It seems like only yesterday… I was running off of a massive intake of caffeine and extreme creative crafty goodness at the 2010 Creative Escape Scrapbooking Retreat. It was the final night with a fabulous dinner (dessert first!), auctions and giveaways. There was one thing in particular that I had my eye on in the door prize pile; the Lifestyle Crafts QuicKutz Epic Six and Letterpress accessory kit. I had a desperate craving to create fantastic “Thank You” notes and wedding invitations for my friends (Who weren’t even getting married at the time, but hey, we justify these things in our minds, don’t we ladies?). I sat and waited and crossed my fingers hoping that my name would be called from the approximately six people that got chosen to be graced with this new swanky product. And then it happened… My mom’s name got called. Now, some would look at this as a bad thing, but my mother is my main supporter (and financial supplier) for my craft addiction. Unfortunately, the Epic Six hadn’t even begun the manufacturing process yet, but a few months later, my mom received a rather large box in the mail and called me and I was down there in a flash to pick up my new, fun toy.
Now to the nitty-gritty…
Honest first thoughts; Messy, sticky, and temperamental. I literally got my box fresh off of the line and accessories or tutorials really weren’t available. I’m also what you would call an “instant-gratification” crafter and working with the Letterpress takes a bit more patience. I learned that one needs to get into the “Letterpress Groove” as I would call it. And instead of me rambling on for days to explain everything, I’m going to try and give you a quick list of tips!
- If you can, buy the special cleaning cloths. They resemble diaper wipes, but they are totally different. Trust me from experience. If you can’t get your hands on the cloths, or would rather spend that money on an extra tube of ink, you can use vegetable oil and an old dish rag. I’ve actually found that the vegetable oil works a little quicker for cleaning your ink base and brayer than the cleaning cloths.
- The Letterpress ink and paper is specifically designed to be used with this machine. I’m sure you can purchase brands other than QuicKutz, but I recommend that you do stay with inks and papers made for Letterpressing. I’ve tried using acrylic paints and have not had very good success.
- Work with small bits of ink on your ink base at a time. When I say, “small,” I mean it; Like half the amount of the size of a pea. Think of the ink like salt when cooking; you can always add more later, but start with too much and your project is ruined.
- When applying the ink to the brayer, use short, small strokes across the ink base, raising your brayer in between strokes. You really want to insure a proper distribution of ink on the brayer.
- When applying the ink to the letterpress plates use gentle strokes. I also try and brayer the plate from all directions. Take your time and pay attention to get the ink on all parts of the printing plate and also not to get any on the surrounding areas of the Letterpress grid tool.
- DON’T be tempted to run your fingers over your freshly-pressed and inked project. This is wet stuff; IT WILL SMEAR and you will want to kick yourself in the head. (If it was possible.)
- Most importantly, keep you and your workspace clean at all times. The Letterpress ink is SUPER sticky and will stay wet for hours, even days. You might not even notice when you, or something else in close proximity touches it. You don’t want to touch inky fingers to your nice, clean Letterpress paper, so make sure to keep a close eye on this.
Some might be asking if you can use this machine with your Cuttlebug or other manual die-cutting machine. I have run the Letterpress tool through my Cuttlebug instead of the Epic Six and although it did go through, it took my mustering the force of Zeus to do it. I have also used it with my Tim Holtz Vagabond, and that was a dream come true. I truly do love the Letterpress machine the more I work with it. Don’t get discouraged and just expect the first time that you play with it, you’re going to make mistakes. Also, don’t expect to be using this for any last-minute gifts. That super tacky ink can sometimes take upward of 24 hours to dry once it’s pressed into the paper. I would also only recommend this machine if you plan on doing larger, consistent projects. This would be perfect for any type of invitations or cards you might want to make; especially now that you can order custom plates through the Lifestyle Crafts website. The cost differs from where you can find the machine. You can buy the Epic Six and Letterpress combo kit or you can buy a Letterpress starter kit to use with a die-cutting machine you already own. You can get it at many online retailers and I have seen in big box craft stores like Hobby Lobby and now some JoAnns locations are carrying it. All in all, I’ve enjoyed having this fabulous tool in my crafty arsenal. I hope you all enjoyed this little review and let me know if you have any questions!
Disclosure: author purchased the product reviewed with her own funds. No affiliation with the company.
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