DIY Watercolor Letterpress Birthday Card

DIY Watercolor Letterpress Birthday Card

Today is the last day of the Boxcar Press L Letterpress Plates giveaway, and before I wrap up what has been a very fun week of L Letterpress crafting I want to share this DIY watercolor birthday card that I made using the L Letterpress, the Boxcar Birthday Designs plates, and a little bit of watercolor.

First, I painted a mix of teal and mint green watercolors* onto Aquarelle paper, which was perfect for this project because it’s both watercolor-friendly and thick enough to give a beautiful letterpress impression. I then allowed the watercolor background to dry completely. Using the same technique that I used to make the “For You” letterpress gift tags, with silver ink and the “Birthday Wishes” sentiment plate, I printed what I think turned out to be a very pretty card.

* I used inexpensive Crayola Watercolors, which were surprisingly vibrant, along with kid-friendly Crayola Craft Brushes. This just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on watercolor supplies to get a great result!

image by Kristen Magee

Letterpress Desk Set by Sarah Rainwater

Letterpress Desk Set | Sarah Rainwater

I’m totally digging this clever letterpress desk set by Sarah Rainwater. The unique desk accessory comes ready-to-assemble with letterpress printed pieces that you punch out and put together to create a modern desk organizer, with a ruler and four bookmarks that you can store within its compartments. The set also includes assembly instructions and a laser cut felt base for the organizer. What a great gift idea for both paper enthusiasts and a fun teaching tool for kids who are building their spatial skills!

Letterpress Desk Set | Sarah Rainwater

Letterpress Desk Set | Sarah Rainwater

Letterpress Desk Set | Sarah Rainwater

images from Sarah Rainwater

New from Whimsy Whimsical

New Paper Goods from Whimsy Whimsical as seen on

These absolutely adorable new paper goodies from Whimsy Whimsical are just the thing to perk up a sleepy Monday … or any other day, for that matter. The sweet, illustrated greeting and recipe cards feature birthday bears, friendly foxes, measuring cup owls, and plenty of other cute, hand drawn woodland critters. Below are just a few of my faves, and you can head over to the Whimsy Whimsical shop to see all of their new paper goodies.

It's Your Day Greeting Card | Whimsy Whimsical

Let's Party Greeting Card | Whimsy Whimsical

Happy Balloons Greeting Card | Whimsy Whimsical

Thank You Notecards | Whimsy Whimsical

Thank You Notecards | Whimsy Whimsical

Owl Recipe Cards | Whimsy Whimsical

images from Whimsy Whimsical

L Letterpress Tips & Resources

L Letterpress Tips & Resources as seen on

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win two plates of your choice from Boxcar Press!

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 and 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.

Paper Supplies 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. 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.

Letterpress Plates

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