April 15, 2010

Adventures in Letterpress: Save Our Date Edition

Finally! I am in the calm between the mid-semester flurry and the final exam crush. To fill my time, I've put in many hours on the printing press to turn out a couple of projects for myself and some friends.

I finished this run of 75 save the date cards a couple of days ago. The hand lettering was done by the delightful Lisa Ridgely. The rest of the design was done by me, using my new favorite tech toy, Adobe Illustrator. The cards were printed on 110 lb. florescent white Crane Lettra, a luxurious paper designed specifically for letterpress printing.

Every time I do a run on one of my presses, I find new ways to increase the efficiency of my process. This time around, I took a tip from Boxcar Press that they made for hand inking photopolymer plates (seen above) and requested that they not trim the edges of my photopolymer plate order. I then took those edges and used them as bearer strips along the sides of the plate I was inking. These bearers keep my roller (also known as a brayer) level and at the same height as the plate while inking. This little trick facilitated more uniform ink coverage on the plate, and it saved me a bunch of time in not having to wipe up smudges accidentally left by my uneven hand on parts of the plate I didn't want printed (the blue areas in the image above).

I also took the sage advice of a poster on the letterpress listserv from the University of New Brunswick that I subscribe to, and built my own drying racks. The above rack cost me a total of $3 to make. I used two slinkies ($1 each at Target) and taped them to a piece of scrap wood ($1 in the As Is section at IKEA). It was super cheap to construct, holds a good amount of paper, and saves me tons of space. Before, I was laying cards out flat on every flat surface in my home!

Next project: personal calling cards.


dashreeve said...

That is awesome!!

Stephanie said...

I love that drying rack. :) Can't wait to see the personal calling cards - those will be so unique and fun!

James said...

Thanks for the compliments, Andy and Stephanie! These were a lot of fun to work on, and I'm working on some new projects today. I'll post about them soon.