Tuesday, March 23, 2010

[JessFinds] Review: The L Letterpress / QuicKutz

Ooooh! Preacher got me a present!

You know that L Letterpress kit I have been hoping to play with? I got one for my birthday! This is the L (Lifestyle) Letterpress by QuicKutz:


Having worked on a real letterpress, I am under no delusion that this is somehow a replacement or even offers close to the same experience or requires the same level of artisan attention. This is a home crafter's letterpress. Think of it as a deep stamper with a lot of really cool potential. Dreamy for a card-crafter who wants the letterpress feel.
.
I think many of the naysayers are just feeling threatened- their printshop ire is up. Personally, I can't see how anything could threaten a big sexy press! This is a crafting tool. Well executed in plastic and metal, affordable and portable.  Those are words that are not used in a print shop - apples and oranges.
.
You would have to be out of your mind to purchase one with the intention of crafting 400 of your own personalized wedding invitations. It could be done, but you would need an ungodly amount of time on your hands! I say, pay the nice person at the big unwieldy machine for the real thing. I understand your momentary delusion, and I agree, there is nothing like the quality of real letterpressed paper. But save your marriage from the get-go and pay for the project to keep your sanity intact.
.
If you are looking to do small batch projects - this is going to be so much fun!
.
It works brilliantly with photopolymer plates of your own making. I kept seeing that question arise in other blogs and so the first thing I did was run one of my traditional photopolymer plates through the machine. Perfect. You may want to add some padding to get a deeper impression, but it worked fine with a standard photopolymer I exposed in one of my Vandercook classes. This might answer some questions about photopolymer. This is a company you can send your image/text file to and they will create the plate for you. Their pricing seems reasonable, no minimums. You want the plastic base w/ adhesive backing (not the metal or magnetic backing). They also create images specifically for the L Letterpress. The L Letterpress was designed to use the KF152 deep relief plastic backed photopolymer plates

Boxcarpress offers a really great run-through of using the letterpress too.
.
Reader Request: Inking is a tough one. You need to start with the smallest amount (1/2 a pea size drop) and really work it in to the brayer till it is completely coated. This type of oil based ink is meant to be thin. When you use the brayer, layer the ink over the polymer - swipe from different angles. Use a baby wipe (wrap it around the blunt end of a hairpin if necessary to get small spaces) to clean up stray ink.
.
Clean the brayer and the inking block with veggie oil. Seriously. I used canola oil last night on it with good results. It lifts the oil-based inks right off. Then follow up with Simple Green. You can use this method on your photopolymer as well, but make sure to get ALL of the oil off as it could stain your next project.
.
Note: The L Letterpress was purchased for me by my husband, I did not recieve it as a gift from any company in exchange for a review. This review was unsolicited and I was not paid in any way to express my product opinion.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i found the inking to be the hardest part. please post if you have any tips.

JESS said...

Inking is a tough one. You need to start with the smallest amount (1/2 a pea size drop) and really work it in to the brayer till it is completely coated. This type of oil based ink is meant to be thin. When you use the brayer, layer the ink over the polymer - swipe from different angles. Use a baby wipe (wrap it around the blunt end of a hairpin if necessary to get small spaces) to clean up stray ink.

michele said...

I have no experience with professional printing but I thought that the L would be fun. The printing plates are limited though...where can I get the photopolymer plates that you are talking about?
Thanks for your post...it is helpful.

JESS said...

This might answer some questions about photopolymer.... This is a company you can send your image/text file to and they will create the plate for you. Their pricing seems reasonable, no minimums. You want the plastic base w/ adhesive backing (not the metal or magnetic backing). They also create images specifically for the L Letterpress.

http://www.letterpressplates.com/