What Amanda Did… Some Hardcore Letterpress DIY.

Right well I did end my last post reassuring you that there would be much more DIY from me, which there is, I also said that it would be easier to do… well I lied!!!! I DO NOT recommend the following…

I’ll start right from the beginning, having undertaken both a Fine Art degree and Masters at university’s where there have been letterpress facilities, I have done A LOT of letterpress. I love it, I mean I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVE IT! BUT it’s very expensive if you haven’t got the beauty of a university with all the equipment in place. It’s also a process that is VERY time consuming.

However, with the rose tinted glasses of wedding bliss, Darren and I decided that we would buy a press and all the other equipment to boot and make our own letterpress Save-The-Date’s and invitations…

So we brought a press from EBAY for just under £100, which as I’d only ever used the huge presses at Uni I quite frankly didn’t have a clue how to use. So we then attended a printing wayzgoose (which is like a fair for letterpress) at an industrial heritage museum about an hour from where we lived call the Amberley Chalk Pit Museum. Here we met the lovely guys in the working Letterpress Print Shop who put us in touch with Peter, who has turned into our printing mentor/savior!

We made arrangements to meet Peter back at Amberley a month later, we took our printing press with us and he made it work! He showed us how to use it and gave us loads of cool stuff so we could get started.

This is just one half of the print studio! If any of you have done any letterpress you’ll want a workshop with all this in as much as me!

Peter and I picking out the letters and producing our first print.

So now we needed some more equipment and we still didn’t have any type, so we wouldn’t be doing many STD’s without them!

Now we could have got the type on EBAY but that starts getting expensive especially with postage costs. So we found out that a man in Essex was selling off all his letterpress type and equipment from his museum that was closing down. So yes we went to Essex for a day trip!

This is the AMAZING collection I had to choose from! It was hard! I wanted it all, but we had a budget to stick to! So we ended up with four full draws of type and an extra tray of goodies.

Then we went to Hove for another day trip (not quite as far!) to buy the ink. We also went around all the lovely charity shops, but I’ll show you that stuff at a later date!

So once we got it all home, it was time to start printing!

So we invaded our sitting room with all the equipment we had collected – At this point please bear in mind that there are the two of us, plus Doris the diva cat living in a two and a half bed house, which should be plenty of room right?. We have one room set up as a workshop for a number of mine and Darren’s creative hobbies/inventing, as well as a garage containing a vintage car and the other spare room set up for guests and has now been turnt into Wedding HQ – so space is kind of at a premium. We’re renting and we want babies straight after the wedding, planning ahead we moved just after getting engaged as moving again shortly after marriage was not a pleasant thought.

It took about two weeks in our print shop/front room and after much trial and error and lots of muscle power from Darren on the press, and lots of arranging and instruction from me, they were finished!

Then we had to sew them, after a series of been-and-gone deadlines, we set a new deadline, which was Darren’s Uncles birthday party, so we could hand a bunch of them out. So on the morning (OK afternoon) of the deadline I sat at my s**t Lidl’s £40 sewing machine and guess what it didn’t ruddy work!!!!

So of to my Mother-in-law-to-be’s house (She’s a ruddy gem I tell you, what more could a crafty lass like me want more than a Mother-in-law-to-be who’s a seamstress that can literally fix anything (ok maybe not anything) but between the three of them (Darren, Ma and Pa) they could fix anything! I thought I was already ok, with my cake making Mum, roofer/builder of everything and anything Stepdad and Carpenter Dad; it’s literally the handiest family ever!

Anyways she fixed it, of course, just in the nick of time…

You may notice the one’s above have white thread, after sewing enough for Darren’s family party, I then changed my mind and sewed the rest black!

So below are the final ones!

There are actually seven different versions of the inside, depending on who the invites were for:

  1. You.
  2. You, your Mrs.
  3. You, your Mr.
  4. You, your Mrs, the kid.
  5. You, your Mrs, the kids.
  6. You, your Mr, the kid.
  7. You, your Mr, the kids.

After printing them all, I realised we could have got it in two varieties

  1. You.
  2. You guys.

Hindsight what a wonderful thing! But there you go…

Just thinking this has turned out to be a crazy long post and I haven’t even included how I designed it, choosing paper, choosing envelopes etc… etc… but I don’t want to bore you to death! Now we’ve just got to give them all out, and these are only the save the dates!

Just wait till you see what I have planned for the invites!!!

Big bring-on-lots-more-over-sized-time-consumming-DIY-projects-to-share

Love Amanda

p.s. I’d love to hear about any oversized, time-consuming DIY projects you’ve taken on, without quite realising what you’ve taken on until it’s too late…

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

18 thoughts on “What Amanda Did… Some Hardcore Letterpress DIY.

