Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ghettopress - the Tutorial

Am I the only person who has read Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49?"
Just in case I am, let me illustrate the theme of the book with letterpress, which is all the rage right now. I'm sure if you've been to one of my webinars, and seen my subscriptions, you already know this. I love the look of letterpress.

And, as a compulsive stamper personality, when I love some technique, I immediately have to purchase everything remotely associated with executing the technique. So I, of course, set out to buy myself a letterpress. This is where it gets all Pynchon-y.

Start with Google. Sounds easy enough, right? I'm a Google QUEEEEEEN. My veins are filled with a Googlie substance. I live for all things Google and am a search master. Until the letterpress.

Go ahead. Try to buy one.

You will find bazillions of sites with obscure references to these presses - the tabletop and full size versions. But they are strangely and uniformly vague. Most direct you back to a single, omnipressy site, which is itself vague and laden with insider talk and has circular links that go nowhere.

This is an ancient and clandestine art. Should I choose to follow the little posthorn signs, like in The Crying of Lot 49, there's a small chance I might end up in a junkyard in Gilroy, CA, making a deal with a man with one eye, who only speaks in James Joyce verse and is accompanied by an anteater wearing a bellman's cap.

But I have no patience for such things. I am a stamper. I need to order things and expedite shipping. I need to go to my nearest store and pick up urgently needed crafty things. I have no time for Pynchon anymore.

So I made my own damn letterpress. What do you think about that? I call it the ghettopress.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, letterpress is a combination of printing and debossing. These two steps are separate. So you print in one step in the elusive machine, and deboss in another.

After spending a quarter of a million dollars and staring at an anteater. Or, just do this.

Punch yourself a template out of a post-it note. I used the full heart punch.

Lay this down on your card and stamp or sponge something in it.

I stamped Park Avenue Patterns (see Jenn? :) ) in Pacific Point Blue. Say THAT three times fast.

Then, I sponged more blue around the edges, because the stamp isn't quite big enough to completely fill the heart.

Gently trace the outline of the heart with your embossing stylus until you can see it on the inside of the card.

Then make yourself a recession letterpress ghetto template. I did this by taking three scraps with the heart already punched out of it that were lying all over my desk, and sticking them together.

On the back of the ghettopress, I used Dotto to temporarily hold it to my card. Put this on the INSIDE of your card, lining it up with the faint outline.

Go back to the front of your card and begin debossing. I made the edges with my stylus to get the lines sharp and did the inside with my Empressor. What is cool is after you deboss for a while the paper gets very shiny, like little anteater eyes.

It's really a cool technique, and has all sass of letterpress with none of the one eyed glaring.

More on this technique tomorrow, or possibly tonight, as I heart it up on the way into Valentine's Day!

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  1. Good Morning SweetiePie: I actually have my initials
    (doesn't look like the right spelling) :o( in large font from a letter press. I used to work at a printing place and they were getting rid of all the old things and I grabbed them and an old cutter. Sure wish that I had known then I would be stamping down the road, the paper cut offs that they threw away was crazy. Have a great day. Hugs n' Stuff, Lynne

  2. Dumb question, but how exactly do you do the debossing part?

    love the card!

  3. Ahhhhhh, v-e-r-y kewl!

    I like to do the letterpress thing with embossing folders ... 'cuz I'm lazy.

    HEY! So guess what?!? I got a totally kewl packie in the mail. Is that not the neatest SU pencil case ... in the history of pencil cases! At least that's what I thin' it is ... Whatever it is, I lurve it to death. I will cherish this for-evuh! Thank you, Lydia!!

    ~Hugs, Deb

  4. Oh, my! I think I have my "Lydia project to steal" all identified! :-)

    And one of my former customers (who is so amazingly allergic to my cat that she became a downline because she could not come into my house and still breathe!) has a real, genuIne letter press in her house. Really! I'll let you know if I ever find her blog address.

  5. Lydia,

    Awesome card and technique. More, more, more instructions, yes please. Man, now I want that stamp set! Love, love, love that card!

    Lisa A.

  6. very cool ghetto recession letterpress. how do you think of these things? it must be the fuel from the short quad breve latte!

    i think the instructions are clear, and i'm still waiting for the hormone induced fog to clear so that i can decide what stamps to buy. like what you did with pap though.

    wondering if you've tried making a background or a panel with them. i've only seen one pic of one, and i didn't like it. just wonderin'...

  7. I actually bought that book at Goodwill because it looked intriguing, and will now commence reading it based on your interpretation and the anteaters, etc! Such a beautiful technique. You are the queen of much more than Google. <3


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