Tips on using the L Letterpress™ tool
- This tool takes a bit of practice—trial and error—to master, but once you get the hang of it, you really appreciate the looks it can create.
- For an elegant look, use the printing plates with no ink. The pattern will be pressed into the paper, making a “blind” impression. If there is any residual ink on the printing plates, however, this ink will show up (make sure your plates are completely clean before trying this technique).
- A common problem is rolling out too much ink on the ink base. This causes the roller and the printing plates to get over-inked, and makes the edges of the design bleed. Use the minimal amount of ink at first; you can always add some more if you need to. The ink should not look goopy, it should be a smooth, thin layer.
- The letterpress ink dries very slowly. It will smudge if you handle it too soon after printing. Spread out your cards and let them dry overnight. Alternatively, you could help the process along with a heat embossing tool or hairdryer. Make sure you test the dryness of your cards before stacking or handling them.
- The ink on the ink base and roller will still be good the next day when left overnight—the ink shouldn’t be too dry. If it is, simply add a tiny bit more ink and continue printing.
- The cleaning cloths and deep cleaning solution are great tools used to clean the letterpress ink off of surfaces. Since the ink is not water based, it will not come off with soap and water. I rubbed the plates with the cleaning cloths while still on the press, then ran it through the Epic Six™ with a folded paper towel instead of letterpress paper. It helped to remove excess ink.
- If there is a spot on the roller that doesn’t ink up, increase the pressure while rolling on the ink base until the roller is evenly coated.
- While inking the printing plates, roll the brayer on the ink base often to even out and re-apply the ink on the roller.
- Just before you close the letterpress lid to print, inspect the printing plate area closely to see if any ink got on the lid or on the edges of the printing plates. Clean these with a cleaning cloth and carefully reapply ink if needed.
- If you run your card through the Epic Six™ and you notice there are impressions of the edges of printing plate (not the inked part) in your card, try taking out the packing sheet so that the “sandwich” is less thick. If there is hardly any impression, add a packing sheet.
- The beauty of letterpress is that every print is unique. Imperfections should be expected, as that is a part of the process, and it gives your projects a handmade feel.
Supplies: (Find these supplies and more at www.paperwishes.com)
- L Letterpress™ starter kit (link)
- Epic Six™ Tool (link)
- Vintage Roses ribbons (1/4” wide black/cream gingham) (link)
- Zots™ adhesive dots (link)
- Gold metallic paper (link)
- Black cardstock (link)
- Letterpress cleaning cloths (link)
- Deep cleaning solution (link)
- Paper towels
General Instructions for ALL letterpress projects
- Choose your printing plate(s). Cut an adhesive sheet to fit the plate. Peel off one side of the adhesive sheet and place the adhesive on the back of the printing plate. Peel off the other side and adhere the plate(s) to the inside of the clear lid.
- There should be a white sheet in the base of the letterpress tool underneath the clear mat; this is a packing sheet used to create a deeper impression when you roll it through. You can make additional packing sheets by cutting regular white paper to size.
- Squeeze a tiny amount of ink (smaller than a pea) onto the center of the ink base. Roll the brayer over the ink, until there is a thin, even coat of ink on the roller and the base. Carefully roll the ink onto the printing plates. If you get ink on the clear lid, wipe off with letterpress cleaning cloths.
- Position your card on the base of the letterpress tool. Use the foam placement guides to keep the card in place if necessary. You can close the letterpress halfway to see where the printing plates will go on your card. When you’re done positioning your card, close the letterpress tool.
- Insert the L Letterpress™ into the Epic Six™ tool and crank the handle counter-clockwise to feed it through. Open the press to reveal your card. Let the card dry, preferably overnight. Embellish the card with cardstock, ribbons, Dazzles™, etc. as desired.
- Clean up: Wipe the ink off of the printing plates with the letterpress cleaning cloths. Use the deep cleaning solution spray if desired. Fold a paper towel and place it in the press. Run it through Epic Six™ so the excess ink comes off on the towel. Repeat cleaning if necessary. Peel off the printing plates carefully so that they don’t break. Peel off the double-sided adhesive stuck to the lid. Wipe off any remaining cleaning solution with a paper towel.