Commonwealth Press

a warm and delicious art show with spak brothers

THIS COMING FRIDAY – Spak Bros Pizza and CommonWealth Press will be hosting a functional art show on hand screened pizza boxes for all medium pizzas ordered, until they run out.

4 artists from CWP
- mark bogacki, everyday balloons, dan rugh, and keith caves -
have each  illustrated and screen printed (they damn selves) very limited edition pizza boxes for Spak Brothers to distribute until every box is gone.

While the custom boxes last, any customer that orders any medium pizza will receive their order in one of these pieces of art.

We hope this to be the most delicious and beautiful and clever and simple and functional art show pittsburgh has embraced.

Order fast, they won’t last. COLLECT ALL 4

…cwp / spak

5 great things that happened for CWP in 2013

i keep seeing lists and i dont know why but i damn near always click on them. i make lists everyday – next time you see me, look at my left hand, its always got a list on it…sometimes just one thing, sometimes down to my elbow. they are ALWAYS just to remember things.

so as we are all getting snowed on and im drinking coffee thinking how beautiful things look outside – i decided i need to make a list of things i dont want to forget from 2013. not that i would forget them but i wanted to share them with you because, to be honest, you were a big part of them.

it was HARD to narrow it down. so much radness went down …but here we go

the be all end all best thing of 2013 for commonwealth press was


if you dont know what im talking about CLICK THIS and read it.

in summary – someone threw a brick through our window for whatever reason. we ended up auctioning it off for $1150 – fixed our window, gave the winner $2200 worth of amazing gifts, and donated the remainder to some amazing local charities.

why is this the most amazing thing of the year? honestly for us, i think it was seeing people that we barely knew – or we didnt even know knew us – coming to help for something that could have been easily ignored. that simple feeling of community over something trivial lets you know that we are all part of this city. it wasnt any dire circumstance, it wasnt the first time our window had been smashed out, it wasnt even all that bad, it was more that you knew we existed and we all turned something absurd into one of the most simple and positive and hilarious and fun things ive seen in a long time.

i will never stop loving you pittsburgh.


gain, if you arent sure what it was – check it out here: the CWP beer barge

summary: pittsburgh craft beer week, rent clipper, 30 brewers, 3 hours, 3 bands rolling down all 3 of our gorgeous rivers…ticket sales crash servers, over sell tickets by over double what were available….work it out and have the most amazing day i can remember in the city.

this event taught me a lot about business, planning and people. ill be honest, the whole thing blew up in my face initially and i had no idea what i was going to do. with a little bit of honesty and some planning we were able to make it work for everyone involved. it was honestly one of the coolest things ive done in this city and am still blown away that we pulled it off.



that wasnt just good for commonwealth press (i mean we did sell a good amount of our BLACK AHT tshirts) it was good for the whole city. that feeling – watching the fireworks – felt like fireworks.

holy crap i just got all warm again thinking about it. (see lists are good)

4. CommonWealth Press Ale

summary: team up with friends and make something amazing together - click this for more info and a killer little documentary we shot

it was amazing to make beer, i cant lie. this is cool just for the cool factor of it. beyond that though, it was an insight that we were so lucky to have.  being permitted and even INVITED to take part  in what people we respect do for a living – behind the scenes at penn brewery – early hours… not just the beer (mmm beer) but the aspects you dont see – or even know about. the law and the flow of work and the people that make it happen – getting into it with them, the sweat and recipes and then – AND ONLY THEN getting to plan it out in the flow of what we do for a living – with something we created from a concept.

i dont know if i can go on without rambling, but if you were right beside me id hug you right now.

5. our new dryer

summary: we got a new dryer

seems pretty insignificant doesn’t it?
but in context, the first dryer i got fits on my desk. i bought it because i could carry it down my basement steps at my house. this new dryer is the size of a tank – gas powered and was delivered from south carolina with barely 2 inches to fit thru our warehouse doors. 5 of us plus the guy we bought it from to get it off his trailer and onto skids into the warehouse. its size isnt what let it make the list – what it offers us does.

it has upped our print quality and output plus with it there is now no job we cant take on. being as small as we are but using the kind of tools that the big shops use lets us keep our pricing fair, our turnaround amazingly quick, and keeps us moving toward constantly working smarter, not harder. your support let us afford it and we are doing our best to make you proud.


so thats it. seriously thats my list. SO MANY awesome things happened but i had to narrow it down – it wasnt easy but i feel that these are a pretty solid view into the year.

and oh 2014 – i couldnt be happier to see you.


