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 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!
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.
Studio Calico curates beautiful kits each month. However, when I had a monthly subscription, I never used up all the papers and embellishments before wanting other stuff. I also ended up buying A LOT of extra stuff — I literally have every Mr. Huey’s color — so that I wouldn’t have to spring for shipping. Eventually I had to cancel my monthly subscription.
But I still love the style they promote and their products. After seeing the pink ombre washi tape in an Amy Tan spread, I knew I had to have it. First, I tried finding the roll but apparently, some of Studio Calico’s stuff is limited edition and most people who were selling, were offering one or two yards for 4 bucks. I bit the bullet and bought the whole Outer Banks kit. In a testament to how much I love this washi tape, I also paid for shipping. Ridiculous but TOTALLY worth it. I’ve basically added it all over the place today. For example:
I have tons of washi and I think it’s fair to say that this one is my absolute favorite. I’m looking at my craft desk as I’m typing this… I have to pair this washi with some turquoise grosgrain ribbon. It’ll be amazing!
Other product I’m loving is the “Kraft” edition kit for Project Life. Project Life came out at some select Michael’s on Friday. The Kraft edition has been sold out online for weeks now so I was thrilled that I could get one at Michael’s and use a 40% coupon. I also really like the Midnight edition but between the two, the Kraft edition is more in sync with the rest of my current book. I’ve been doing Project Life since last September making my own cards. This set really makes it a lot easier to fill out a spread but I really enjoy creating unique cards for every event. They’ll be awesome though for books I make as gifts or vacation books.
On a completely different tangent, I picked up a pound of Angelcots this morning at Trader Joes. I have already eaten four of them. They’re AMAZING! I love Sundays!
I often see posters use color inspirations from fashionable outfits to guide a card. The “How May We Help you” section of my Oprah magazine really spoke to me and I used it to make a birthday card for my mom.
My color matching didn’t turn out quite right. For example. I didn’t expect the level of intensity from the Hero Arts shadow ink in Pale Tomato. I also realized that in addition to the color-scheme, I was really drawn to the wispiness of the design. Other than those two points, for my first color-inspired card, I would say it’s fun and cute. My mom can be really young at heart and the sentiment really fits her cute and whimsical nature. The sentiment comes from the “Good Times” Mama Elephant stamp set and stamped very cleanly using the foam pad Stampin Up Ink pad.
I used my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher to staple the ribbon to the card and tied a bow around the staple. So cute! It looked a little unfinished after I put on the sentiment so I added some sparkly ribbon. Voila!
Not exactly organized, but I love the colors and it’s so convenient!