I have never taken a class at Paper Source and following my experience in the Letterpress Class, I’m not sure that I’ll take another anytime soon.
A few years ago, I saw the Lifestyle Crafts Letterpress machine on sale for 50% off and almost purchased the platform. Most of the reviews for the machine and the letterpress platform were pretty awful so I passed.
Fast forward to the end of July. I’m in Paper Source and there’s a huge display for a Letterpress Machine and fliers for a Letterpress workshop. Folks on Studio Calico start posting about the upcoming Letterpress class and new letterpress tools. I’m really trying to avoid collecting stuff as fads fly by so I figured that I’d sign up for the class and try out the machine before I invest in any of SC’s awesome letterpress plates.
Before the class, I got super excited and read this really awesome post from Boxcar Press about tweaks that would make the Letterpress kit produce beautiful images. Unfortunately, I still have no idea if a true letterpress deboss and inking is possible with this machine because the class was pretty terrible. It should have been called an embossing and stamping class. In two hours, I think we were supposed to complete 8-10 cards. But the instructions were not clear, the card examples were pretty cheesy, and each person only had two chances to Letterpress. On top of that, the paper they provided us was super thin so the deboss was very shallow. Save one, the cards looked like beautifully stamped cards but not at all letterpressed.
The card colors were navy, orange, and gray. They were fun and preppy, especially when I started adding a bright green to everything. However, I really didn’t like the class designs so all the cards below are my attempt to jazz stuff up. These are the “letterpressed” cards.
The images are very impressive and clear; however, there was basically no debossing effect because we used very little packing and relatively thin cardstock,. The only exception is the leaf on the white strip above.
It’s even easier to see what I mean when the image is zoomed in. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but I thought that when you run your fingers across letterpressed prints, you’re supposed to marvel at how precisely ink is welled up in a noticeable depression.
No depression although it does look like a beautiful stamp job. Maybe I don’t understand what letterpress is? I wonder if I could just ink up my emboss folder with the ink?
This doesn’t mean that the L Letterpress can’t create a deep deboss – it’s just that this class did nothing to help me determine if it can. And until I know that it can create a super special deboss, I don’t know if I’m ready to add letterpress-light to my arsenal of goodness. I asked the instructor about using some thicker paper (something with higher cotton content maybe) and just got mumbles insinuating that the machine might break. On a tangent, the instructor’s language that night was an interesting hybrid of theatre geek and self-help guru and it felt a little bit like crafting with Robin William’s character in the Birdcage. A little entertaining but not very useful.
Each person spent on average 7 minutes with the letterpress platform. The other 113 minutes of the class, we played with stamps and embossing powder. Not to be a total product snob but I was also really disappointed by the supplies on hand for the class. All these awesome and inspiring people on YouTube, blogs, and different forums have raised my expectations of craft tools and I thought Paper Source should have much cooler supplies. When someone asked for a way to line up stamps, instead of producing a thingamajig or something like it, they had some cheesy and expensive stamp set that only let you line up the fuzzy letters that came in the set. They didn’t even give us a ruler. The foam tape curled into itself as soon as I took it off the adhesive sheet. Considering we spent 94.2% of the class embossing, the fact that there was only ONE emboss design out was also ridiculous. I know I’m being a brat calculating the time we spent with the machine but with the money we spent on the class, I should have just bought the darned thing.
On the positive side, I did get a chance to emboss my envelopes and the scraps we had available.
I really liked this “picante” emboss powder against the grey and blue. I added the washi when I got home. I love washi!
A close up of the embossing.
All in all:
Paper Source workshop = FAIL
L Letterpress = ??
The L Letterpress seems to make cleaner impressions than the letterpress kit from years ago. However, I still really want to know how well it works with thicker paper. My plan to try it out before taking the plunge didn’t work out but I’m looking forward to see how well it works for everyone else.