CommonWealth Ale

reflecting back on the year and all the amazing things that have happened – of all the things that we have been involved with, i can honestly say that making CommonWealth Press Ale was one of the most involved processes i have ever done. working with Penn Brewery – with andy and sandy and the whole crew over there gave me a perspective on design and production and creation and teamwork that i could never have earned by simply sitting at a desk. hashing out the design, logistics, distribution…good lord this was involved.

creating something from scratch. something you can hold.

i cant say how much i loved doing this enough. i honestly cant.

i hope you like this:


Commonwealth Press Ale from commonwealth press.

rustbelt almanac interview with dan rugh

dan rugh recently did in interview with the incredibly motivated and visual folks behind rustbelt almanac - this is it:

Dan Rugh of Commonwealth Press from Rustbelt Almanac on Vimeo.

TROIKA skateboards

TROIKA skateboards – SKATE OR DONT

we are officially starting a new pittsburgh based skateboard company TROIKA skateboards - well, “we” meaning dan rugh from commonwealth press and dave kaule from triad skateboards.

why? mainly because we really want to.

theres no grand vision of greatness, just 2 good friends looking to creatively spend sometime doing things they both love.  dave was never solid with how triad came to a close and he and dan have been kicking this idea around for far too long. theres no reason not to. and why wait – so here we go.

we also deciced to include you the whole way as we develop this business – as youll see by the TROIKA website, there isnt shit going on yet…but there will be. we are going to do this step by step and let you in on the whole thing. from posting designs to growing our team, hosting demos, spreading word, all of it.

we have our first deck already run – completely manufactured right here in western PA by our old pals at PENNSWOOD. its for sale RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE:

they are $45 in the store, $55 online (covers shipping and handling)
we also already have 2 more in the works with amazingly sick graphics from local artists mike budai and matt gondek. BOTH are beyond amazing and we couldnt be more stoked to work with them (and many more to come)

we are also putting together a team.  so if you have some videos, email us some links.
we arent looking for who lands the most technical shit, its who is having the most fun. seriously, if you have video – get it to us.

and now for the GIVEAWAY. to get things rolling we are going to give away 1 free TROIKA skateboard. also some tshirts, kooizes, and stickers.

all you need to do to enter is the following 3 things:
1. “like” TROIKA skateboards on facebook  ( at
2. FOLLOW @TROIKAskate  on twitter and tweet “hey @TROIKAskate, gimme a free skateboard”
3. FOLLOW @TROIKAskate  on instagram

early next week we will pick some winners from those of you that do all 3 and get you your free goodness.

and so you dont have to ask – TROIKA is a russian sled pulled by 3 horses – the perfect icon and bridge unifying TRIAD and COMMONWEALTH PRESS.



we have been working with allegheny city smokehouse for a while now. these guys are solid locals doing some delicious work. everytime jared comes to pick up an order we end up just yammering about printing, food, pittsburgh, beer, running a small business and whatever else pops up.

lately jared has been bringing over samples. seriously, dude  just shows up with food. – one of these samples he unleashed on us he calls “the polish hammer”. smoked kielbasa sandwich with pickled cabbage on rye with some crazy ass mustard nonsense they whipped up. its amazing. its honestly all you can do to not just unhook your jaw and one-bite it.

it also just happens that we have all this beer left over from the beer barge and jared has all this meat – so we decided to pull resources and have a happy hour here at our warehouse next thursday 8/15/13 from 6-8.

YOU are invited. come hang out – try some of what allegheny city smokehouse has to offer and enjoy a few beers, all on us.

OH YEAH – in the middle of all this nonsense we asked jared if it was possible to smoke a T-shirt. he said he would give it a shot – and it worked. so the first 24 people to show up will get a free traditionally bacon smoked tshirt, wrapped in butcher paper, and delivered fresh to your hungry hands. no joke. a bacon smoked tshirt. cracks me up everytime i say it.

heres the facebook invite:
add yourself, add your friends.

come hang out for 2 hours, you arent busy, and we would love to see you.

your pals at commonwealth press and allegheny city smokehouse






this was an amazing day. seriously. just watch

recycling screen printing film positives

Reducing the Negatives of Film Positives

When I started working at Commonwealth Press there was a stack of old Gildan boxes in the very corner of the shop that seemed to be slowly growing as time progressed. As we quickly grew and that once “extra space” was slated to be our new receiving area the boxes needed moved. What a surprise it was when I tried to sling one of those boxes up over my shoulder, this friggin’ thing had to weigh nearly a hundred pounds! Upon cutting the box open I was not surprised to find it stacked full of old film positives that were in limbo, we didn’t want to throw them in the trash but had no idea where or how to recycle or repurpose them.

