Tuesday, March 1, 2011


My sister got engaged this past summer! Having just taken a letterpress class here, in this very press, I thought what better wedding present could there be than hand-printing the invitations? My sister needed 100 invitations, rsvp cards, and thank you cards. I soon realized the immensity of the project I had taken on. 

During the fall I experimented with different fonts, designs, and layouts. It took me much longer than I had anticipated to find a suitable type. I finally settled on Bembo font, size 12-point, 24-point, and 16-point for the head of the rsvp card. Over winter break I discussed different designs with my sister and had her draw the 'and' with her awesome calligraphy skills. She drew about 100 until we got the perfect one. When I got back to school Aaron helped me choose a slightly off-white paper (somerset velvet, which worked beautifully!) and also helped me letter-space the all-caps type, which was my first experience with the joys of letter-spacing.

Block of type for the invitation

I then edited my sister's 'and' and some birds I had drawn in Adobe Illustrator, with Aaron's help, to get them ready to be made into photo polymer. I ordered the negative and made the plate (my first time making or using a photo polymer plate!). To compliment the birds I drew a feather to put on the thank-you cards and carved it out of linoleum. With my type set and my paper cut I was FINALLY ready to start the actually printing.

The printing went relatively smoothly. I did the invitation text first, the polymer and linoleum in purple after that (it took me a while to mix a nice purple that matched the fabric sample my sister had given me but I did and it matches so well!) and finally the rsvp and thank-you text. The only stumble in that part of the process was the 10 or so rsvp cards I printed with one of the 't's being the wrong font. Luckily  I noticed the mistake before I had printed very many. 

Some of the process: the linoleum block and polymer plates and negative on the left, some fonts I had experimented with and my to-do list at the back, some of the 'and's my sister drew below that, trying to figure out the ink color to the left of that and various proofs scattered around.

 The first perfect invitation print!

After the invitations were printed it was time to cut them down. Unfortunately the guillotine, which we use to cut large stacks of paper, was not being friendly. It kept cutting slightly off-square, no matter what I tried. I ended up drawing in the cut lines that I wanted and matching them to blade, which worked quite nicely. Thank goodness.

The final product

I'm really happy with the way they turned out and I learned lots of letter-spacing, photo polymer, and guillotine skills along the way. Success!

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