DIY letterpress thank you card

okay, kittens.  here it is -- my letterpress class report.  i know i promised to write about my adventures in letterpress about five thousand years ago, but ye ole wedding and computer meltdown slowed me down.  as a result of my tardiness, i will make this a two part series.

also, to those lovely readers who contacted me regarding class details, thank you for your patience.   a special tip of the tiara to you.

now please keep in mind 1). this was a beginning letterpress class at otis art & design in los angeles, therefore, i don't know what other schools/classes are like;  2).  all notes are stored precariously in my head, so proceed with caution;  and 3). pictures were taken with my camera phone under fluorescent lights, so details are not fabulous.

okay, let's boogie...

DIY letterpressing class otis mixing soy ink

the class supplies several ink colors for student use.  most are soy based and can be mixed to achieve the color of your dreams.  black ink, however, tends to print on the dark gray side (at least it did for me), so if you want a true black, you may need to test out different inks or consult an expert.  also, inks print a lot lighter than they look on the mixing plate.  if the ink looks orange, most likely it will print yellow.  if it looks red, you may get pink.

Letterpress class DIY funiture wood metal

you will learn how to set up a press bed.  above is a set up for photopolymer plates, which is what i used to print my designs.  my instructor and letterpress guru, gerald lange, makes excellent photopolymer plates.  prices vary, but my plates ranged between 38.00-65.00 depending on the size and intricacies of my design.  some students didn't create plates, and instead worked with the array of metal and wood type available in the classroom.  more on that in a later post.

Photopolymer plate letterpress

after peeling and sticking the reusable photopolymer plate to the metal grid plate, it's basically like a game of tetris getting it into place.  you take different lengths and widths of metal and wood blocks (called "furniture") and set your bed.

DIY letterpress inking thank you card before after

then you dab a little ink on your rollers and let 'em spin.

the longest (and least glamorous) part of the letterpress process is adjusting your rollers and aligning (or "registering") your image to the paper.  it can take hours.  the actual process of printing is the payoff.

DIY letterpress class otis vandercook

students supply their own paper.  other printing materials and machinery are available in the classroom.

i made about 60 of these pink "thanks, deer" cards in one night...

DIY letterpress thank you adler ring squirrel

and here is another thank you card i printed one day, because you can never say thank you enough.

DIY letterpress thank you card squirrel