Posts Tagged ‘business cards’

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.

Lettered & Designed: Alt Summit Business Cards


An extra dose of crazy hit my house when I was thinking up this year’s business card.

150 business cards with hand-calligraphed art and stands.

Check me into the loony bin. I spent 12 hours on my cards this year. At least.

I wanted to make them amazing and showcase my calligraphy prowess. Originally I  wanted to design my own line of washi tape and hand out rolls of tape with words like “radical”, “awesomesauce” and “groovy” calligraphed all over. But a $3000 minimum buy for business cards seemed a little steep. I’m still thinking I want to design a line of washi tape. So if you’re reading this and you have strings you can pull. EMAIL ME. I WANT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. 


Since that wasn’t an option, plan b was set in motion. I wanted to create some artwork to remind attendees at Alt that they’re amazing. Last year’s Alt Summit was inspiring, but I still left the conference with this sense of serious doubt and overwhelm.

I don’t want others to leave with that same sense of anxiety, so I made a little reminder that they’re awesomesauce.


I designed new cards to include and my new logo (notice it yet?). I worked with We R Memory Keepers for the letterpress cards and paper (I’m one of their project boggers) to make custom plates. I printed the cards in about half the time it took to stamp the same amount of cards last year. I messed up here and there with the ink on the plates, but I didn’t want to stress myself out over perfection because I’m sure people would be understanding if I letterpressed them myself.

I designed and had a local company cut the easels. they’re clear acrylic easels that can hold artwork or even an iphone (sideways). Equal parts useful and decorative!


Then I used the leftover letterpress paper to letter out “You are awesomesauce”. Calligraphy on letterpress paper was not fun. The weave and texture of the paper made the going really slow. I found that the Esterbrook 356 and 357 with iron gall ink worked best (minimal feathering) on this paper. I had origionally started with Dr. Martin’s gold ink, but it was a little unruly and took about 3x longer than with the iron gall ink. I love this old world iron gall ink as it’s slightly transparent, but moody. It destroyed both of my prized vintage nibs, though.

Here is the cost breakdown of each business card:

  • easel: $1.20
  • lettering: $2.50
  • envelope: $.09
  • washi tape: free
  • letterpress printing: $1.12 (time, not supplies*)

Total: $3.82

Most of the cost was in time designing, printing and lettering. Since these are fairly expensive (for business cards), I have the fancy ones and plain ones. I plan on asking people which one they want in case they’d rather not go home with more trinkets.

I hope I have enough cards for Alt!! I plan on bringing my stamping stuff in case I have to make up a few last-minute cards.

*Plates and paper provided by WRM.


Sewing Summit Business Cards


If I didn’t go to such great lengths to make business cards, I’m not sure I would know what to do with all that extra time. Sleep perhaps?


I’m pretty excited about this year’s sewing summit card. It’s simple, but (in my opinion) thoughtful and geared specifically towards my sewing peeps.

The card itself is exactly the same as my previous cards (see here), but I’ve included two iron-on transfers for tagless reminders of which side is which for hand-sewn clothes.

These little transfers may not look like much, but I poured a lot of thought over what to include here. I wanted a nod to my site and branding, but not so much that I’m branding other people’s handmade creations for them. I also needed a small tag-like design that would cut and weed easily. The heart took very little time to weed (when you remove the negative space from the transfer material), but the ISLY took a little more time since I had 4 loops that needed to be cleared 150 times.


I originally planned to make a decal that said “handmade”, but it was too long. “By hand” was still a little too long and ornate to cut and weed 150 times.

ISLY /iz•lee/ is short for “I Still Love You”. We use the term around our house to express love. It has also become my declaration to my creative passions. It’s hard to find a balance between real life and creative pursuits, but that mantra is a reminder that I’ll always make time for them, even if it’s not as much as I’d like. I’m a firm believer that it’s human nature to create. Since I’ll be hanging with like-minded women, I thought it fitting to include my little mantra on a tag.

I designed the ISLY decal to have nods to my current branding, but different. I don’t want recipients to think they are applying a brand to the insides of their handmade creations. I want it to be a mantra or a mindset that can speak to other’s creativity as well.

Sponsored: Business Cards & Laser Cutting



Ponoko is your personal factory, an online laser cutting and 3D printing service. Upload your design file to make your own jewelry, home accessories, and more. Check out Ponoko on facebook.


Last year I put in about 30+ man hours into my business card. Between all the laser cutting and assembling, it was a TON of work. This year, I wanted to go simpler, but still fun and impactful. Out of pure chance and some diligent searching for DIY laser cutting I found Ponoko. And I’ve been so excited to work with them. My head was (and still is) spinning with ideas.


Since it came down to trying to keep things simple, I landed on this key chain idea. I used cell phone straps instead of split rings (I knew the split rings would make me want to cry, trying to assemble those). I also didn’t remove the protective backing (not pictured) because doing 200 of those would have also made me cry. These cards took about 11 man hours to assemble. So much better.


I had some issues with the actual card, the first stamp I ordered was not very legible. It sort of sent me into a panic, but the stamp guys I send my stuff to were more than accommodating. Phew!! Most of the cards were on the white stock, since the ink on black stock wasn’t as readable. I really wish there was a white/silver stamp ink that was more brilliant. If you know of any brands, let me know. The American Crafts stamp pad is the best of the ones I’ve tried, but I’ve had that pad for a couple years now, and it’s not as brilliant as it once was. I can’t seem to find it anywhere, either.


I used Strathmore art board for my stock, it’s super thick. The black is really lovely and much easier to cut than the white. I actually just took the art boards to Alphagraphics and they cut the paper for me. It saved me a ton of time and the potential flesh wound. I sort of regret not going with the I Still Love You motto, but I really love these little diamond pieces. They’re reminiscent of the new background design and gender neutral.

melissaesplin-ponoko-business-cards-4 I had a few extra pieces from assembly, I made earrings out of them. I dig. Wouldn’t these be fun in wood or metal?

What would you make out of these little acrylic shapes? Leave a comment below. I’ll pick a winner next monday and ship them out to you! 

Designed: Business Cards


I’m forgoing a Redesigned post this week & sharing with you my business cards I’ve made for Altitude Design Summit. I’m really excited about them. Heck, I should be. They took me at least 20 hours to design, complete & assemble.

I’ve got access to a laser cutter, so I made little friendship bracelets with my “I still love you” logo on them. Cutting the leather took about 4 hours. Thank heavens I didn’t have to do all that by hand.

In the past, I’ve cut my vinyl stickers myself with my little Silhouette, but this time I didn’t want to deal with all that. I had them done at Fast Signs. That lifted a bunch of stress off my shoulders to have that done for me.

I got a lot of help this time around with my business cards!! My sister-in-law helped with the bracelets, My intern helped stamp the cards & clean the leather and my cousin & his wife helped me assemble it all. I wouldn’t have been able to do it in under 20 hours without them! Thanks, friends!!

So, are you going to Alt? What did you do for your business cards? Please do say hi to me at the conference! I have a little goodie for you & I’d love to meet you. If you’re not heading to Alt, I’ll be back here on Monday. Happy weekend!

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