Want to know how to display collections without looking cluttered? Try a letterpress drawer! Here are 15+ collections to display in a printers tray, letterpress drawer, or shadow box.
As a child, I loved to collect small things… coins, keychains, stickers, rocks, and more. While, as an adult, my “collections” are a bit more practical, I still enjoy displaying collections of everyday objects in stunning vignettes. A letterpress drawer makes displaying tiny objects simple, and beautiful.
What is a Letterpress Drawer?
A letterpress drawer, also commonly know as a letterpress tray, printer’s tray, or printer’s drawer, originated from the letterpress printing industry.
Letterpress printing began in the 1400s, invented by Gutenberg, and was widely use through the 19th century. Once offset printing was developed in the 20th century, letterpress declined (see: history of printing).
Due to the age of the industry, it’s likely that when you buy a letterpress drawer, it is an antique (100+ years old). If not, it will be soon!
Letterpress drawers were stored in type cases (furniture-style cases that hold several drawers). Each drawer has many small compartments, which hold type blocks.
A type block is a single letter with a wood base and metal top. To letterpress, brush ink onto metal letters and press them into the paper.
In order to typeset, the printer chose the correct type blocks to compose a document. The printer would pull the letterpress drawer out of the typecase and work from it. Pulling out the drawer for use is similar to a tray – hence the name “printer’s tray.” (see: typecase)
15+ Collections to Display in a Letterpress Drawer
Want to know how to display collections without looking cluttered? Try a letterpress drawer! Here are over 15 collections that can be displayed in a printers tray, letterpress drawer, or shadow box.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Display small figurines in a letterpress drawer - for playtime, or for show. A letterpress drawer is an easy way to display figurines (whether it’s a set of valuable miniatures or inexpensive tiny toys!).
Meegan snagged an inexpensive vintage shadow box and transformed it to display her beach treasures. These shells represent trips and vacation spots around the world, a simple way to display mementos from your travels!
Alyssa made a set of his/hers side tables (yes, there are two!). She filled her table with faux succulents before she added the glass top. Want a live version? Skip the top and try air plants, or dirt-filled cubbies with succulents.