I feel like an evil genius! I figured out how to make my own letterpress contraption to use with my Big Shot Die Cutting machine, lookie at what I made:
Some cards made with my homemade letterpress and printing plates from Lifestyle Crafts.
Here I debossed the images without ink then used a brayer to add ink over the debossed designs.
You may be thinking “what’s the big deal? It looks like stamping” but that is only half of it because when you letterpress it debosses too! You can just plain emboss, ink the plate first and have a colored debossed image or you can run your paper through uninked then brayer ink (or swipe it with an inkpad) over it to highlight the raised design. It’s totally cool!
This is how it looks without inking. I like it!
Here I inked the crown with purple ink before printing. The card base was pressed uninked then I used the same purple inkpad to rouge the edges.
When I saw the home letterpress kit from Lifestyle Crafts I was intrigued but I wasnt about to spent $150 on a whim especially since I had a die cutter and zillions of rubber stamps already, they also have a starter kit that has the contraption that you use the printing plates with, ink and paper for $70 but that is still a lot of money in my book. So I took an old plexiglass cutting pad from my Big Shot, a piece of Masonite and some duck tape and made this:
I hinged the plexiglass plate to a peice of Masonite with duct tape to make my press.
The results of my Homemade snowflate printing plate.
I purchased the Everyday letterpress printing plate at AC Moore, I just about fell over yesterday when I saw that they had the whole line of products (and I had a 50% off coupon in my pocket.) The plates sell for $24 a set but with the coupon they were $12, a reasonable price for a few hours of fun and experimentation I think ;)
Here is the set I purchased, I really like it!
For my first experiment I used Rives BFK printmaking paper because you need soft thick paper to get the full effect. I used the adhesive that came with my plates (double-sided tape will work too), stuck a printing plate to the plexiglass side, put my paper on the Masonite side, closed the contraption and ran it through my Big Shot. The debossing was gorgeous!
Then I inked up the plate with a pigment inkpad, it looked OK but I got a much cleaner result when I used a soft rubber brayer to ink up my plate.
Then I tried the plates un-inked again and used a brayer to apply ink over the design. I like that a lot.
So then I thought I would try to make my own printing plates. I used thick stencil plastic that my SIL who is a quilter gave me and my Creative Hot Marks (woodburner) with the tapered stencil tip on it to cut my own plates. I made an Asian character, a frame, and a snowflake. I printed the Asian design on paper and placed it under the film so I could see it as I cut and the others I just took die cuts from the Cricut and cut around them, both ways worked equally as well. I had to use a craft knife to trim away some of the plastic burrs on the plates but they were quick to make and worked nicely.
Some homemade letterpress plates made with stencil plastic and a woodburner.
I used my homemade Asian plate for this. the background is a LC plate inked with gold before pressing.
I experimented with paper and it seems that the ticker the paper the better it worked. Watercolor paper and printmaking paper worked the best, DCWV textured cardstock worked very well too, I wasnt as pleased with regular cardstock and paper though. If you try this and don’t get any embossing you may need to shim (or pack as they call it over at Lifestyle Crafts) your contraption. For my homemade plates I place a sheet of rubber gasket under my homemade letterpress before cranking it through, for the purchased plates I used 2 sheets of cardstock under my press for a shim. Do not over pack it or you my crack your plates, I noticed little stress cracks on one of my plates when I used too thick a shim. I have been “making art” for a long time so i had a lot of supplies like brayers, ink and paper on hand, if you don’t it might be cheaper to get the kit if you are dying to try this craft.
I would love to try the Lifestyle crafts kit to see how it compares to mine, my niece is getting married and I have been asked to help with the invitations and I think these designs will be beautiful for that. If you try this let me know how it goes, I sure did have fun playing with this today ;) Till next time happy crafting!
Filed under: Product Reviews | Tagged: Big Shot, die cutter, homemade letterpress, how to, how to letterpress, letterpress, letterpress plates, Lifestyle crafts, make your own letterpress, printmaking, quickkuts | 35 Comments »