Printing Techniques Explained

Printing Techniques Explained - Invited by LamaWorks

So, last week we talked about different ways to customize your stationery right?! There is so many ways to be creative in that area and make every fun idea that you have come to life.

One thing that often comes up a lot is printing technique. From basic to formal - how you print says a lot about your style. Digital printing, letterpress, embossing, gold foil …. Seems like a whole new language, right? Each of them has it’s own unique characteristics, we just have to figure out which one is right for you! So, let me help a little.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is the most common type of printing and the least expensive. It uses a high end laser printer to transfer color to your paper. It is smooth to the touch and has an endless array of color options. Contrary to popular belief - it doesn't matter if you are printing all color or black and white, the cost varies by your page size.

While you can use any color paper, keep in mind that the colors get absorbed into a color, so if you want to use, say orange on kraft paper - that orange will be quite muted on the page. To keep your colors vibrant, use white or ivory paper.

Digital White

Digital white is newer to the industry. In olden days (or a few years ago!) when you wanted to have white lettering on a gray page, you would use white paper and essentially put down a gray box and white text. So the front would look like gray paper with white ink, but the back of the paper would be white - faux white lettering.

Not anymore my friends! Now they have a laser printer that has a white toner so you can actually use a colored paper with true white ink. It looks stunning and isn't too much more expensive than traditional digital printing.

Digital Metallic

This technique is super brand new to the industry. Similar to digital white, it uses a laser toner fit with either metallic silver or metallic gold toner cartridges. It is a really nice alternative to foil if foil is out of your budget. Use it alone on white or dark paper or mix it with traditional colors for a pop of something special. {I'm working on a metallic gold and red plaid holiday party invite right now that I can't wait to show off!)

Thermography

Thermongraphy is always classy and traditional.  Do we have any crafters out there that make their own stamped cards??? Have you tried embossing? You stamp your image, shake a clear powder on the image, then use a heat gun and watch it bubble up for a raised texture. 

Same idea here. Your design is printed using a laser printer, a powder is dusted on while that is still wet and then heat is applied to cause the raised texture. It gives your paper a very distinct look and high end feel at a moderate cost. You can use either one or two colors in this process.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a technique that uses a woven mesh with an ink blotting stencil to create your desired image. Each color is applied one at a time and you can layer up to 3 colors to your design. Each color requires a new, custom screen to be built, so the more colors you use, the higher your cost will be.

The inks that are used here are opaque, so screen printing is an excellent choice if you want to use light colors and have them print vibrantly onto darker paper.

Letterpress

We are starting to get to the big guns here - the more artisan printing methods. Letterpress has been around since the 15th century and was once the only printing method available. Back in the day - letters were hand selected and placed onto a bracket. Ink was carefully applied and you pulled a lever to push that text into the paper.

Today, more modern methods apply, but they still use the same machines from the late 1800s. In my dream of dreams I will one day own a vintage letterpress machine.

But I digress. Today, I can design your invitation or stationery set and send it off to the letterpress printer. They take my design and turn it into a polymer plate. Your design is raised up on the plate. They place the plate on the machine, ink is mixed by hand and spread onto the press rollers. All of this is done by hand to ensure that they find the fine balance between too little and too much ink. The machine pulls the paper in and presses the design into the paper.

It is beautiful and amazing, and oh so complicated and hands on. It's expensive, but worth every penny of it if you can afford it. The larger your order, the cheaper it will be. If you think you want to have stationery for life, you can have a plate made and every time you need more stationery pay for small runs - making the plate is a large part of the cost so it saves you more over time.

This method can use either one or two colors. For a really awesome tutorial, visit Oh So Beautiful Paper and their interview with Boxcar Press (http://ohsobeautifulpaper.com/2012/01/the-printing-process-letterpress-printing/)

Embossing and Debossing

This method is very similar to letterpress printing, but without the ink. It uses the same plate making method to either push down into or up out of your paper to create a 3 dimensional, colorless design.

Foil Stamping

Again, this is a very similar method to letterpress, however with the addition of foil. Rather than using ink, the plate has foil placed onto it which is then heated and pressed into your paper. A wide variety of metallic shades are available.

If you want just small accents in foil, you do also then need to run it through a digital printer to get other colors, so the price can get much higher here.

But how are big box stores offering foil at prices that are much more affordable than what I can? Look at their designs. You will likely notice on invitations that the foil is used for accents - swirls, patterns, or graphics. They can likely have 10,000 of those made, then just print your information as each order comes in. Sadly, I can't afford to do that yet, so each of my runs will be custom until I can find one fantastic design that sells like hot cakes!!

 

So there you have it! Printing methods 101 - which do you love?

October 13, 2016 by Laura Mays

Customization and personalization tips

Customization and personalization tips - Invited by LamaWorks

Custom stationery - it’s the ultimate luxury gift right? Putting the extra ‘’umf’’ into everyday, maybe even boring items. I don’t know about you but when my stationery is on point I get the extra kick to work a bit harder. So why not share it with everyone else?! ‘’Be the person that makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and grace.’’ - Author unknown

Every woman puts so much effort, time and energy to look their best. When you look good you feel good and it’s a lot easier to take over the world that way! Right?! Well, I feel the same way about my stationery. It’s all in the details… Some days you just are not on top of it and don’t really want to get anything done. Having cute tools to help me stay organized and reach my goals just makes it way easier to finish my to-do list even on the ‘’I just want to stay in bed’’ kind of days. Make it yours, own it, literally!

