Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Project #1--2014

Gocco Printed Thank You Card
One of my resolutions this year was to use my Print Gocco more. For the uninitiated, the Print Gocco machine was a home based ink printing system that was immensely popular in Japan. The goal of the machine was to allow people to print nangajo at home. Nangajo are the yearly New Years cards that are sent out in Japan that are similar to Christmas cards. As the cost of bulk printing decreased and the materials for the machine became more scarce since the company discontinued the machine, the desire for the machine decreased in Japan but became very popular elsewhere.

Of course, I came onboard at the end of the frenzy and starting buying materials as they became more scarce. Because of this, I have been hoarding materials and not using them because I didn't really know if I was going to be able to get replacement supplies.

So this year, I have decided to reduce my stash of Gocco materials by using them and to let the chips fall where they may. I have three machines--two of the standard machines that produce post card sized prints and the PG for the Arts will allow much larger materials to be printed.

Another resolution that I wanted to try and accomplish this year is to reduce my supplies by using materials I already have before buying any new materials. I have always been that Good Samaritan when it came to craft supplies. I would scour Etsy, CraigsList and Ebay looking for raw materials that I could use for my card making business and book arts. I became very popular with home crafters, new stationery business owners, and brides: people who were going out of business, those who made bad purchases or DIY brides. I would help these people out by buying their mistakes or other supplies so they could move on. Don't get me wrong--I benefited from these transaction by getting low cost raw materials. Yet, many times, I have/had to create projects around these items rather than chose/purchase something else. I mean really, how many Astrobright Neon Orange envelopes do you really need? Well, I have 1000, in case you are wondering.

Having said that, I decided to make Thank You cards using my Print Gocco. I am using pre-made orange cards that I purchased from something going out of business. The card stock is the basic A2 size and will fit in the standard A2 Astrobright Neon Orange envelopes that I am using to coordinate. 

STEP ONE: Design the Screens
The Print Gocco printing process is similar to screen printing. You expose a screen to light where the image is burned onto the screen. You then apply ink to the top of the screen and press down onto the surface of the material you wish to print (unlike screen printing where you pull color across the screen with a squeegee). It is a unique system with interesting challenges.

You can print out the design on regular paper with your laser printer and then burn the images onto your screen. If there is too much toner on your paper, there can be light areas on the screen that won't allow the ink to pass. I knew that I wanted to do two printings on each card. The background would use various sizes of donuts (the wingdings name for them) that was printed in one color and the word "Thanks" overprinted. The problem with getting a solid thick line needed for the text was that the machine rarely allows such thick and dark lettering to burn properly. I would address that issue later.

Overall Design
I prepared the overall design on a single sheet of paper so I could burn only one screen with both images (thereby, using fewer materials).

STEP TWO: First Printing
I decided to use Navy Blue ink for the background color.

First Printing in Action
As you can see, I am using the left side of the machine to print the background. After each card is finished, I set the cards to dry on my over the door Elfa system (originally designed to hold CDs--does anyone buy CDs anymore?).

First Printing Drying
First Inking
STEP THREE: Second inking
As you can see in the above image, it can take some finesse to determine how much ink to use and how much pressure to use to get a clean imprint. To accommodate for the text screen, I decided to use a translucent metallic ink (in this case silver) for the second printing so that any inconsistencies in the text print would be much less noticeable. Also, before removing the card from the screen after printing, I would run a brayer along the back side of the card to give a little more direct contact with the ink.

After the cards where printed with silver, I put them back on the drying racks for 24 hours (in this case, they could be dried in a closed position).
All the pretty soldiers drying
The finished project
As the blue ink was drying out on the screen, I decided to replace the blue ink with red ink from a dying tube. I only needed to get another 30 prints so I decided to experiment with adding a different color to see how it would bleed through during each printing.

Theoretically, I simply could have wiped the screen clean with a baby wipe and reapplied color. Since I was trying to conserve materials I decided to use the last bit of ink from an already opened and finished tube of red. As you can see from the image below, there was plenty of blue ink still available on the screen. I will personally use these blue/red combinations for my personal use. I actually really like the way they turned out.

Blue-Red Background.

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