What you may not know is that every job at CWP requires multiple film positives to create the stencil to print your artwork. Early on as a business we would catalog these films in case the customer were to want to rerun the art at a later date. As time passed it became apparent that too much time, effort and resources were being used to preserve the integrity of these films for a very low number of reruns. At that point the decision was made to print new films for all but a small select number of jobs and dispose of the films after the jobs were completed.

Disposing of the films was a half-finished idea. Yeah, we were not going to ever reuse them or catalog them in expensive folders again, but what would we do with them? Throwing them in a landfill to sit for the next 500 years was out of the question. I hated even the idea of having our companies name emblazoned across a pile of plastic buried into the ground. We would recycle them!…..someday, when we get around to it.

As with many supplies in the Screen Printing Industry our film comes in bulk rolls with no instructions, no recycling stamp and not much for a label. So I got a hold of the manufacturer to find out what the films were constructed from, they told me it was Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, sometimes PETE) with a light coating to accept ink and it was easily recyclable. After talking with a few materials recyclers I found out that no one was going to pay us to take these boxes off our hands. So I turned to the Pittsburgh Public Works Recycling Division for answers. They were very helpful and said they would be more than happy to accept this material with our weekly recycling as long as it was labeled.

We made arrangements for them to accept the unlabeled materials after they were bagged and the bags were labeled with the# 1PETE symbol so the sorters would know the contents of the bags. Going forward we were going to have to label each of our films to avoid confusion at the sorting center. I approached our artist and asked him to incorporate the  #1PETE recycling symbol into our art template so every film we printed would be easily identifiable and could just be thrown into any recycling container and eventually made into future products.

We know that the films used in screen printing don’t account for the smallest fraction of a percent when it comes to polyethylene use. We’ll leave it to the beverage industry to do most of the spewing of this certain material all over the planet. We found a way to keep the poly we use from finding a direct path to the landfill and hope to pass this information along to as many print shops as possible.  It is not common knowledge as to what materials make up films and where and how to recycle them. We hope this changes that.

So here are the simple instructions:

  1. Find a recycler. If they recycle plastic, they recycle #1PETE. It’s the most common and simple plastic to recycle.
  2. Add a recycling symbol to your art template, or somewhere on all your films.
  3. Dispose of it in the proper bin along with other plastic recyclables.

It’s very, very, very easy. DO IT!


we are amazed to announce that we have teamed with the gateway clipper fleet to offer one of the most pittsburgh / most original events to date for pittsburgh craft beer week  — the commonwealth press BEER BARGE.

on FRIDAY APRIL 26th we set sail on all 3 rivers, for 3 hours (boarding at 6pm and depart at 6:30 and return to land at 9:30) with 3 bands and more local craft beer than you have ever seen floating up and down multiple rivers….AND you will be able to sample all of it, enjoy live music, and see our beautiful city from the rivers perspective.our goal was to have a good time on the river w some bands, beer, and offer 300 tickets for like minded to hang out and party. we never really set out thinking anything we do is going to be a HUGE turnout – more just a fun thing to do that hopefully  you will think so to.

as soon as tickets went on sale, SO MANY PEOPLE hit the site that it sold out in 4 minutes, THEN CRASHED THE SERVER…when the server went down, the ticket system reset to zero…then the server came back up and BOOOM we sold out again. yeah, that happened. we sold out TWICE the amount for a single event. im sure you heard us freaking out from wherever you were. long story short we oversold the event by more than double. we instantly thought CRAP now we have to refund and totally bum out all those people….buuuuuuuuuut……

we try to avoid the negative and make it a positive. we dont ever want to let anyone down (especially when this was TOTALLY OUR FAULT) so we try to make this into more of  an opportunity to make it an even MORE radical event. so we meet up with the awesome folks at the clipper (hi denise!)  to see if we can get a bigger boat! then find out that we cant. we cant get a bigger boat. we cant get a smaller boat. we cant get any additional boat at all….BUT we can add ANOTHER SESSION. so thats what we are doing.


