Reported by Dana Vitek
I have long admired the look of letterpress, and have happily shelled out more than $6 for ONE letterpressed card. Letterpress just looks (and feels) so sophisticated. So I was very excited to try out the L Letterpress and Epic 6 Combo Kit from Lifestyle Crafts.
The Epic Combo Kit comes with everything you need to get started letterpressing. The Printing Plates are clear, rigid plastic shapes that are flat on the back. I applied the Adhesive Sheet to the back of the Printing Plates, and got busy arranging them on the Letterpress Platform.
|Printing Plate with adhesive backing|
I squirted some of the light blue ink onto the acrylic plate, and rolled it out with the included brayer.
|Light blue ink rolled out onto the included acrylic plate|
After rolling the ink out, I used the brayer to apply the ink to the Printing Plates, which were attached to the letterpress platform with the thin, double-sided adhesive sheets:
I then loaded the L Letterpress A2 paper onto the platform, closed the lid, and rolled it through the Epic 6 machine:
Tada! That was quick! And painless!
Here’s a shot at an angle; hopefully you can make out the beautiful debossing. It’s lovely in person.
I wanted to try a few different combinations, and discovered a few pitfalls along the way.
|See that ink just hanging out there? Clean that up first.|
It can be tricky to get the right amount of ink onto the plates. Too much ink and it will splatter or smear; too little ink and the coverage isn’t perfect. I found that erring on the side of too little ink is better.
|Not too shabby…|
Here’s an example of both too much and too little ink on the same card. I’m nothing if not efficient. There was too much ink on the “g” of “thinking” and not enough on the brackets around the “you”
I found that the printing plates with the thin lines work better than the ones with thicker lines or more solid areas. I really had the best luck with this wavy line motif, so much so that I made a bunch of them, swapping out the greeting. I’ll be able to customize them for the recipient, and most of the work is already done!
I also figured that while I had all the stuff out, I would run a bunch of the word printing plates through at once. I’ll be able to add a touch of letterpressed class to my regular cards just by cutting around the greeting I need:
So now I can add something special to my otherwise lackluster cards!
I wanted to check out whether or not you really need to use the fancy L Letterpress Paper.
The short answer: yes.
I tried the letterpressing process on two other papers (PaperTreyInk’s White Cardstock, and Fabriano Medioevalis Folded Card (unfolded), and while they look nice, they hardly debossed at all. The L Letterpress paper has a soft hand to it; it allows for compression, whereas the others are pretty compressed as-is… there’s no room for the paper fibers to move around.
I know it’s hard to tell in the photographs, but trust me… the L Letterpress paper is the way to go. It comes in several typical invitation sizes, as well as mini-cards, and in both white and ivory.
Another great thing about the Epic Six is that in addition to letterpress, it can also be used for die-cutting. In fact, Lifestyle Crafts has released a bunch of great dies that will appeal to both the trendy, and classic, among us.
The die-cutting function is pretty typical… layer the die, cardstock and cutting mat onto a platform, and roll it through. There’s a great video tutorial on their website that tells you how to not only use their dies, but other companies’ dies and embossing folders as well. LOVE THAT! It’s so nice when a company designs around what I already own!
|Two of the Bloom dies|
|Epic Six in action!|
|perfect cuts through Stampin’ Up cardstock|
Here are some of the finished cards. The beauty of letterpress is that less is more. Of course, a little bling never hurt anyone!
- I can letterpress my own cards. That’s HUGE!
- Letterpress paper is available in multiple sizes and colors, and is really, really nice.
- Epic Six is a multi-tasker; die-cutting AND letterpress!
- Can use other companies’ dies and embossing folders in the Epic Six; it comes with different base plates to make the sandwiching easy, and there’s a video tutorial to help.
- Modern, trendy, and traditional printing plates and cutting dies available.
- Lifestyle Crafts has an option for Custom Printing Plates! You can letterpress your own design! Epic! (pun intended)
- The new cutting mat for the die cutting system is not clear, it’s made of self-healing material and won’t crack like other clear plastic plates.
- Hoo-boy, letterpress can be a mess.
- The ink is sticky and can be hard to clean. USE THEIR WIPES… they work. I tried baby wipes… they don’t work.
- The new cutting mat for the die cutting system is not clear, it’s made of self healing material; I can’t tell when I’ve moved the cardstock off of the die until it’s too late.
I have so many ideas brewing, and can’t wait to spend some more time getting inky!
Special Deal for our readers:
Use the promo code: CRAFTCRITIQUE – for 20% off Lifestylecrafts.com through the end of April!
Our friends at Lifestyle Crafts have generously offered an Epic Combo Kit as a giveaway to one of our readers! Answer this question in the comments below to be entered:
One comment per person, per Vendor Spotlight: Lifestyle Crafts article (there will be three). Winner will be chosen on Saturday, April 23, 2011.
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