so the L Letterpress finally arrived yesterday. i had been driving my husband crazy talking about it for days on end. i had plans to letterpress EVERYTHING i could get my hands on. new business cards, thank-you notes, wedding invitations, toilet paper... seriously, everything. it was going to open a whole new avenue for me. just think about it. being able to letterpress from home. i'm a graphic designer, and every time i get a paper sample that's been letterpressed, i drool over it. it doesn't matter what it's for. it's just so...pretty. elegant. lush. sigh.
after playing around with it for a few hours, i'd like to share my impressions (pun definitely intended).
first of all, before you buy this thing, look around the interwebs at the reviews of it. i didn't, and i wish i had. i'm still convinced this is a good toy to have, but it definitely has some serious drawbacks, which i'll get to in a minute.
as a birthday present, my mom got me the full letterpress kit, which includes a 'starter kit' and the epic six, which is a die-cutter and letterpress combo (although, i did not get the advertised circle dies, and i'm preparing to fire off an angry email to them!). supposedly, the starter kit has everything you need to get letterpressin' right out of the box. i really wish they had included some of their branded cleaning wipes, though. there isn't one mention of how to clean up when you're done other than to "use L wipes." the ink is tacky and does not wash up with warm water. i went out to pick up some new inks, paper and dies to play around with and saw that every one of their accessories is marked $6.99 (at hobby lobby). $6.99 for a package of 80 wipes, which, as far as i can tell, are overpriced baby wipes. so i went next door to the dollar store and picked up a box of baby wipes for a dollar. they do an alright job, but after some online research, i found that vegetable oil does a much better job, and is a heck of a lot cheaper. so take note! do not buy the overpriced specialty wipes! use plain ole' vegetable oil and a paper towel. done and done.
so where does all this leave me? well, my plans to start letterpressing custom wedding invitations are definitely shelved. but i think i could do some pretty cards (thank you's, congratulations, birthday and christmas, primarily), possibly some business cards for myself, and some canning labels. it's a lot of set-up and clean up to do just a few things, so i'd have to plan out in advance what i wanted to do, which isn't the worst thing in the world. i still love letterpress and am still excited to be able to get that look at home, even if it isn't as perfect as if it were run on a heidelberg or something. i'm also very interested in ordering some custom plates, but definitely not from the manufacturer. i'm going through this place, instead. they have a great blog post on this machine and how to get better results, so definitely read that before deciding to buy one or not.