SO if you have a confirmation from PAYPAL that your payment was accepted, YOU HAVE A TICKET!
even if you didnt get it as an email. we will be getting those all resent asap! we just need to work out the details.

so on Friday April 26th
the first 300+ people will be on the original session still boarding at 6pm and running from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
the second 300+ people will be on the new 2nd session boarding at 10pm and running from 10:30 pm – 1:30 am

we will contact each one of you individually (via the paypal email you used to secure your ticket) to let you know what session youre in – we will also be resending all the tickets, just to make sure you got it.

when you get that email….if you are on the 2nd session and dont want to go at that time, please contact dan AT and we will refund your ticket for you.
please remember that your ticket cannot be resold so if you are looking to get out, let us know and we can help you.

otherwise, hang on. info coming. this just got even awesomer.




tuesday march 5th…at roughly 8:45 am we stood looking thru a hole in the front window of our store on carson street. there was glass everywhere and a brick laying on the floor. apparently some dick thought itd be a great idea to smash out one of our 7 foot plate glass windows. unfortunately, its not a rare occasion to see something like that here in the south side. its happened to us and our neighbors before. its one of those costs that just kick you right in the gut. you know its $500 right off the bat, plus the time to clean up, and just the all around hassle of wondering why and who and why and what the hell.

so me and dan rock start picking up glass, sweeping…and both take turns cursing the whole situation. i jokingly said that im going to auction off this brick. kept sweeping and thinking about it, then figured – yep, im going to auction off this brick. nothing formal, nothing fancy just post it on facebook and see what happens. we have the commonwealth press beer barge coming up (as part of pgh craft beer week) and tickets havent gone on sale yet. so to spice up the deal we thought we could wrap one of those tickets around it – toss in a bunch of our cwp shirts and whatnot – and see  if someone gives a crap.

within an hour we had bids. awesome bids…cookies, beer, legos, money. it was awesome to see people start to take part, share the status etc. our friends were sharing, new people were liking our page, bids grew and things really started to catch fire.











then one of our friends/customers  Eljays Used books contacted us and offered to add a $20 gift certificate to our initial rewards. thats one of those quick moments where a flash goes off and you realize people are actually seeing this.

from that point it really grew and started to take off.  Shortly after that Rock Bottom added a free sixth-barrel keg, Steel City Roller Derby offered a pair of passes to an upcoming bout, and Yinzburg BBQ  added a $25 gift card. things kinda went nuts from there with donations coming in from other local businesses and bids coming in from friends – all looking to help.

then the news came. SERIOUSLY – word had spread and 2 different news crews showed up.

im aware that i am, for the most part, socially inept  – so take that and add a camera…and well you get these (click to watch news videos from each):

the CBS story

the WPXI story

then the news paper….

the PGH post gazette

then it got picked up by the associated press and has spread nation wide. a friend of mine down in VA said he heard it mentioned on NPR “morning edition”. want proof? here it is on NPR.

it was totally overwhelming to see this all build over something that in the larger scheme is rather trivial. we honestly started out thinking this was a joke of sorts (dan rock even said to make sure we said “seriously” on the facebook post). we started out hoping that we could cover the cost of the ticket, then the window, then this surpassed what the window would even cost.

so we announced anything past that would go to local charity.
i think thats the thing that that really got me. it just kept coming. more from businesses, more bids.

so at the end of the day – LITERALLY the end of the day -  Derrick Brashear came thru with a bid of $1150

AND THEN he shows up to pay…and BRINGS US HOMEBREW. what kind of world is this?!?!

