US $19.97

Letterpress in a Clamshell: Designing for Tabletop Printing

——   Created by Kimberly Costa

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1h 02m
Lesson time
Skill level

More about this course

Not all presses are created equal!

Tabletop presses especially. With a smaller footprint than some of their cousins, tabletop presses are perfect for small studios or in-home use. However, most of these presses use a bottom hinged or 'clamshell' platen design to generate impressions. This mechanism is not capable of high impression pressures and is better suited for compact and lightweight printing forms.

For this reason, we must pay special attention to the way we design when printing on a tabletop press. Keeping this limitation in mind and knowing how to effectively work around it to achieve a good impression is what this class is all about.

The course project


You have a month to complete this class challenge!

Create your project and in it, show us your original ideas for your greeting card before you watch the videos and then show us your process. How did you take these key elements and use them to make a design that will print well on a tabletop press?

The student that can convey this the best, will win the challenge and have their design printed by me. I will choose a winner by August 1st and will get in touch with the winner to discuss the details of their project.

You can still get your design printed by me even if you don't win, just check this link out.


Design your own greeting card using the ideas we have discussed and learned about in class. Pay special attention to form and the amount of coverage your design will need. Remember to use color to your advantage as well as placement of shapes.

START TO THINK about your project right away. Think of a special occassion you'd like to design a greeting card for. A birthday? Graduation? Christmas? This will be your special greeting card so make sure to give it some thought.

Once you complete the key element videos start to think about these ideas as they relate to your special card. What shapes can you work with? How many colors should your design have? How should your design be broken up?


The most rewarding part of designing for letterpress is, of course, seeing your printed design. I realize not everyone owns a press and might not have a way to get a design printed so check out this link as a resource to get your greeting card printed.


If you’d like to be featured on my Instagram account, follow me and tag me on instagram and include #platendesign and @honizukle on your images. I’ll be checking up and sharing.

11 Lessons

3 mins
free preview
3 mins
Why design for a tabletop press
free preview
2 mins
Discussing our project
4 mins
Area: the main concern
5 mins
Key element: paper
6 mins
Key element: placement
7 mins
For element: form size
16 mins
Key element: color
8 mins
Our project: designing a greeting card
10 mins
Finalizing files
2 mins
Final thoughts

About the instructor

It you!

Hi there!

I'm Kimberly Costa & I run a small letterpress studio called Honizukle Press where I print with my C&P Pilot, Charlotte. She's a beautiful …

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Class benefits

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 30 day satisfaction guarantee
  • 24/7 streaming access
  • Project included
  • Direct teacher access
  • 1h 02m of on-demand video
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