Hey! Did you find this site because you just happened to get a really cool handmade Christmas card this year? If so, you might be wondering how that thing was made. You might be wondering, what exactly is a letterpress, and why would you not just use a computer? Wouldn't that be way easier?
First I chose the wood type and arranged it in the tray (backwards of course), using bits of metal spacing to create a nice even layout. Next, I mixed up some red ink and used a small brayer to apply the ink to the type lock-up. The type is packed tightly and secured with magnets.
Then I put the paper in place and ran it through the press. Most of these cards went through the press 3 times. If you happened to get the "Christmas time in the city" card, it went through the press twice. That one was made from a linocut I did that took about 4 days to cut out with carving tools (see below). And that one had a line of hand set metal type, which accounted for the second run through on the press.
And yes, it would have been way easier to make a Christmas card on the computer. Too easy, in fact. But there's just something inexplicably cool about handmade items, something that didn't take an hour to make, but rather was created by a long process. A long process involving sharp tools and really cool old machines.