De Milo’s favorite paper for letterpress is anything that gives a “pillowy deep” impression and has a neutral pH balance for archival purposes. Kept in stock are several kinds useful for a variety of design styles. If you're planning a custom job and would like to know what De Milo has available, order a paper sampler from the sample store.
Perennial Paper is made by hand in De Milo Design’s studio. To make white and natural white we save the 100% cotton trimmings from Museum Board and Empire. For natural beige we save Lokta and Mr. Ellie Pooh. Then we grind it up, hand dip it and dry it on the premises. Some is even re-recycled as we return press misfeeds to the blender. The pronounced deckled edge gives it an antique look and feel. It has a lovely fluffy texture and is the best showcase for a deep impression. Technically the “recycling police” would say it isn’t Post Consumer—you as the end user would have to do the dipping to meet that regulation. But the spirit of recycling law passes Perennial with flying colors. That combined with it using no transportation fuel to get here (it was already here) makes Perennial the “greenest” paper we’ve got.
Porridge Paper has a similar handmade process to De Milo’s Perennial Paper, but on a larger scale. Most of their Post Consumer Waste comes in the form of trimmings from the production of US Government envelopes. The only environmental drawback is it must be shipped. But it rode on the truck with other packages. Does that count as a carpool?! Read more online at www.porridgepapers.com
Prokritee (meaning “nature” in Bangla) is a Fair Trade Certified Co-op in Bangladesh. Prokritee is dedicated to hiring women who are head-of-households (widows, divorcees, or separated), have little, if any income, and have few or no assets. Paper is made of local sustainable materials such as water hyacinth, hemp and pineapple leaves. Their screenprinting skills are excellent and they are constantly creating new designs. Prokritee welcomes customization (if there is time, mailing samples back and forth to Bangladesh takes awhile) and De Milo has been very pleased with our custom orders. Read more about Prokritee online at www.prokritee.com.
Cards From Africa in Rwanda is a Fair Trade Certified business training center for youth orphaned as a result of disease, war, or genocide. Their main goal is to consistently provide employment, inspire with creativity, and teach valuable skills to youth so that one day they may start their own businesses if they choose. Employees work limited hours and earn an income that is three to five times higher than the average poverty level wage. They use this money to feed and clothe their younger brothers and sisters as well as purchase medicine and provide school tuition when needed. Their handmade paper is richly colored with a velvety cloth-like feel. Watch a BBC “World Challenge” report on www.youtube.com or read more at www.cardsfromafrica.com.
Imani Workshops in Kenya is a Fair Trade Certified organization where artisans who are HIV+ are “living positively.” The sale of their handmade papyrus paper supports their families, provides access to life-sustaining drugs and helps break down the stigma of AIDS in Africa. Read more online at www.imaniworkshops.org.
Sana Hastakala (“small handicrafts” in Nepali) is a Fair Trade Certified Non-Governmental Organization in Nepal. They are dedicated to fostering the resurgence of traditional craft skills especially in areas of economic weakness. They create envelopes from natural fibers that De Milo uses for some invitation packages. Read more online at www.sanahastakala.org
Mr. Ellie Pooh saves elephants in Sri Lanka while saving the earth with elephant dung paper. No, it doesn’t stink! In fact, it doesn't smell like anything. Here's the story: Paper-making requires a big blender to pulp the fibers. Elephants are herbivores (they eat only plants) and Mr. Ellie Pooh uses the digestive system of the elephant rather than a blender to pulp the plant fibers. Pulp is sterilized naturally before creating a variety of richly colored papers. Pooh paper is technically not Fair Trade certified. But they’re on the right path to that goal. Read more online at www.mrelliepooh.com.
Neenah Environment 80lb. cover “PC 100” stock gives Sustain & Heal’s custom envelopes the best of all worlds—thick enough to hold a good letterpress impression, smooth enough for a calligrapher’s nib to not hang up mid-stroke and made from 100% Post Consumer Waste. Read more about this line’s high environmental production standards online at www.neenahpaper.com/environment.
Empire is 100% Post Consumer Waste made in the USA from recycled cotton clothing and textiles that have served their purpose for the end user (that means somebody wore and discarded it, not factory overruns that wouldn’t sell). Preparation includes removing buttons and seams by hand and segregating fabric by color. It is produced without chlorine, sulfites, caustic substances and other additives. This manual process requires quite a bit of “elbow grease” and therefore is priced higher than other Post Consumer Waste papers. Empire is an ideal 100% Post Consumer Waste stock because of its rich texture and clear creamy brightness. But it is still a product in development and is not as weighty as we would like for letterpress (though we still can get a decent impression). If a thicker and less bright stock is preferred Porridge Paper (above) is a great option. Read more about Empire online at www.archpaper.net
Italian made Arturo is an elegant paper that suits any formal or semi-formal occasion. The lightly textured surface and slight deckle give it a “handmade” feeling with a more refined look. Arturo is available in a wide variety of sizes (below) and colors Buttercream, Celadon, Lavender, Pale Blue, Pale Pink, Soft White, Stone Gray, and White. Blank Arturo is available for sale in our Blank Stationery Store.
Decorative Paper is a lovely embellishment for any design. One De Milo favorite is Tamarind Leaf Tissue that comes in blue, green or plum. It can be found online at Creative Papers Online. While you're there browse the many other syles available. You might find the perfect paper to embellish your De Milo letterpressed piece.