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My Top 5 Tips for Getting Great Results with the L Letterpress
1. Invest in a soft rubber brayer. Purchasing a 6″ Speedball Soft Rubber Brayer made a world of difference in my results, and it was more than worth the $10 investment.
2. Use roller bearers. Roller bearers ship with each set of Boxcar Press plates, and Lifestyle Crafts’ Ink Guide Stripes are available from their shop, as well as Amazon.com and Scrapbook.com. The bearers allow you to apply much more even pressure as you’re applying the ink to the plates and they, along with the brayer, made SUCH a difference in the quality of my prints.
3. Do a test run. I always run a piece of lighter weight cardstock through the platform, uninked, before I print on the higher quality (and much more expensive) paper to test placement of the plates and the paper. At this point, I’m not skilled enough to get it all right the first time, and this “test run” has saved me from ruining a lot of pricy paper.
4. Practice, practice, practice. Even with the new brayer and the roller bearers, my first prints weren’t that great because I didn’t have a good idea of how much ink I should apply, how much pressure I should apply to the brayer as I was inking the plates, and so on. With practice, I got (and continue to get) a better feel for what produces a great quality print, and I know that you will, too!
5. Have plenty of baby wipes on hand. Baby wipes work remarkably well in cleaning the ink off of the plates and roller bearers, so you’ll want to have plenty on hand as you practice and print. Lifestyle Crafts also carries cleaning cloths specially formulated to remove the L Letterpress ink.
Additional Tips & Techniques
L Letterpress Printing Techniques from Boxcar Press – I’ve used many of the tips from this post by Boxcar Press to improve my technique and results. A must read for anyone new to the L Letterpress.
The L Letterpress Revisited – Boxcar Press recently revisited the L Letterpress and offers additional tips and techniques to help you improve your results.
L Letterpress Tutorial : Let’s Make Gift Tags – Shows you my much improved results thanks to practice and incorporating the tips and techniques from the links above.
Letterpresspaper.com carries many of the top letterpress papers, including Crane Lettra, Arturo Cover, and Legion Bamboo. They offer smaller quantity packages, which are perfect for paper crafters and letterpress beginners.
The Paper Mill Store carries Crane Lettra, as well as pre-cut Arturo Cover flat and folded cards in several different colors.
Paper-Papers.com carries an assortment of letterpress-friendly papers, such as 100% cotton Savoy and Arturo Cover.
LCI Paper carries 100% cotton papers (three different weights) and envelopes under the LCI Cotton brand.
Lifestyle Crafts carries heavyweight, cotton-based envelopes and both uncut and pre-cut papers in a variety of sizes.
Boxcar Press has a selection of pre-made plates, and they also offer custom plate making services.
Lifestyle Crafts also offers both pre-made and custom plates for L Letterpress users.
Studio Calico has a bunch of very cool plate sets made for use with the L Letterpress, and they also offer craft dies that coordinate with several of their letterpress plates.
Elum carries a variety of plates made especially for the L Letterpress.
Lifestyle Crafts has a spectrum of inks made specifically for use with the L Letterpress. You can find the inks in their shop and at Studio Calico.
Caligo Safe Wash Relief Ink (Boxcar Press recommends) is available at McClain’s and comes in a wide variety of colors and in smaller quantity tubes and larger cans.
If you have any resources that you would like me to add to this list, just let me know!
image by Kristen Magee