(Closed) DIY letterpress brides…boxcar plates…help?

posted 7 years ago in Paper
Post # 3
10851 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I have no idea, but I wanted to say I’m super jealous. I’m dying to learn to letterpress. I think your best bet would be to go to the website of the company you’re going to use to make the the plates and look for instructions/directions for formatting your files there. If they don’t have any, I would email them for help.

Post # 4
415 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

You need to set the Illustrator file to the dimensions at the beginning.  

Outlining fonts is easy – you just highlight then Type – create outlines.


As for fitting everything on the same page, why not just design it all on a 8 x 11 Illustrator template (meaning the invite/rsvp/escort).  

For bleeding edges – bleeds are more important for color backgrounds than graphic letterpress, as far as I understand. 

I am pretty good with Illustrator, if you need help, I could try to help you.  Maybe an exchange for press use? haha. Send me a message if you need anyhelp. 

Post # 5
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

How exciting! I ordered plates from boxcar for my Save-The-Date Cards and will be ordering about half of the plates for my invitations in the next day or so. 

I started out with the document the same size as the final product. That way it was easy to make sure the proportions were all correct.  As for fitting things onto the same plate and saving money – you can definitely do this! I didn’t because I used 3 separate plates for my one STD, and each one had text/images kind of all over the place and they needed to land in a specific spot, but you can put whatever you want on each plate.  If it’s an item that doesn’t have to be in a specific place relative to other things, just put it along side other items.  The plates were really easy to cut (I ordered plates for the L Letterpress though, so maybe it was made out of different material).

For preparing the file, I followed the directions on the site, but I also had another issue (oops!). They sent me an email and told me how to fix it:

“we noticed in file that the flower that you have in that file is in greyscale. For us to be able to take your files to plate, we need for you to do the following that ensures your file is completely in black and white (and no greys).

You can correct this by:
Opening your image in Photoshop and selecting Image > Mode > Grayscale.
Select Yes if a window asks about discarding color.
Then Select Image > Mode > Bitmap. A window will pop up looking for info – use a resolution of 600-1200 dpi and an output method of 50% threshold.
Save your files as a tif (with LZW Compression) and either send us the tif or relink or link the tif in your illustrator file.”

Hopefully that helps! I’ll have to make sure I do that before sending the file this time. Good luck with everything!

Post # 8
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@kittybean: OMG I am so JEALOUS of your C&P Pilot!! I did my suite on a Kelsey 8×5.

When I created my proof sheet in illustrator I created all of my designs seperately and assembled them on a document sized to fit all of the pieces I was making and some extras and calculated the size which would give me the most bang for my buck – that was 11X17

You also can easily cut through the photopolymer.  You really need to keep in mind the size of your chase and the printable size of your base – I didn’t really use crop marks since I was really only working with the 3×5 boxcar base – all of my pieces took at least two runs to complete but I absolutely love the way they turned out.

Converting text to outline is easy – you can right-click on the text box and select “create outline” and make sure you design everything in or convert it to 100% black in cmyk – I actually had no Adobe design experience when I started this … and it wasn’t really that bad at all.

Also I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND visiting the Briar Press forums if you have any questions: http://www.briarpress.org

I absolutely adored the result of my project and the flexibilty and control letterpressing with photopolymer gave me – It too A LOT of trial & error and A Lot of work –

Here is what my Save the Date looked like:

Post # 9
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@jacinda10: bleed edges don’t really apply to letterpress in the way they apply to digitally printed materials – paper cutters handle that.

Post # 10
329 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@kittybean:  I’m using Boxcar Press too and although I’ve not ordered yet the way I understood the “$30 Minimum” requirement was that even if you had a 4 sq in plate for example you’d still have to pay at least $30 which I’m sure is to cover the cost of plate production, etc.  Good luck and please post pics once you get them finished!  I’m working on my designs right now.  I can’t wait!  I’m running out of summer though!  I’m a teacher and was hoping to get them made before I went back to school 🙁 but oh well always the weekends I suppose haha

Post # 11
5 posts
  • Wedding: May 2012

My fiance and I are really into letterpress. we have a golding pearl ( our baby hahah- she was an engagment present to each other). I’ve ordered from boxcar several times and they are super helpful! they do have a 30 dollar miminum so put as much on the space as you can. they are pretty easy to cut as long as you take your time. Once we had everything we needed it took about 4 hours to complete our Save-The-Date Cards. We used 220 lb crane lettera (super thick paper) for a deep impression. We also lightly pressed a photo on the other side of the std so it looked like a post card, so we waited a day between presses. Good luck!

Post # 14
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@kittybean: Thank you!  In hindsight I don’t really know if I should of tried this as my first letterpress project but it was totally worth it.

I did paint the edges … which was a learning experience! LOL!  I first tried to do more than one at a time but totally f*d up – it was easier for me and not too time intensive to do them individually with a brayer – (I only printed 75 of each thing). 

Here are the STD’s freshly edge painted and drying on a slinky I rigged up:

Post # 15
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@kittybean: I couldn’t have done any of this without Briar Press and the Boxcar Press U videos online … I had to get really creative with registration since I was working with such a small base – I actually cheated and bought the 5×7 base so I had a half inch clearance horizontally (which I filled with furniture) and a one inch clearance vertically (which I tightened with quoins).  I however kept my print area small so I could get the best image.  I know that the Pilot will give you a nice impression and wish I had one with the paper I used.  Through Briarpress I discovered a super soft cotton 530 gsm stock from Holyoke Paper – they have pre-sized “wedding packs” which was super awesome because my paper cutter sucks.

The one thing I learned about letterpress is that it is a lot of trial and error and tweaking and repeat – as soon as you get it to work the way you want run with it! 

I didn’t tell my parents or family that I printed them myself until after they had received them and they were surprised – that’s what I was hoping for … also if you have the chance play with your ink and mix until your hearts content!  It was soooooo much fun!

Post # 16
140 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I also used the Boxcar Press plates with the L Letterpress. It seems that many have given you great advice, but if you need anything else let me know!

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