on the complexity of the job and the type of materials used.

If you are supplying paper please count the stock before sending it, and check the size and condition of
your paper and make sure it is fit for printing.  Some stocks have heavy inclusion or are synthetic and
may not be suitable for the printing process you are employing.  Please, send us a sample so we can
discuss your design and the materials.

Review envelope construction before sending or purchasing.  The overlapping flaps will cause
irregularities in the printing.  To use such envelopes additional make ready is required and is billed at
the hourly rate.


If you choose a Pantone ink, we have it mixed by the Ink Company.  A few helpful hints.  The Pantone
System was developed for offset lithography.  In the offset printing process, a very thin film of ink is
used.  In letterpress printing, ink was originally opaque and ran many times thicker.  This is why
letterpress printing has such a rich and luxurious result.  From one impression to another there is a
slight variability in the quantity of ink resulting in differences in color. The density of ink is so rick it is
unattainable with todays modern methods of pressing paper.  Absolute precision is not possible.  The
overall ambiance of the letterpress page is its own unique character.    For some idea as to how the color
will look, test it first on the stock you are using, and look at it in various lighting.  Colored stock, thick
stock, variations of lighting, and the heavy letterpress impression into the page, etc, will cause the color
to appear different than in the Pantone book.

Metallic Ink:

Metallic Inks will not provide a shiny appearance when letterpressed on an uncoated stock like Lettra.
And many times looks like it is tarnished or green.  If your desire a shiny metallic finish or a mat
burnished gold or 23K gold imprint then foil stamping is the best process. We provide Hot Foil Stamping.  
You can use our foundry type, Ludlow type setting or dies.  It is a wonderful look for many designs.  We
have some samples photos of foil stamping in the gallery portion of this web sight.


Photos can be and have been run letterpress.  Many fine books have what were called plates.  The term
plates referred to the photos in the books.  Take a look at a nice book from 1940 or earlier and in paticular
notice the plates.  You will see they were run on a very smooth stock.  This allowed the dots in the screen
(photo) to stand up and not be made wider when the letterpress impression was made. The impression is
normally very even and not heavy, a kiss impression.   We do photos for our book clients and artists
prints.  We do not letterpress photos for invitations on uncoated stock, cotton stock, hand made papers
and the like. Sometimes we can offset print the photo first then the copy can be letterpress printed over
the top.  If you prefer an all letterpress job we would suggest that while creating your design consider
well drawn line art that will allow for the heavy impression of the letterpress process.
Call us to discuss this.


This is a process of pressing the type or image into the stock with out ink.  It works well with thicker
papers so that we can letterpress or hot stamp a heavy impression. It creates a very elegant look.

Printing Impression:

The process offers our artists more control over their press work through hand preparation of the printing
press and type prior to pressing the job.  The overall ambience of the letterpress page is its own unique
character.  As the type is compressed into the paper it creates a plus, pillowy texture
(R), yielding the
luxurious results of fine age-old,time honored craftsmanship.  In creating your design consider well
drawn line art that will allow for the heavy impression and a type fact that stands up against the
artwork.  Then when we press the paper you will see a beautiful, almost a three dimensional printed page.

Two Sided Printing:   Yes, we can letterpress both sides of the stock.  If  a heavy impression is used it will
show a raised  area on the opposite side, almost like braille, from the image coming through from the
front.  Using a heavier paper will elevate this somewhat.  Look at  many of the old books prior to 1940
and you will see some impression coming through the pages, we feel this adds to the overall three
dimensional look and feel of the printed page.
Follow this link to see
Hot Foil Stamping
Letterpress Printing
The Print Shop
ype Setting
Bell Type
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About Us

T y p e
Anonymity of  Type       Letter & Line Spacing      
Type Showing       Type Showing Pg. 2        Type Showing Pg 3      Type Showing Pg 4 for Book Binding  Ornaments

Ludlow Typesetting      
Ludlow Typesetting pg 2     Ludlow Typesetting  pg 3     Ludlow Typesetting pg 4
Ludlow Typesetting pg 5     Ludlow Typesetting  pg 6     Ludlow Typesetting pg 7

Upstairs Imprinters Inc.
The Letterpress Print Shop               Letterpress Publisher Posters Booklets Cards     
Letterpress Gallery        Letterpress Gallery pg 2         Foil Stamping Gallery   

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Copyright 2009 - 2020   David  Helbock  All rights reserved.
david@belltype.com                                         310-890-2164
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Why Letterpress

The type is pressed into the paper and creates
a "Plus Pillowly Texture "© that can not be
achieved by any other printing process
yielding a tangible, tactile visibly three
dimensional texture to the printed page

The Visual and Tactile Qualities of
Letterpress Enhances the readers ability to
connect with the printed page.