Studio Tour – Czar Press

I love getting a sneak peek into printing studios.  I’m constantly in awe of the heavy duty cast iron machines that produce such beautiful and delicate stationery.  I was absolutely thrilled when Michael from Czar Press sent over this fun tour of his letterpress printing studio in Orange County, California.  Let’s take a look!

From Michael: We’re a full service wholesale and commercial print shop.  We make our own film and photopolymer plates and offer letterpress printing, flat printing, die cutting, scoring, duplexing, edge painting, and some other good stuff.  Our shop currently consists of four letterpresses: Chandler, a 12 x 18 Chandler & Price; Ivan, a 10×15 hand feed Kluge; and Boris and Lenin, both 10×15 auto feed Kluges.  We also have a little nursery for my little one, Piper.  We welcome vistors!

And here’s the cozy play area that Michael created for his adorable daughter Piper!

Thanks Michael!  For more from Czar Press, check out their website right here!

Photo Credits: Czar Press

*Czar Press is one of my fab­u­lous spon­sors; for more on my edi­to­r­ial poli­cies please click here.

Laser Cutting with Candyspotting

Candyspotting is a laser cutting studio based in Portland, Oregon and founded by Sarah Holbrook in 2009.  Though Sarah cuts many different mediums, she tends to focus her efforts on paper.  The laser’s ability to both cut and etch allows for some stunning results and it never ceases to amaze me how detailed the final product can turn out.  The fine art foray into laser cutting paper is a fairly new trend.  Historically, laser cutters have been used for more industrial applications.  It’s very exciting to see more artists and designers using this medium – I love discovering new stationery lines that are working with cut paper.

Sarah was kind enough to cut the Oh So Beautiful Paper logo (featuring calligraphy by Bryn from Paperfinger) as a demonstration of the laser’s intricacy.  Since Candyspotting specializes in cutting paper, Sarah is an expert at calculating the laser’s settings for the cleanest cut and the least amount of residual burning.  The end results are simply breathtaking.

OSBP laser cut

OSBP laser cut 4

This piece took over five minutes to cut.  If you are interested in reading more about the technical side of the process, be sure to visit Candyspotting’s blog.

Rhode Montijo

Rhode Montijo’s papel picado style Skeletown card will soon be for sale at the very first Latino Comics Expo in San Francisco next month.

Saelee Oh

Saelee Oh’s limited edition cut (this piece is sold out) “All Together Now”. The equally stunning “Infinite Path” is currently available in Saelee’s shop.

Béatrice Coron

Béatrice Coron creates the majority of her paper cuts by hand, but has recently begun offering a small selection of laser cut pieces. “BZCT” is available in a numbered edition of 500.

Squirrel Loves Nut

Squirrel Loves Nut is my own small line of cards. As a rep for so many talented designers, I’m inspired on a daily basis – it’s been a treat to have my very own creative outlet.

Wedding Invitation

This wedding invitation, designed by Candyspotting, combines laser cutting and etching.

Business Card

Catchy business card design, by Brian Behrens.


Laser cut paper scraps are particularly cute.

Thank You cards

Test cuts for a Thank You card designed by Candyspotting.

Many thanks to Sarah for allowing me to invade her studio.

“Laser Cutting with Candyspotting” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary.

Behind the Scenes: Oblation Papers & Press

Oblation Papers & Press was founded in 1989 by Ron and Jennifer Rich.  In 1998 they opened the retail space for which they are well known within the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon.  The reach of their business is really quite impressive – not only do they offer a well curated retail shop in the front of the space, they also house an urban paper mill, letterpress print shop, custom invitation gallery and design and produce their own line of wholesale goods that are warehoused and shipped from this very same location.

| Storefront |

Storefront with signs

Bike in windowBike Close-up

Love the current window display – nothing says Portland quite like a cute bicycle and a few raindrops.

| Retail Space |

Retail counter

Retail viewRetail - Gift Wrap

Retail View 2

Oblation stocks a selection of the finest stationery and gift items. They also offer an impressive selection of European accouterments to add an extra special touch to your correspondence.

| Custom Invitation Gallery |

Customs invitation

Custom invitations 2

Custom invitations 3

Their custom letterpress offerings include: Classic Wedding, Baby, Correspondence and Black & White Wedding portfolios.

| Wholesale Line |

Oblation wholesale

Oblation wholesale 2

Oblation wholesale 3

Oblation also offers a comprehensive wholesale letterpress card and gift line. The collection is stocked in stores worldwide and is also available in their online shop.

| Urban Paper Mill |

 Urban Paper Mill

Urban Paper Mill 2

Papermaking is where Ron and Jennifer got their start in the business. Oblation continues this tradition by producing their own cotton paper using recycled remnants from the garment industry. Their handmade paper is perfectly suited for letterpress printing.

| Letterpress Print Shop |


Printshop 2


Oblation has six platen presses in their studio. At this time, the print shop is entirely operated by women. Oblation’s printing practices include the use of wind power, soy inks and recycled cotton.

