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Review | Sizzix Letterpress Plates

Last year I bought this “Lots of Love” letterpress plate from Stampin’ Up! to make some homemade valentines.  That didn’t actually happen, but I finally pulled it out this year to give it a try.  And I am hooked!  Here is a quick rundown on my experience with the Sizzix letterpress plate, as well as a few tricks I learned.

The basic instructions are:

  1. Apply ink directly to the letterpress plate
  2. Create the proper sandwich of plates for your die cutting machine
  3. Run through the die cutter

The Sizzix letterpress plate is specifically marketed for Big Shot users, but I have a Cuttlebug.  So after reading the instructions, I had to make a few guesses to adapt for a different die cut machine.  This is the sandwich I started with: Platform “A,” inked Letterpress Plate, Cardstock, Cutting Pad “B.”

This worked just fine for transferring the ink to the cardstock, but did not create a letterpress impression in the cardstock.  So I added two more pieces of cardstock as shims and got a great result.  You can see the difference here – original sandwich on the left and altered sandwich with shims on the right.

The piece on the right used shims for a deeper impression.

Back view, so you can really see the difference a shim makes.

I also tried using the letterpress plate with some pink cardstock tabs and without any ink.  I like the results, but I think I needed one more piece of cardstock shim for a deeper impression.

Although the instructions specifically mention Sizzix die cutting machines, they did have some very helpful hints.  One is that your letterpress images may get skewed if you are using an older cutting pad that has a lot of impressions already on it.  So I elected not to use this one:

I used a new cutting pad and didn’t have any issues.  The instructions also give a few inking tips for the letterpress plates, especially if you plan to use different colors.  Since I only used one color, I inked the plate directly using a regular-size Brilliance inkpad.


Pros:

  • Really inexpensive way to get the look of letterpress at home – plates retail for under $10
  • Can be adapted for any brand of die cut machine
  • Easy to use and clean
Cons:
  • Instructions are geared for the Big Shot, so you will need to do some testing if you have a different machine
  • Had a little trouble with ink smearing as you create the sandwich
  • Not enough designs available – most are holiday specific
What do you think?  Have you tried the Sizzix letterpress plates?  Do you plan to now? Leave a comment and let us know!
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Cassandra has been scrapbooking and stamping for more than 15 years. Paper is her passion, and she says that she grew up wanting to own a stationery shop. She describes herself as "crafty" and enjoys projects ranging from card making and photography to quilting and crafts for kids. She was previously in corporate marketing but now spends her days at home with her young daughter. You can read more about Cassandra's adventures in crafting at the fresh crafts blog.
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14 Responses to Review | Sizzix Letterpress Plates

  1. Avatar
    Amy K March 21, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    Thanks for this post. I have had a couple of these plates, but didn’t have much success with them in my Cuttlebug. I look forward to trying your suggestions, and see if I can get better results.

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    Linda E. March 21, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    I hadn’t really paid attention to the letterpress dies but after reading your critique, I’m going to try it. This is why I like Craft Critique.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Linda

  3. Avatar
    Kathy March 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    I have been looking at these letterpress dies. I can’t figure out if ALL of them will fit in the Sizzix ( like the dies from AC Moore)…very poor directions from the company that makes them! Guess maybe I will buy one with a coupon and see what I can do with it! Thanks for the tips!

  4. Avatar
    Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor March 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Oooo very interesting. I haven’t seen the letterpress plates yet. Will have to keep and eye out for them and give them a try. Thank you for the added tips!

    I have been using die cutters for cutting polymer clay with some awesome results, and embossing metal with the new Vintaj plates. Anything new I can do with my new BigKick machine is a bonus!

  5. Avatar
    Maria March 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    I have a few of the Stampin’ Up!letterpress plates and I love them! I can use any color ink and have a gorgeous background for my cards.

  6. Avatar
    frances joy March 24, 2012 at 5:39 am #

    ooops which one is better, cuttlebug or sizzix bigshot?

  7. Avatar
    Amy Carter March 27, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    Great article Cassandra! Keep it up!

  8. Avatar
    jan March 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    I haven’t seen or tried one of these but I really like this one. Thanks for the tips. I was wondering what type of ink pad you used and it looked great!

  9. Avatar
    c.darwin March 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    I used the Brilliance ink pad in “Rocket Red Gold” for this review. It is very shimmery and pinky-gold in person. Made by Tsukineko and available at Michael’s and local stamp stores. Thanks for all the feedback!

  10. Avatar
    Nancy S April 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Question: In ‘real’ letterpress, there is no impression on the back of the paper, only an indentation on the front. This, I think, is what makes it different from dry embossing. I read somewhere that certain papers work better than others to give this effect. Have you tried any of the letterpress papers made by Lifestyle Crafts? Do they let you get a flat surface on the back?

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    Crafy Mommy August 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I do not own, nor have I ever seen, the letter press plates. However, I learned a trick a few years back using embossing folders (which offer a wide range of designs, depending on the brand) and my Cuttlebug. Ink one side of the folder with an ink pad(dye ink for more vivid, brighter results or pigment inks for paler or duller results). Create your “sandwich” for the Cuttlebug, and send through. For more information and pictures, see my website at http://www.craftsupplyinfo.com

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    Blinds Solihull November 16, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    This looks great, thanks for sharing this post. Letterpressing looks like a lot of fun!

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    Mary R. December 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Iam so glad you did this on this love plate I bough it like 2 yrs ago and I couldnt get it to work I broken one cuttle bug BC of the wrong sandwitch so I was waitting on some one to show me what I did wrong or how to do it thank you so much so it Plate A and the letter plate inked up and cs and the B plate this is so great to know thank you so much.

  14. Avatar
    bettyannmanghi January 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    AND they are on the clearance rack! What kind of ink did you use?