Handmade: Letterpress Business Cards + Motivators


I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s summer Alt Summit, and boy did it sneak up on me! I barely had the chance to recover from January’s conference.


I wanted to do something completely different for this session’s business cards, but I ended up doing everything last-minute. And by last-minute, literally making business cards the night before the conference.


The cards have the same general vibe as they did previously, with a little motivator and acrylic stand, but I approached the printing and calligraphy differently.


Instead of doing one kind of motivator (“You are awesomesauce”), I decided to switch things up and write out different adjectives. The monoline style is quite different from last time, too. I used watercolor paper and a sumi ink to create moody washes on the backs of all the papers to create a moody texture. Then lettered with white ink overtop. The texture of the black wash gives the card more depth, in my opinion.


The printing was a little different as I was using a watercolor paper and not a thick letterpress paper. There’s still a deboss from the printing process, but it’s not as stark. I went with the watercolor so that the lettering on the back would be easier to create. Last time I had a heck of a time lettering on that soft letterpress paper.


I also had a problem with the ink in the letterpress printing bleeding, making the hairlines a tad garbled. Above, you can see different experimentations on printing. The top right is using regular letterpress ink, you can’t tell a whole lot from the image, but it’s feathering a little bit on the paper. Then I tried various blind-deboss printing techniques, then applying ink afterward. That didn’t work quite like I had envisioned. Then the top left is when I discovered inking up my letterpress plates with a stamp pad. The stamp pad from Silhouette’s stamp kit is quite tacky and worked perfectly for inking up the plates. The printing was more crisp and the clean-up was a million times easier with the water-soluble ink. Major win! I’ll be using this method for printing with the L-Letterpress in the future.

view or add a comment
  1. Amy W says:

    Just adored those cards. Thinking about framing mine!

  2. Danielle W says:

    Very beautiful! Just curious if you made your own plates through Lifestyle crafts for your L Letterpress? I have one and am considering this for my wedding invites! :)

    • Melissa says:

      Yes! I went through them to create the plates. I think there are other places you can get plates made that should work with the L, but not sure of links or how they compare. Hope that helps!

  3. I am unfamiliar with this machine and the plates it uses, but typically when letterpress printing and the ink is too loose (runny), I have added magnesium to crisp up the letters. You might try that too.

    Baby oil can also helps loosen the ink when cleaning the press. It makes it a much easier process.

  4. Bettina says:

    You have your own letterpressing machine? Those things are huge and high maintenance!

  5. […] 2.¬†Letterpress cards […]

  6. Shelley says:

    Can u say me pls.. what’s the calligraphy do use in the computer? Aria? ?

mobile site