Archive for the ‘Gocco/L Letterpress’ Category

* Gocco bow cards

Posted on December 15th, 2014 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress, Holiday.

I manage to make my holiday cards about every other year or so.  This year, I used the Gocco to print shiny gold bows.  The bow drawing is by Krusty.  I love how they turned out!



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* letterpress zigzag ornament

Posted on December 4th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress, Holiday.

Given how much I like the letterpress ornaments I got at the craft fair yesterday, I decided to try my hand at making some for the ornament swap.

Made on the L Letterpress using the zigzag plate from the Spooked Printing Plates set, cut out with a circle die, and strung with waxed linen.

I made a few others with solid color panels behind to provide a little extra something, but I think I like the plain ones the best.


* accidentally cool Gocco scarf

Posted on December 26th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress.

I got a nice bolt of knit fabric at a church sale last weekend and decided to make scarves for my mom, sisters, and friends.  Becket got me a silkscreened knit scarf for my birthday a few years ago, and I love it to pieces.  It does curl up at the edges quite a bit, so I tried cutting the scarf on the perpendicular bias.  Not sure how that will wear, but at least it’s not curling.

I spent a week trying to figure out what design to print on them with my Gocco.  I initially wanted some sort of doily pattern, but I couldn’t find one I liked enough (though I almost got the Print A Day Doodles and Lace pack).  I also tried drawing some ala Bella Dia’s mandala tote.  Alas, not good enough.  But, as part of my doodling, I had been tracing around graduated cookie cutters to make nice concentric circles to use as guides.  I thought just rings of dots would be neat looking, so I used a big sharpie to just follow the penciled lines.  Experienced Gocco-ers will notice that there’s a problem brewing.  The screens react to carbon, and guess what has carbon in it?  Graphite!  What a dummy.  Anyway, I thought I’d see what it looked like printed just for the hell of it.  I’m down to just one more pack of Gocco screens, so each one is precious.


It looked not so bad, actually!  So I went for it.  A cluster of them looks perhaps even better.  So I did one end with a single motif and the other end with a cluster.


I left the selvedges on to keep them from curling/unraveling.  I figure if it bugs anybody, they can trim it.


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* letterpress calendar cards

Posted on December 6th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress.

I actually made those cards I was planning.


Since this is my first big project with the L Letterpress, I was able to discover even more new things I hate about it, how exciting.

I wanted an aqua-red color palette.  Enough to make a special trip out to Bellevue to go to the Paper Source to find the red ink, even.  Unfortunately, as it seems others have also reported, including in a helpful comment in a prior craftlog entry, the red ink is a terrible color.  More like rust than cherry.  I mixed in some orange and pink to brighten it up. The inks mixed OK, except the red is stickier than the others.

The design is from the wedding set, and they’re supposed to be stylized flowers.  Upside down, they remind me of Christmas balls, but not so much that the calendar can’t be used all year.

The stupid plates cracked all to hell on about impression 8-ish, and just got worse and worse.  Because I got 2 cards from each print, I was at least able to finish without them looking too terrible. You can also tell the plate came conveniently pre-broken (hint: one of the circle outlines is incomplete).


The plates also flattened with each impression, so the last cards barely even look letterpress-y.  Lame.

This was the first time I went back to a tube of ink I’d previously opened.  The ink had dried into a crust that blocked the tube.  I had to jam a skewer into it to reopen the flow, which worked, except that it also introduced little crumby pieces into the ink.  The crud made the ink spread unevenly and I spent forever picking out the little bits.

Overall, though, I’m reasonably happy with how they eventually turned out.

Here are some of the test cards I printed to play with colors and layout.

Dark blue instead of aqua, on a smaller card:







* in which I say something nice about my L Letterpress

Posted on May 9th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress.

So I got my new L Letterpress ink and print plates a couple weeks ago and only just today got around to playing with them.


Now that’s what I’m talking about!  This zigzag background size plate behaved so much better than my previous experiments.  I think it’s because it’s so big that the edges don’t get weirdly compressed (limiting breaking) and it’s easy to ink because it’s impossible to go off kilter with the brayer since the pattern is so dense.


I bought it after seeing this post on the company blog, so I was very pleasantly surprised to be able to recreate the effect.  One problem is that where the paper edge runs off seems to create inking inconsistencies for later prints, so in the future I’ll print with paper covering the entire plate and cut to size afterward.


This is what happens if you print once horizontally and once vertically.  Also, I tried to print onto some blank labels I had, and that worked pretty well.  Beware that the ink takes forever to dry, though, because it’s not as absorbent as the letterpress paper.


You can kind of see the nice impressions I’m getting here.  The paper really matters a lot.  I had pretty nice results with the paper it comes with and with watercolor paper.  Nice drawing paper, less so.

Also, I highly recommend the branded cleaning wipes.  They really do work waaaaaay better than plain old baby wipes.  It made doing the bleed printing so much easier since I had to clean the print platform after every run.  Also, for the smaller plates, I still can’t seem to ink evenly without getting smudges everywhere, and that’s way less annoying when they’re easy to wipe up.  I did three colors today, and the cleanup was honestly painless: wipe ink off plate and brayer with dry paper towels, then do the last swipe with the special wipes.  The wipes can be reused quite a bit before they fall apart/dry out.

Some bad news just to keep from sounding like an advertisement, because I am still annoyed at all the deficiencies of this gadget: the repositionable adhesive still doesn’t work and the brayer is definitely still problematic.  Need to remember to replace that next trip to the art store….