the final list of people and businesses that have contributed to this auction (with well over $2100 value) are as follows:
links are included – if you visit them, please let them know how you heard about them and how appreciated they are.
-$20 used book credit from Eljays Used Books
-Rock Bottom just added a free sixth-barrel keg
-a pair of passes to an upcoming Steel City Roller Derby
-yinzburgh bbq added a $25 giftcard
-1 mens or womans haircut gift certificate by me (Lee) at Nadia Salon, Inc
-Brewery Tour, Tasting, and Growler for two at east end brewing
-a Monster Haiku book from Josh
-a laser cut birch plywood lamp from Laser Lab studio
-a free pair of plugs from jess at PA Plugs
-4 DOZ pierogies from WALDOS Pierogies.
-$50 garbella gift certificate!
-2 lbs of whole bean coffee from delanies coffee
-10 items from The Travelling Pittsburgh Craft-O-Tron Machine
-2 tickets to Step Trek from The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association
-$25 gift certificate from URBAN OUTFITTERS
-2 lbs of coffee from Zeke’s Coffee
-$20 gift card from the 17th Street Cafe
-a prize package from Pittsburgh Opera
-$10 pizza hut gift card and a custom acrylic painting by jay griffin
-a pair of lower bowl Pens tickets to the game on 3/26 vs. Montreal.
-a free case of Turners Tea
-a shirt from neighbor teaze
-$50 gift certificate to Piper’s Pub
-12 pies from the pub chip shop
-$25 sapling press etsy gift card
-2 VIP passes from hundred acres manor
-a key to the South Side from the South Side Chamber of Commerce and one year membership to our organization
-4 tickets from stage AE to the SOLD OUT “A Day to Remember” show
-a Yinztagram add on for a week
-$20 gift cert to fukuda @FukudaPgh
-Static Nightclub 1ViP bottle service table including bottle of house champagne
-$50 in smokin joes bucks
-1 picnic chair from YaJagoff
-1 batman, a high five, and a 22oz PBR at Ruggers Pub from @minjock
- the “European Bundle” of translators from Jibbigo Translator
-1 hour free photography session from Katelyn Rose Photography
-1 piece of original pottery from Emily Goston Orsovay
-a pair of tickets to Comedy for a Cause show on Saturday at Cefalo’s AND a pair of weekend passes to next week’s Horror Realm convention from sandy stuhfire
-a free season which also includes a raffle entry to win a Flash pinball machine from Pittsburgh Pinball League will donate
-$250 gift certificate from BookSmarts Tax & Accounting
-a free car wash from Audio 1 . (412)931 1700
- a pair of ticket vouchers, good for any main season performance from City Theatre
-$50 gift certificate from OTB
- gift certificate from Krazy Dogz
- free shirt from Neighbor Teaze
-  complimentary bottle service for up to 6 people at Diesel from Ampd

commonwealth press beer barge ticket
commonwealth press all our koozies
commonwealth press all our stickers
commonwealth press a bunch of shirts
commonwealth press hugs from cwp
commonwealth press A DAMN BRICK!


so after the window costs we decided to split the proceeds as donations between 2 local charities here in the south side. part will go to the brashear association and the other part to paar. both places are right here in the neighborhood, are forces for good, and deserve every penny and more.

we also decided to thank ALL OF YOU with a BRICK AUCTION HAPPY HOUR, hosted by us at our warehouse on MARCH 22nd from 5-7. you are all invited. come hang out, we will get some beer and food…maybe do some print demos so you can see what we do it. if you want to bring any canned goods, we can futher the good vibes and give some to the local food bank. all free. come hang for no reason except we all deserve it.

im overwhelmed. totally.
think about it – if this is the kind of support pittsburgh offers to such a small ordeal, i cant imagine the force this city could muster under larger circumstances.

i love you pittsburgh, all inclusively.


handdrawn halftones: a different take on CMYK

im fascinated by print. the entire process of any given method of printmaking has foundations that feed off of centuries of experimentation.

i can honestly say that my first “totally blown away moment” in absorbing the whole spectrum of print was at my first real print position (production artist for a book publishing company in virginia). one of my managers and mentor george dearing was explaining to me how and why CMYK works. if this is new, it might hurt your head (but in that good way). CMYK is a simple enough concept – 4 colors printed at different angles trick your eyes and mind into blending them into perceptually about 1o million colors. The screen grids are set at different angles, and the dots create a tiny rosette pattern – a type of optical illusion that appear to form a continuous-tone image.

theres light and eyeballs and rods and cones and all kinds of bio-science involved – if you want to read more about it, its pretty intense – heres the wikipedia entry

again, the main concept is that by using only 4 colors – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black – you can produce photographic quality color reproductions. in modern print shops this is done by outputting the image, separated by a computer in 4 channels and output at a certain amount of dots per inch and a certain angle…they intermingle, million of colors happen.

so – heres where this all gets experimenty – i want to draw this all by hand and see if it will still overlap properly and produce the same spectrum of color. i think it will work. it should work. i mean it could, technically. ok. lets do this.

