The art of letterpress is alive in Charleston.
Base Camp Printing Company strives to keep its process identical to a print shop back in the day, when a cast-iron printing press was state-of-the-art technology.
We specialize in posters, invitations, stationery, and business cards, designed, set and printed the old fashioned way — by hand. Come by the shop during business hours or by appointment to see this process in action.
613 Tennessee Avenue Charleston, WV 25302
Mon & Tues By Appt.
WHAT's on the press:
Gallery of Work
Hire us for Custom Work
Letterpress is an entirely hands-on process, and there are many steps before production even begins.
Here’s a look inside the process of ordering a letterpress paper product from Base Camp.
First, we will have a conversation to discuss all the details of your order. This includes the concept, copy, color, paper choice, dimensions, imagery, and budget. Preferably, this is done in person at the shop, but we can also accommodate your request via email or phone call. We will make sure to help you stay on budget with helpful recommendations throughout the entire process.
Next, we can start the fun part — design. Base Camp is both a print shop and a design studio. We are happy to work with you to create the perfect design for your project. Once a non-refundable deposit is submitted we will show you three concepts. You pick the direction. We will work together until we have a design solution that you love. This usually takes 2-3 weeks depending on the amount of revisions. We can also print from existing designs at no extra fee, as long as your files are the appropriate format.
Take it to Press
Production begins once we have your final approval on a design. The production time varies depending on the labor involved in your order. This includes typesetting, plate making, hand carving, and of course, printing. Once completed, we will give you a call when your order is ready for pick-up or shipping!
Base Camp Team
Emily & Betsy sokolosky
Born and raised in Charleston, WV, Emily and Betsy are sisters and co-owners of Base Camp Printing Company. With Betsy's experience in advertising and marketing and Emily's background in graphic design, the pair create a perfect team. Every day you can find the sister duo in the shop creating original, thoughtful hand-pressed prints and custom paper products using hand-carved linoleum blocks and their growing collection of movable type. Stop by the shop to see their two old-fashioned presses in action!
Luna is Base Camp's shop dog. She is still learning about the art of letterpress but has an amazing creative energy. Luna is at the shop everyday, eating snacks and napping in sunbeams.
Trinket is Base Camp's newest addition. Trinket's only job is to look cute and she's really good at her job.
We are excited to begin offering our first workshop at Base Camp Printing Co. - Typesetting 101
- WHO - To offer a more individualized experience and make the most of our time and resources, we will be limiting each workshop to 2 participants. There is no experience necessary and all ages are welcome!
- WHAT - Participants will design their own type-based, one color poster and walk away with 10 copies of their custom design!
- WHERE - Base Camp Printing Co. is located at 613 Tennessee Ave in the Historic Elk City District of Charleston, WV.
- WHEN - Workshops will take place on Sunday at 2:00 pm, once a month. They will be about 2-3 hours long.
- Pick a short phrase, meaningful quote, or any other text under 30 words to print on their poster. The poster will be an area up to 12x18"
- Plan out their design and decide on a layout for their poster.
- Pick the type. Choose from our collection of wood and metal type to bring your design to life! Size, typeface, and the mix of fonts is up to you.
- Makeready the press. Set the type and put everything in place to begin printing your poster.
- Choose the ink color and mix the ink.
- Run the press and print your posters! We will be using our Vandercook press for this workshop which is over 50 years old
Interested in a workshop? Email email@example.com to set up a date!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the common questions we are often asked. If you don't see what you are looking for or would like more information, scroll down and fill out the contact form below and we will answer as soon as possible.
When are you open? Can I stop by?
Our shop is open Wednesday - Saturday from 11am - 7pm. Feel free to stop by anytime within those hours to talk about custom work. We are also available to meet on Monday and Tuesday by appointment.
What can you print?
We can print pretty much anything on paper - posters, greeting cards, business cards, wedding invitations, stationery, coasters, etc. The largest area we can print is 18” x 24”. We do not print fabric (t-shirts, tote bags) or stickers but we can design them for you. If we can’t do the actual production we can recommend someone local or otherwise who can.
How few of something can you print?
The process of letterpress printing is not ideal to produce one copy of anything. Most of the work goes into the setup, therefore to get your money’s worth we set our minimum for most products at 50 copies. We will print one of something if you really want it, however the price will be the same as our minimum quantity.
How MANY can you print?
Everything we do is by hand so quantities larger than 500 may be problematic but not impossible. Contact us if you have a large project in mind and we will see what we can do.
Can you print full color?
Each color is printed one at a time. We can print as many colors as you want, but it does get expensive because of the time that goes into production. Each color must be plated, set up, printed and washed up separately. The ink is hand mixed so we can create virtually any color that you envision. However, letterpress ink is naturally transparent so the saturation and vibrancy of colors may vary.
I have an idea of what I want, but I’m not sure. Can you help me design it?
Yes! We would love to help bring your vision to life. Send us an email with as much detail as you can, or if you’d prefer you can stop by during store hours to talk through your ideas with us.
Can you include a photo in the design?
We can not recreate a full color photo through letterpress printing but we may be able to reproduce the photo as a halftone or line drawing. You can email us the photo to see what is possible.
I have a finished design. Can you print it for me?
Yes, we will print design work that is not our own. However, we will not print material that you do not own the copyright for, is stolen, or is unoriginal to you.
What is your turnaround time?
Standard turnaround time is 2 weeks, however it can vary based on the complexity of the job and the amount of work we currently have.
Drop us a Line
Whether you're looking to start a new project or just have a question, we'd love to hear from you. Please fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
All messages will be submitted to Emily at Base Camp.