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* second impression with L Letterpress

Posted on April 4th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress.

I am a sucker and ordered another set of plates and some ink for my new faux-letterpress.  Given the cracking problems, I figured I should probably work out the kinks using the plates I already have before the new ones get here (supposedly 6-8 weeks, argh! At least I hope it’s that “fast” given the 4 months delay with the main order).

My mom naturally should get the first card made with it since her birthday is tomorrow, but I am afraid it didn’t turn out nice enough to actually send.  I had the exact same problems Boxcar press identified: the brayer was totally uneven and the plates are practically impossible to ink without getting smudges on the mount or the edges of the print plate.  I also could not get the “repositionable” adhesive to work.  Every time I would pry up a plate, the adhesive stuck to the mount.  I think the most disappointing flaw, though, is that the edge around the print plate also impresses.

Also, I went from small-cracks-around-the-edges to big-cracks-that-make-the-plate-not-print-right.  You can actually watch them degrade with each print; I did the third starburst, then the center one, then the first in the row.  I can’t believe they’re shipping such low quality stuff.  And I can’t believe I am so stupid as to buy another set from them, but I did because it is definitely fun to play with and I still have dreams of lovely letterpress. :P



* L Letterpress test

Posted on April 3rd, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Gocco/L Letterpress.

My mother got me an L Letterpress for Christmas (see previous post)!  It only just finally arrived yesterday, even though she ordered it in early December.  The presser machine bit can also be used as a die cutter, so now I am perilously close to starting to look at scrapbooking blogs for ideas of what in the world to use that functionality for.

Here’s my first impression (har har).


I haven’t bothered to ink it up yet since I’m not super thrilled with the pack of designs it came with and you supposedly also need special ink cleanup wipes.  The circle was in fact cut with the dies.  The company blog has some quite good sample projects and tips.

It’s all very easy.  You essentially sandwich various things between presser sheets and then crank the stack through the machine.  I thought I was going to break it the first time I did it with the letterpress ones.  There’s definitely some resistance.  The result to my eye definitely looks more “embossed” than press-printed, though better paper will no doubt help.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially for a home craft device, but my expectations were perhaps excessively raised by the “letterpress” branding.  A real letterpress artisan has gone step by step through how to adjust it to give better prints, so I am hopeful I can make it work.

Even worse, though, my plates cracked around the edges on the first pass through.  Annoying, right?  I must have a defective one.  Apparently, though, lots of people are having this problem.  WTF?  I find it hard to recommend a product when it breaks right out of the box.

Looks like for $40 they’ll make custom designs for you, but it’s probably from the same crappy plastic (ETA: admin post in the forums claims this is not the case, and they’re made from better stuff).  Apparently other places are doing a better job for cheaper, though.  I think for now, I will order a set of the premade ones just so I will have something to play with immediately, and wait for the inspiration to hit for a custom order.


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* gocco pinecone cards

Posted on December 13th, 2009 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress, Holiday, Paper Crafts.

Remember the sketched felt pinecone ornaments I made way back when?  You might even have one if you swapped with me.  I decided to see if I could reuse the screen for card-printing this year.  I think 2X is about the lifespan of a Gocco screen, though.  It started blebbing because the screen wasn’t pulled as taut where the cardboard frame got wet when I cleaned it after the first use.  They’re not bad, though.

I printed onto paper bags.  Even taking only the nicest parts of the bag (no seams, no bad folds), I got 21 prints to the bag!  The craft room is blanketed with them.  I am now envelope-limited, in fact.  About half of them I made like this:


from the pieces of the bag that are blank on both sides.  I’m just writing a note directly on the back of them and sending them as my xmas cards.  The rest were smaller pieces from the sides of the bag, or they have printing on the back, so I’m going to mount them on card stock or something to use as notecards later.

I wanted to use up the dregs of my tube of ink, so I printed a few on other paper I had laying around just for fun.  This Martha Stewart paper is my favorite.


If you’d like to trade cards, email me ( and we can swap addresses.  I didn’t enter any of the ornament swaps this year, and I’m missing the mail from my imaginary internet friends.  :P


* gocco pinecone ornaments

Posted on November 12th, 2006 by maitreya. Filed under Gocco/L Letterpress, Holiday.

My ornaments for a number of swaps I signed up for: one on Swap-bot, ornamental, and Holiday Ornament Swap. The first one has a deadline of November 13 for some unknown reason, so now I’m nice and early for the other ones. They’re gocco on felt, much like my yeti ornament from last year. This time I did 2 layers of wool blend felt plus a fabric backing, all fused together. I wanted the tags to look like specimen labels, with the scientific name of the tree on one side and my URL on the other in this cool typewriter font called Ghostwriter. I am very pleased with them. My yeti swap last year yielded all sorts of cool ornaments, so I have high hopes that I’ll get some good ones this year too.



* embroidered patch

Posted on October 31st, 2006 by maitreya. Filed under Cross Stitch/Embroidery, Gocco/L Letterpress.

I signed up for The Red Button Tree’s embroidered patch swap. I have some leftover patches from my reader appreciation trinket giveaway from a while back. There were a few that didn’t print completely, but I’ve kept them around anyway. I embroidered over one for my patch to send in. I like the effect, and it was a good little tracing project for tonight when I wasn’t feeling all that creative. I added iron-on backing to keep all the threads tight.




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craftlog is under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license. That means that you are all welcome to take and repost my photos, replicate my projects, remix my ideas, whatever you want as long as you give attribution (a link is fine) and it's noncommercial. Thanks!