IMAGE: my subject is the famous head shot of Yuri Gagarin (soviet cosmonaut and the first human in outerspace).

now start pulling the image apart – with a sharpie and aiming for a 45lpi linescreen.

detail of dot:

then do it 4 times at different angles and densities:

the final print size im aiming for is roughly 18×18 – at 45 dots per inch, that uses a detail of 810 dots per every line you see here. on an 18 x 18 image there is roughly an area allotted for 656,100 dots total per image. (is that right?! good god someone please check my math). some areas are super dense, some are totally empty – the percentage of any given areas fill is based on the color separation. i spent 6 hours on each of the C,M, and Y channels and 4 on the black. all with no certainty that it was going to work…but it had to work, right?

ran the screens from these positives and planned to print the colors from light to dark – YMCK – and thinned the middle 2 colors to allow for overprint and transparency.

yellow. ok no big deal. lets do this 100 times:

let those dry, restack them and register the next color…here goes magenta:

registration was pretty solid considering the non computer generated loose dots. now lets do this another 100 times. let those dry, restack them and register the next color…here goes cyan:

starting to get decent skin tone and amazed that the rosette pattern is starting to show and hold. thats the litmus test that its working. the angles are correct, the colors are blending. holy shit, this is working. let those dry, restack them and register the next color…here goes the clincher and final color, black:

and there it is. every pull had slightly varied results – different squeegee pressure and all kinds of variables give every print just a bit of its  own character. ill be honest. im pretty stoked at the final result.

i have a few left for sale here:

this print will be displayed at our GRANDer OPENING this sat (12.1.12). it will also be for sale as well. you are invited, heres more info.

and thank you for reading thru this. if you have any questions or want to talk process, add to it, or ANYTHING please comment. i definitely plan on doing more of these. im constantly reading and learning and refining the process. id love to hear from you.

now, if i lose these positives youll hear me flipping tables from across the river.
dan rugh



a day in the life…

Today at Commonwealth Press is a day like every other. We started our day by realizing the parts that were ordered for our dryer (the thing that cures the ink on every single t-shirt we print) didn’t ship and won’t be here till tomorrow at the earliest. To catch you up to speed a bit on the dryer… yesterday towards the end of the day a fan in the control panel of the dryer died causing the wires to overheat, melt, blow some fuses, and melt the fuse box. “No big deal” says Corey, “BA tore it apart and is re-wiring it”.

Besides the dryer, also on the list today is meeting with Penn Brewery to discuss the recipe for Commonwealth Press Ale. A beer they will brew for us that will be available in stores in packaging we designed and will hand screen print. If you know us at all you know what an amazing dream come true making our own beer is for us.

Then there is the meeting with the owner of the warehouse space we rent. When we moved in, it had been empty for about 10 years or so. Since then we’ve demoed, cleaned, painted, and re-imagined pretty much every inch of the 10,000 or so square feet of the place. Now, we have to cross our fingers and hope all that work isn’t going to factor into a rent increase that we can’t afford and will force us out of the spot we’ve made our own.
Speaking of our warehouse, we’ve been sharing that space with Lisa and the girls of Sapling Press for a while now. Last year we had we a grand opening party (about a year late) and part of today’s schedule is planning the reprise of that party, the grandER opening, for 12.1.12. It will also be one of the last times you’ll be able to appreciate CWP and Sapling Press together in the same space. Sapling Press will be moving into their own store front and it is with heavy hearts that we watch them go. They’ve been great space-mates but they are growing and need a new space and we couldn’t be prouder or happier for them.

If you’ve been to our store front recently, you most likely met Marissa. She has been turning our former production / cobbled together retail space into an actual store front. The transformation has been incredible to watch and she is just getting started. We will actually have stock of our designs (crazy I know!) for your holiday shopping this year! In addition to purchases made in our store, we’ve redesigned our online store ( and are going to be at Handmade Arcade again this year! We’ve also been printing benefit shirts for Dave Whaley and family to help with the medical bills they incurred recently after Dave was brutally attacked. All proceeds from the shirts will be giving to Dave and family, so if you’d like to support them you can pick up a shirt in our store.

Add to that printing t-shirts, doing web design, designing logos and helping brand other small businesses and all the other “day to day” stuff we do to keep the lights on and it’s just another day at Commonwealth Press. Ups and downs, but typically more ups, and thats your typical day here. Support small business. Support your local screen printers.

How I Helped Diversify CWP!

Hi everyone! My name is Andrea and I am the newest employee here at CommonWealth Press, and I’m a girl*! If you stop by the shop on E. Carson St. you may find me, barely visibly, behind a display table. I like it this way…sneak attack! I can not express enough how stoked I am to be a part of this family. The first time I heard about CommonWealth Press I was about 14 years old when my brother came here for his t-shirt printing needs. Cut to me ten years later working here and loving it.

