First Birthday Party Invitations for Baby Lucas!

Hi again everyone!  I’m back!  I’m still trying to process the last couple of weeks in my head, much less go through all of the photos from the trip, so a trip recap will have to wait a few days.  Before I get to anything else, a huge thanks to Carina and Ellie for their fabulous guest posts while I was away – not to mention all of the fantastic printers who contributed posts for the printing process series.  The printing process series isn’t quite finished, so stay tuned for future posts on a few other printing methods a bit later this summer…

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First up this week – invitations for a first birthday party!  Lisa from Good on Paper created these adorable circus-inspired invitations for her son’s first birthday celebration last month.  You can also check out Lucas’s awesome birth announcements right here.  I love the way Lisa uses different typefaces in her designs, particularly the cool ligatures on Lucas’s name and party date.  So fun!

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Thanks Lisa!

Photo Credits: Good on Paper

Hach

I miss the days when my to-do lists and calendar were jotted in a little notebook, instead of stored virtually!  These colorful planners and notebooks from Hach would be just the thing.

“Hach” is a guest post by Ellie Snow of Mint and Hello Tenfold.

The Printing Process: Screen Printing

While I’m away on vacation I’m running a series of guest posts on the various printing processes, from digital printing to engraving.  I’ve asked some designers and printers to share their expertise and lots of photos to fill you in on what you need to know about different stationery printing methods. Today I’ve asked two of my favorite screen printing ladies, Carrie and Laurie from Two Trick Pony, to walk us through the screen printing process.  Take it away ponies!

What is Screen Printing?

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Screen printing (also known as silk screening) is one of the oldest methods of printmaking, with examples dating back to the Song Dynasty in China.  The process involves creating a stencil of an image on a screen of porous mesh, traditionally made of silk.  A roller or squeegee is used to pull paint-like ink over the stencil, forcing it through the mesh onto the paper being printed.  Unlike the inks used in some other forms of printing, screen printing ink sits right on the surface of paper, resulting in incredibly rich, vibrant color.

The Printing Process

The screen printing process has multiple steps, starting with the process of creating the screen.

The screens are coated with a light sensitive emulsion, and exposed using a positive image.  Your positive can be created in a variety of ways, from digitally printed film, hand-cut rubylith, or hand drawn with ink on acetate.  The positive is positioned directly on the surface of the light table, and the screen placed over the positive, print side down.  The emulsion hardens when exposed to light, and remains soft and water-soluble where the positive blocks the light.  After exposure, we take the screen to the wash-out sink, and rinse away the soft emulsion.  Once the screen has dried completely, we lock the screen into hinges that are mounted onto our print surface.

We align the paper for printing, and mark the location with registration tabs.  Ink is applied directly to one end of the screen in a long bead, ready to be pulled over the screen with the squeegee.

A nice, firm pass with the squeegee forces ink through the mesh, visibly showing on the print side of the screen.  The screen is lowered on the hinges, and the squeegee is used to press the inked mesh flat against the paper, transferring a thin, even layer of ink to the page.

The amount of ink transferred to the paper is controlled by the thickness of the emulsion, so crisp images need a fine, even coat of emulsion to maintain their detail.

Mixing the second color for this particular job was a challenge; we wanted to create the illusion of a 3rd color in the print, so the second ink needed to be transparent and overlay the first color to create a pleasing effect.  We settled on a yellowish green that would create a darker green where it overlapped the blue.

Registration was tight!  The blue and yellow-green had to line up perfectly along the sides of the image.

Printing finally completed, it’s time to cut!  Our cutter, Cooper, was made in 1867, and still works like a charm.

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The final piece; poster sized invite, ready to be rolled into tubes and mailed to guests!

Tips and Advice

Like most hand-printing methods, screen printing has a very distinctive look.  Even though the surface is flat, the velvety finish and extreme vibrancy of the ink cannot be replicated with any other technique.  Screen printing can also be used on a variety of surfaces, so anything that has a flat surface can be printed; paper, chip board, fabrics, wood, leather and metal are all viable candidates!

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Like any other printing process, screen printing definitely has specific limitations, which makes it better suited for some projects (and not so well suited for others).  Fine details or delicate text can be lost or broken up in the printing process, and large blocks of text can be difficult to print consistently.  Light ink on dark paper works beautifully, but textured papers are out.  Thin papers also present difficulty, as the ink could cause them to buckle or warp.

Thank you so much Ponies!  You can see more of the talented screen printed designs from Two Trick Pony right here!

Photo Credits: Two Trick Pony

The How To Project

If little American me was so luck as to have a gap year (what’s up with that, anyway?) I don’t think I’d be as industrious as 19 year old design student Michael Arnold.  Michael’s How To Project is a collection of posters with topics like how to brighten dull walls, wear a tie, or cook breakfast.

“The How To Project” is a guest post by Ellie Snow of Mint and Hello Tenfold.

Magpie Paperworks

A sampling of my many favorites from Magpie Paperworks, a custom stationery store with a focus on weddings and eco-friendly papers and sustainable materials.

“Magpie Paperworks” is a guest post by Ellie Snow of Mint and Hello Tenfold.