$.80 Letterpress Tray

Another installment of things I found at the thrift store! This time around it’s a letterpress tray. These were used during letterpress printing to hold the various letter and punctuation blocks.

Letterpress printing is a form of relief printing that was invented in the 1400’s by Johann Gutenberg. Letterpress uses raised letters or image blocks which are inked and pressed onto paper. It is still a very popular method of craft or hobby printing. (Source)

I love the texture that a letterpress invitation or greeting card has, it always feels very old world chic to me. Unfortunately, all that chic-ness usually comes with a hefty price tag which is why after exploring it for our wedding invites I opted to make my own on a laser printer.

Anyway this little baby isn’t a perfect specimen. It’s a smaller tray with some damage to the drawer face and missing its drawer pull. I suspect someone has used it as a shadow box, as it has a sawtooth hangar on the back. On eBay or etsy these go for between 5 bucks and 45 buck depending on size and condition. I got mine for the measly sum of 80 cents. The woman who checked me out at the thrift store asked me what it was, and I tried to explain the whole letterpress thing… but I think she thought I was stupid to pay the 80 for a dirty old tray.

Down below are some cool pictures of other people’s projects repurposing letterpress trays. I’m not sure what use I will put mine to, the obvious options are storage or shadow box. For now it’s propped against all my boxes of house stuff. Hopefully I’ll look up one day and be struck with a mind-blowing idea for it.


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