  1. Those are beautiful!! I love letterpress and the fact that you have lovingly made every single one with your man is amazing.

    Our whole wedding was made up of ‘oversized, time-consuming DIY projects we took on, without quite realising what we took on until it’s too late…’ but – its all worth it in the end.

    Looking forward to reading about your next project.


  2. They are fantastic we want to do letterpress for our invites and now I am 100% def going to do it!!

    We recently sent our Save the Dates out. We screen printed my other half’s gorgeous design onto vintage lace hankies (although this was done by a fantastic London co.) then we also designed our own stamps (made by another brilliant co.) to go on the envelope and as a tag. It took a lot longer than originally anticipated to gather all the bits and find the right people to help but was so worth it, we love them and so did our family and friends. I am sure yours will to, it’s really exciting to receive pieces like yours, so personal and gorgeous! Plus there is nothing more satisfying then seeing the results of your imaginations! x

  3. W.O.W. That’s impressive Amanda, they look great!!! I love the booklet idea, it’s very sweet.

    DIY projects definitely take longer than you expect! After our save-the-date adventure, I think I’ll be limiting future DIY plans (partly because we have a one-bed flat that has a bedroom, a kitchen and one living/ dining area – no space for DIY!). I’ll just have to live all my DIY aspirations through you instead…


  4. That’s really set the bar high for DIY projects!
    But is anyone else amused by the STD acronym…as in giving every guest an STD…?!
    I didn’t have STD’s(!) but they are a lovely idea especially if marrying at a peak holiday time or midweek when people will need time off work.

  5. Great idea and loving the finished result, but I definitely don’t envy you. The time that DIY projects take is a big part of the reason why I’m trying to stay away from all but the easiest projects!

  6. Woah, well done Amanda. Amanda, can you please explain to me what a letter press actually is…erm, clueless! I love your save the dates, am particularly interested in the paper you used as I want to use a similar paper for my invites, can you tell me good suppliers / or what that type of paper is called pretty please 🙂

    We salute you Queen of DIY xxx

  7. Haha Kathryn, I can’t bear using the acronym STD, it just makes me laugh too much. I don’t think my friends would have been happy had I given them an STD!

    I’m very impressed by the DIY goodness going on here. We initially set out to do lots of DIY, including our save the dates and invites, but ended up finding a fantastic Etsy seller, and went with her instead. We do have a few other DIY bits n bobs in mind, which hopefully we’ll have the time and motivation to complete!

  8. I also made save the dates with my fiancee and was much fun although ours were much easier. We designed our own paper airplane, printed them then just a case of fold and send 🙂 good fun though! Yours look fantastic though very professional!

  9. I love this!!! It’s so well designed, unique and thoughtful. Perhaps you should set up a stationery company after the wedding and make good use of all your fancy new equipment! Just make sure you’re guests know how much time and effort went into it… 🙂

  10. Champness! I ruddy LOVE these, and especially love the font you chose – just gorgeous!
    Big up the brilliant mothers-in-law – couldn’t do without them!
    Can’t wait to see your invitations now!!
    PS: Kathryn & Lauren A – the STD thing made me chuckle a few weeks ago – can’t get my head around it either :o)

  11. Wow what a lovely response to I can only call my madness!!!

    Abi I’m sure your illustrator work is not shoddy and if it’s any comfort I’m shit on illustrator! As for STDates I don’t think they’re necessary, especially as I’ve got such a big mouth and had already drummed it into everyone’s head but I’d designed them long before I made them so well I just HAD to make them!

    And Robin I’m honored you are a true DIY legend and inspiration!!!

    Kelly I love your question! Letterpress is a form of printing, it’s how they used to print newspapers back in the day! Each letter is a separate piece of metal, that you pick out individually and put together in a metal frame and tighten in place with a thing called a quoin. then you put it in a printer Like the red handled contraption in the photos above! Then you ink it up and put paper in, pull the handle down and you have a print! Told you it was long winded!

    As for the paper, I looked all over for brown card and on a trip to staples found the index cards that we used! Only £2.24 for a pack of 25! Budget Bride indeed! Here’s the link for them – they come in different sizes too! Plus you could always cut the letter bit of the top!


    Sorry that’s turned in to a big old ramble!

    But it truly is SOOO great reading all of your lovely comments! Especially as I’ve had a bit of a crappy week at work!!!


  12. Thanks Amanda, on the link now. I now understand what the letter pressing is and am about to tell the boy! Have a great weekend xxx

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