Posts Tagged ‘Letterpress’

1st Feb 2013

Adventures in Letterpress: Hollow Book Invitation Set

This is actually my first full, solo letterpress project. It took me more time than I had originally anticipated, and there were definitely some things I would change for the future, but overall, I am very happy with how it turned out.

I wanted to do something special for my 25th birthday, so I decided to use books from my past. One of my favorites series growing up was the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. It also happens that this cover design was first introduced in the year I was born. Going along with mysteries theme, I hollowed out the books to “hide” the letterpress invitation set in it.

The save the dates (two sided postcard) use the same concept of books, with an old library check-out card. It is postcard sized and lists out the dates and locations of my previous birthday dinners dating back to 2007.

Save the Dates

Printing the postcard ended up being a lot trickier than I thought because I didn’t realize how hard it was to line up the two sides perfectly. I now know that you should always feed using the same corner since you are square from that corner and doing so will make sure that everything lines up perfectly when you print on both sides of the paper. Another caveat of printing on both sides is a decrease in the amount of “punch” you get from letterpress. The paper is only so thick so you have to play around with too much or too little impression.

The invitation set was what I was really looking forward to. I ended up putting together a design that would play with a Vandercook’s limitation in printing large areas well by inserting diagonal lines into the background of the design. It made the design more interesting and overall I had a really great response to the invitations. Another trick while printing is that the “Yountville” on the maps and direction page was actually printing too lightly so a small piece of masking tape was placed underneath where the paper would hit “Yountville” to give it slightly more punch and making it stand out more.


Hollowing out the books ended up being really time-consuming. Which I guess the entire letterpress printing process is too, but you don’t notice it as much because it is less monotonous and there’s always something you can adjust while printing. The best tutorial I found for hollowing out a book is from The only modification I made is that I ended up having to hollow out the entire book in order to fit the invitations in. So I was able to completely cut out all the pages and then slapping an interesting page into the back and gluing everything shut. I think that was much easier than trying to cut a page to fit precisely into the hole and pasting it in if you cut too deep.

The last part to the invitation set was the box itself. I found the perfect sized box to place the books into and created a label for it. If I had time, I would’ve letterpressed the label too, but I think it still turned out really nice. They were a bit costly to mail, but definitely worth it.


Client: Self
Pieces: Save the Date, Invitation Set, Box
Tools: Vandercook proof press, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, utility knife
Portfolio Link: Hollow Book Invite

18th Jul 2012

Lost My Train of Thought And Now I’m Told, That Love Will Save Your Soul*

I’m still determined to make July an amazing month! Finally finished my save the dates for my bday last night–even while having to do an unexpected call. But they’re done and beautiful! My first successful solo letterpress project! :)

But back to the call. It really wasn’t so much unexpected since I pretty much had a month’s heads up on it, but it still felt like a slap to the face. And then I almost called someone else out on all their BS. Oops. Maybe a good thing I wasn’t able to say what I wanted to to that person? #sorryimnotsorry.

At the same time, whatever. Like I’ve always said, I’m gonna continue to do me and not let little things get to me and get me down. Just kinda sucked because I realized the two people at the top of my call list were in Hong Kong (thank you Viber!) and Chicago. I can’t wait for the first to move back to CA, but the other is stuck in Chicago. And by stuck, I mean he does love it there (move West!!), haha.

Just trying to stay positive heading into August since it’s traditionally such a roller coaster month. It’s got my favorite day of the year (August 15th!), signifies end of summer and returns to Champaign when I was still at U of I, but it’s also known to be a bit crazy and unexpected. It’s also (for the past two seasons) been the worst month of Giants baseball, which is scary being so close to playoffs! No matter, just gonna take it one day at a time since there’s no use over-analyzing things when I could just be living in the present. :)

Things to look forward to in the next couple of months:
Imagine Dragons&Walk the Moon, Nick Kroll, Of Monsters and Men?, Imagine Dragons (again), Grouplove x2, L.A. Printer’s Fair, Napa (yay for visitors flying in!), Chicago/Champaign/Homecoming

*Grouplove – “Love Will Save Your Soul”

11th Jul 2012

Celebrate We Will, Because Life Is Short But Is Sweet for Certain. We’re Climbing Two by Two to be Sure These Days Continue*

July’s gonna be an excellent month! I’m pretty sad I won’t be able to go down to LA this weekend like I had originally planned to catch the LA premiere for CrankTank Studio‘s “I’m Fine Thanks” documentary (If you’re in LA, definitely check it out! Tickets are on EventBrite!).

I’m still looking forward to Imagine Dragons and Walk The Moon later this month, so I’m really really excited about it. Plus, missing out on two people birthdays this weekend made it pretty hard to say yes to driving down to LA for one day, and then driving back up in time to go to the Giants game on Sun with Matt and his gf! (CAINER is pitching!). It’s seriously fate that Cain’s my player; I always catch him pitching even when I don’t try to!

So that’s all a part of what’s been making this July so awesome. Also went white water rafting and boating early July which is one more thing to check off my list of things to do. Next up is (hopefully) finally skydiving on the 20th! And while we were already up in the Napa region for boating, I went to check out my birthday venue and FINALLY put down the deposit for the place. Which nicely segues into my next topic…invites and my adventures in letterpressing!

I just finished the first portion of letterpress classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book (SFCB) with Leigh of Meadow Press Books. Loved her as a teacher! I would definitely recommend her if you want to learn how to letterpress, although I’m sure the rest of the SFCB instructors are just as good! I liked this class because it was focused a lot more on metal and wood type which is nowhere as easy as using polymer plates. It requires to actually know how to lock up the press beds correctly. And the whole learning type setting is a topic I’m really interested in. Starting the advanced letterpress class tonight! Very excited since it’s a lot of advanced registration (alignment of different colors since each color is printed separately) :)

I just bought paper yesterday for my bday save the dates / partially invites and they’re not that bad (especially since I can buy local, so no shipping charges)! Haha.

This chart shows how much you can get out of a 26×40 parent sheet (parent sheets are the larger sheets of paper that gets cut down to your desired paper size) into the different sizes:
You need to leave room for cropping and the letterpress machine to grip onto the paper, but other than that, it’s a nifty chart to at least get an idea of how much to get out of a parent sheet.

I chose Crane’s Lettra this time around because that’s what I’m familiar with and readily available at Kelly Paper, but I’m excited to try out French Papers for my next project (whatever that may be…holiday cards? haven’t made those in a couple years!)

Did I really just get that excited about paper? YOU BET! :)

*Dave Matthews Band – Two Step

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