Fourth of July Greeting Card with Antique Flair

This Fourth of July greeting card is all about the flair.

“Flair?” you might ask…”Like in the classic film Office Space, when Stan, the Chotchkie’s restaurant manager questions Jennifer Anniston’s character about whether she is wearing enough of it?”

Well…yes. Sort of. If by “flair,” you mean a greeting card that features fifty-one nifty antique one-pica cannon/flag ornaments, some nostalgic metal fonts and flourishes, a handsome 19th Century copper electrotype cut and four patriotic stars.

All of that flair needs to be printed on great stock, so for this Fourth of July card, I am using 80 lb/118 GSM Classic Natural White Linen finish paper by Neenah, one of the excellent papers for letterpress printing that are available at

Metal ornament flair stored in a 2/3-style type case.

When I decided to use the antique cannon/flag ornaments to create a full border on this A2-size card, I needed to make sure I had enough of them. Given their one-pica size and allowing for a one-half pica space between them, I determined I needed thirteen for the 4 1/4″ width at the top, four for the bottom (to allow for text to be printed in between them) and seventeen for the 5 1/2″ length (times two for left and right). Since this border did not come with a unique corner element, I chose to leave enough space space in each corner to print a simple, but patriotic, star in a different color.

Detail of the one-pica ornaments with an “En” (or “Nut”) quad between each. Notice the blank corner which will allow for a different ornament in a second color.

I printed the border in PMS 282 Blue (specified as the match to the American flag) by Southern Ink, then locked up the copper electrotype cut of the American eagle grasping the Union shield and printed it near the top center of the card in the same color.

Printing the two PMS 282 Blue forms.

Next, I composed the types to form the three lines that read “Independence Day Greetings” and, allowing for the 1 7/8″ height of the electrotype eagle cut, printed these lines and a line of tiny six-point Engravers Roman type in Southern Ink’s Letterpress Dense Black ink near the bottom half of the card. This brought me to the point of having to set the types and calculate the imposition for the red form, which includes “July the Fourth” printed on an arc, two bracket flourishes near the black type and a line of text at the bottom, as well as the stars in each corner. The specified color of the red in the American flag is PMS 193, which came from Southern Ink.

The red form with intended strike locations marked up on the working version of the card. I used a set of circular/arc quads to achieve the text on a curve effect and placed a one-pica star in each corner.

The final version of the card, in all of its flair-ific glory, will make a suitable Fourth of July greeting that will impress even the most demanding manager at Chotchkie’s. I would be honored to share one with you if you comment below about how you incorporate flair into your patriotic home decorations, Fourth of July picnic, or special outfit that honors the nation’s birthday. Make sure you also let me know at @TheNorluPress so I can contact you about mailing your card to you (limited to first three posters).

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  1. I love seeing the progress as the layers are added. The red is so beautiful. I like flag shirts, especially with a distressed feel.
    Would love to have one for a close up inspection. Can’t comment on the other site since I don’t use.

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