Impressed with Letterpress

I recently made a very bold, but exciting decision. It was gutsy, and possibly stupid, but I don’t regret it.

I am going to make my own wedding invitations. I am going to letterpress them, and I am going to design my own custom plate from scratch. It’s going to be so great!

If you don’t know, letterpress is a form of printing that presses plates into soft paper leaving an inked impression. It’s almost like engraving the paper with a fancy stamp; that’s the best way I can describe it.

It all started at Blick, while I was picking up something for my brother’s art show. After I won my free paintbrush playing the spin-the-wheel game and waited in the longest art store line ever (darn you finals at the Art Institute!), I caught a glimpse of the Lifestyle Crafts letterpress kit. I literally spun on my heals. IMG_5785 At the time, all I knew about letterpress was what I learned at my Paper Source class, and that was that it was expensive to have done for wedding invitations. So when I saw the kit, visions of making my own letterpress invites danced in my head. I came home and immediately did all the research I could on DIY letterpressing.

I read review after review on letterpress kits and made a very extensive spreadsheet on the costs involved. It was really important, because the kit wasn’t cheap. It listed at $169. So if I was going to commit to buying the press, I had to commit to making over 131 invitations, using a craft method that I had never tried before. That was quite a gamble for me, given the fact that there was a very good chance that the press wouldn’t work as well as I wanted or that I would just be bad at it.

This is how my spreadsheet turned out. I found every thing I needed and how much it would cost to make 135 invitations. It came out to be $2.73 per invitation. This was much cheaper than other letterpress invitations for sale, but let’s be honest, I was never going to pay to have letterpress invitations made. If this mission was failed or aborted, I would probably just settle for digitally printed invitations.

Item Quantity Unit Price Price
Letterpress Kit 1 $169.00 $169.00
Main Invite A7 (5×7) (Packs of 25) 6 $6.99 $41.94
Reception or website Card A2 (4.25×5.5) (Could skip) (packs of 40) 4 $6.99 $27.96
RSVP #17 (3.375×2.5) (Packs of 50) 3 $6.99 $20.97
Return envelope (Packs of 50) 3 $6.99 $20.97
Custom Invite Plate + small logo 1 $40.00 $40.00
RSVP plate + something (thank you, return address, skyline) 1 $40.00 $40.00
Total $368.82
Unit Total 135 $2.73

The more I looked into it though, the more I had to have it. Four days later, I was back at Blick to buy my new toy.

Here’s where things get exciting. I mentioned my new obsession to my friend earlier in the day, and she mentioned that she had a rewards card that would get me %10 off. She wasn’t positive it would work, because it was linked to her name, but she let me borrow it just in case. Heck, that was going to be $16! I got to Blick, and they had one letterpress kit left. I practically pushed people out of my way, even though I’m pretty positive I was the only one within a hundred miles that was interested in it. I picked it up, practically hugged it, and gave it one final read-through. Yep, I had to have it.

It was totally worth the $169, I just knew it. So I waltzed on over to the cash register like a child who just saved enough money to buy an ice cream cone. I gave the worker my rewards card, which worked without question, and he gave me my total: $84. I wanted to scream and hug him. I could NOT believe it! I got out of the store as fast as I could because I was convinced there had to be an error and if I stayed too long he’d make me pay more money. I checked my receipt several times when I got outside, and I’m still not sure how it got so low. But it was fantastic. With my surprise discount, my cost dropped down to $2.10 per invite. Perfect.

Saying that I was excited would be an understatement. I came home, and immediately tore it open. IMG_5788I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this bad boy does even more than letterpress! It also debosses and serves as a cutting tool (almost like a manual Cricut). The kit came with everything I needed to start letterpressing right away (however, not everything I needed to clean up afterwards, so pick up some baby wipes and olive oil while you’re out). I read the manuals and even more directions online, and then I finally got started.
I made two cards. I made an “I love you” card for my fiance, for totally encouraging me in my lofty crafting endeavor and making me feel super cool about it. I also made a “Thank you” card for my friend for letting me borrow her rewards card.

The kit worked like a dream! I got it right the very first time. The letters and shapes left a crisp indent in the paper and the ink came out crystal clear. I was really impressed!
The next step is designing my custom plates for my invitations. You can design a file in Illustrator or Photoshop and get a plate made in two weeks! How cool is that?! So that’s my current project. I’ll let you know how it goes!

So, if you have any interest in letterpress or making your own wedding invitations, you can totally do it!

4 thoughts on “Impressed with Letterpress

  1. Pingback: MAD STYLE Cocktail Party | EmJoyable

  2. Pingback: Card-making | EmJoyable

  3. Pingback: *Wedding Craft* – Cubby Blue Gift Bags | EmJoyable

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