Thanks again to Oblation Papers & Press for opening their doors to me and allowing me to share their story and space.

Photo Credit: Carina Murray

“Behind the Scenes: Oblation Papers & Press” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary

Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 4

As I mentioned in my first post, Crane & Co. was founded in 1801 and has been producing paper and stationery in western Massachusetts ever since.  As you can imagine, the company has quite a history.  So it’s only fitting that Crane would have a public museum to help tell its story – and I’m sharing a few photos from the museum for the final installment in our tour.

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

{a portrait of founder Zenas Crane}

Crane Stationery Museum Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

{a short explanation and model of the paper making process}

Crane Stationery Museum

{I thought these watermark portraits were amazing}

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

{all of the Crane social occasions albums}

In addition to making paper for personal stationery, Crane supplies the United States and other countries with currency paper.  Crane has supplied U.S. currency paper since 1879.  If you ever visit the Crane museum, make sure to ask about how to identify counterfeit bills – there’s a neat little demo.

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

{entries in the Crane ledger book date back to the American Revolution and Civil War}

Crane Stationery Museum

{an old scale}

Crane Stationery Museum

{a model of a paper mill}

Crane Stationery Museum

A Crane museum wouldn’t be complete without examples of the various stationery, invitations, and announcements the company has printed over the years.  The invitation below features a 7-color engraved monogram at the top.  Seven colors!

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

Did you know that Crane does all the printing for Tiffany & Co.?  In addition to the collections with Kate Spade and Martha Stewart Weddings, Crane also prints all the stationery and invitations for Cartier  (check out a few photos from our stop at Cartier last year right here)

Crane Stationery Museum

Crane Stationery Museum

That just about does it for the tour!  I hope you enjoyed the photos – and a big thanks to Crane for the opportunity to visit their facilities!

{all photos by me}

*Dis­claimer – Crane & Co. pro­vided my accom­mo­da­tions dur­ing this visit; but this is not a spon­sored post.  For more on my edi­to­r­ial poli­cies, please click here.

Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 3

As promised, I’m back with a third installment of our tour of Crane & Co stationery.  After visiting the platemaking and printing facilities at Crane Personalized Design Services, we moved over to the Crane Stationery Division, located in a separate building in Dalton.  This is where all of the non-custom stationery orders are filled, from boxed stationery sets to holiday cards to designs in the Crane Studio Collection, as well as where envelopes and packaging materials are assembled.

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{I love that so many of these buildings date back to the 1800s – the building architecture alone is completely fascinating}

Crane Stationery Tour

Our first stop in this building was a large warehouse room, where Crane keeps all of the different sheets of paper used as envelope liners for stationery and wedding invitations:

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

{so many lovely envelope liner sheets!}

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

From there, we went to the envelope room – with the biggest paper cutting machine I’ve ever seen!

Crane Stationery Tour

{stacks of paper waiting to be cut down to size}

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{if you look closely, you should be able to see the outline of the envelope template above}

In the next room, another huge machine – this one takes the envelope-size paper and folds it into actual envelopes.  The envelope machines are truly enormous, I think each one was about 25-30 feet in length!

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{finished envelopes coming out of the machine and being counted}

From there, we went into a larger room, similar to the printing floor at Crane Personalized Design Services.  In this room, all of Crane’s boxed stationery sets and stationery collections are assembled and packaged for delivery.

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

{a cool installation and painting on the wall as you enter the main room}

Most of us probably don’t think much about the actual stationery packaging, but Crane makes all of its own boxes.  The box machine (I’m sure the machine has a formal name, but I didn’t catch it) is probably the biggest machine that we encountered during the entire tour!

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{that’s all glue above!}

Crane Stationery Tour

I tried to capture the entire process, but static images just can’t really give you the full effect – luckily the folks at Crane have captured the process on video!

After gawking at the box machine for a few minutes, we moved on to another room where hand borderers create the colorful borders on personalized stationery and writing notes.  I took photos of a hand bordering demonstration at the National Stationery Show, which you can see here – it’s truly an amazing skill.  Again, Crane has helpfully provided a video of the process:

Up next, the final stop on our Crane & Co. tour – the museum!

{all photos by me | video courtesy of Crane & Co.}