This whole adventure came about when Dan Rugh hit me up on THE Facebook asking if I wanted to work on some shirts that were a little more unique than the typical Pittsburgh shirts they have in the store. After double checking that the message was in fact meant for me, I agreed. A few coffee meetings later, I am happy to say I created two awesome designs to be printed in the near future (so keep a look out!!!!). To my surprise, during one meeting The Dan’s offered me this part time position I am currently sitting at, right now, in real life. The rest is history, as they say. I assume “they” are very smart, and doing quite well for themselves.

If you were wondering who lovingly puts the orders together and trucks them to the post office so they get to you for your wearing pleasure, it’s me! Although, if you are ever dissatisfied with what you receive, Dan Rock did it.

You are reading the first of many posts I will be doing, so buckle up! I guarantee it will be a bumpy ride traveling on the copious amount of bunny trails I tend to go on, but we will all be on them together and that is the most important.

This is my photo inspiration..the best model I know.


*the reason CWP is now diversified.




we (CommonWealth Press and Sapling Press) are opening our doors for yet another print-your-own party.
this one is going to be set up so you can print your own valentines cards just in time for valentines day… WED FEB 8th from 6-9

you dont need ANY experience what so ever…we will be creating 8 screen print and 2 letter press stations – each with a different design – then cutting you loose to print your faces off. we are designing everything so they will not only work as a single print but will also over print in combinations to work together in an *infinite amount of variations – so if you want to print one station over top of the next over the next over the next – youll be creating your very own one-of-a-kind card for that special someone. then print another for that other special someone. and then another for that other other special someone. (damn, you really get around)

and if you dont have a special someone, we will have some designs for that too….and beer. that always helps.

so this is the official invite and announcement BUT we have VERY limited space so secure your spot now.

tickets are $30 each and include snacks, beverages (beer/pop), a killer playlist by DJ PRINTSBURGH and as many cards as you want to print (within reason and/or until our stock runs out).

you can reserve your spot right now – hit the ADD TO CART button below. space is (very) limited.

THANKS! hope to see you there -

(tickets are no longer available)

*not really infinite – i just didnt feel like doing the math




our very grand opening


Last night was amazing.

I know amazing is an overused word but I mean it sincerely. Our warehouse grand opening was something I had been dreaming of for over 10 years, no kidding.

Apologies for the nostalgia but I bought my first press because it fit my 8x8x6 basement. Then I spent the next 3 years down there, printing hunched over because the ceiling was shorter than I was. When my wife started it only eliminated space. 2 of us crawling over each other to print, or fold, or whatever…commonwealth press has always been a cramped but determined situation.

Since then we have turned every space we ever occupied into a printshop (whether it wanted to be one or not). First our basement, then a loft above the beer distributor, then the shop on carson, they all worked – but we sure as hell forced it.


Now into our current warehouse space – arms stretched out and up as far as we can stretch. I know that doesn’t sound like that big of a thing but its huge, literally. Trust me we aren’t taking it for granted. We know why this is all possible and I guess that’s why it was such a proud and humbling moment – looking at everyone that has supported us, that came to celebrate with us. These are all faces that have made this space and our very means of making a living possible.

So thank you. Thank you for coming to our event. Thank you for sharing your time with us. Thank you for giving a shit about supporting a small local business and being the reason for our growth. I’m honored to work with you.
Thank you. For everything.

I promise we wont let you down.

sincerely (and on behalf of shannon and all of commonwealth press),
dan rugh

Notes on our event:

The letterpress studio is Sapling Press – run by the very talented Lisa Krowinski.
The food was catered by Pipers Pub here in the south side. I cannot recommend them enough, but I certainly will try.
We had Clover Bakery make our custom keystone shaped cookies:
cloverbakeryllc at Phone. 412-849-5593
The beer was all local and as follows:
Penn Brewery:     Penn Kaiser Pils,Penn Pilsner,Allegheny Pale Ale
East End Brewing co: Fat Gary
Full Pint: 1 Lager and 1 Amber,
Flat Rock: Incline plane ale.

Also, we have a limited amount of invitations left over. If you would like one as a keepsake – please let me know or just stop by.  They are 2 color screenprinted with 3 spot letterpress – and one color screened on the envelope. One of my favorite pieces to date.