It is also such a fun way to personalize gifts,cards and little surprises for family and friends. Showing that you know and remember what a person likes, and putting in that extra detail just for them- it’s kindness and love in disguise of a funny coffee cup or bookmark. I mean, if you have to choose between a boring white notepad or one that says ‘’Get shit done!’’, it’s a no-brainer!

Custom stationery has inspired me to start some amazing scrapbooks and sweet little notes just for myself. ‘’Things I can’t say out loud’’, ‘’Recipes I have to try again’’, ‘’Put that in my bucket-list’’, ‘’Oh, that cake!’’- these are some of my favorites. They look as fab on the outside as they do on the inside. There are so many fun and pretty things for your personalized stationery, so get on it! One day those will be the ultimate treasures. So funny and sweet to read, go back in time, feel the paper and remember all the love you have put into them!

So, are you having any kick-ass ideas for your stationery but thinking ‘’nah, these are not gonna work’’? Think again! The bonus to working with small business owners like myself,  is that they are often game for new things. If you have an idea for something you like - a font you saw somewhere, a color you can’t take your eye off of or something more off the wall than you can find at your local Target - a small business is the way to go. Why? Because I can - that’s why!

I design every bit of stationery myself and I print every set as the orders come in, so you know what? All you need to do is ask. I am not bound to 3 flower colors because I ordered 5,000 of them and they are just on my shelf waiting for your name. No, no, no. Now, I DO keep a few particular colors of paper and envelopes on hand so I can keep orders moving along, but if you have time? Why not ask for more?

Here is a quick list of things you probably didn’t even realize you could customize:

  • The aforementioned paper color. I now have 300 colors of paper - the perfect shade of almost white, but sort of gray is in there!
  • Ink color - easy peasy
  • Change the font
  • Add in a custom graphic - if I don’t have it, I can purchase it on your behalf OR if you really have something unique in mind, I can commission an artist to hand draw something for you - yeah I have connections everywhere
  • Add in an envelope liner
  • Go for a luxury printing technique like thermography, letterpress, embossing or foil

So that’s it! I hope you got inspired and motivated to customize the heck out of your stationery. Get creative, think outside of the box, shop small and don’t forget to have fun!

Back To School For... MOMS!

Back To School For Moms - Invited by LamaWorks

Summer is time for relaxing and chill time at the beach right?! Naaah, not for this mama. I’m sure that I’ll get to enjoy that again sometime- in 10 years when I will have three teenagers... For now it’s all about having 4 pairs of hands and keeping a close eye on everybody. Cleaning, cooking, working and sharing my never ending love. Phew, this mama needs a vacay, pronto!

Thank God I can say ’’Hello fall-time!’’. Done with the days of being suppppeer busy and keeping my kids entertained all the time! Now I’m not sure about your house, but for me back to school makes me do a bit of a happy dance. Life with three small boys can get a little overwhelming and noisy at times... Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys to the moon and back, but they need fun and exciting activities just like Mama needs her coffee and some ’’me-time’’.

Ask and you shall receive! September kicks in the door and takes control... Boys are off to school and I have this extra free time to do whatever the hell I please. Since mom-brain is used to working in the way of free time means cleaning/cooking/laundry... I say no! Let’s turn the postpone button on all of that and have some fun!

Time to set some new goals and take care of my own needs first for a change. Heck, I’ll get real crazy and take a 30 minute shower, by myself with the bathroom door closed!!! No, but really mamas, let’s use this time for ourselves. Afterall, we are the glue that keeps everything together in each household, so we deserve this!

So, what are the ideas that you have been cooking up in your head for a while but at the end of the day you just think ’’ah not now, I don’t have time or energy for all that...’’? Dig them out and start working your way towards them. Even the smallest goal that’ll be fulfilled will feel so good! Happy wife/mom is the key to a happy life for everybody. You have to charge your own batteries first to be on top of that parenting game and give everybody the attention and care they need after a busy day!

I have put together a list of some fun ideas to do just for yourself. Enjoy my favorite picks!

  • I know how much us mamas love our coffee. So why not get messy and try out this organic coffee scrub?! Little spa night in sounds perfect to me! Check it out here.

  • While kids are getting all new everything for school, what about us mums? Treat yourself with a cute purse or some killer-heels you know you only want to wear when you don’t have to run after anybody! This bag is so multi-functional and pretty at the same time. Fits all the mom-life necessities.

  • Afternoon bath sounds a bit strange, but trust me it is so amazing and refreshing. Throw in some yummy smelling bath salts and just soak it up! Here is a great example.

  • Busy weeks require good planning. There is no better way to organize your time using some fun printables. Check out and print this fun printable.

  • Pretty home is a peaceful home! Beautiful wall prints are such a chic way to personalize your rooms and put up great reminders for yourself. Find some really pretty ones here.


I hope that these fun ideas will help you get creative with your spare time and how to make the most out of it. Let’s keep our game 100 and have some amazing time while doing it! You got this mama!

September 13, 2016 by Laura Mays

Read A Book Day + Download a Free Printable To Read More!

 In this life full of free wifi, cell phones and social media, it is so easy to lose the connection with your true self and forget about the simple joys in life. One of my all time favorite hobbies is reading. Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are! Plop me down with a good book and I’m done, gone, hidden in it for days on end.

My favorite is paper books. Something about turning those pages and having it on my nightstand just gives it that extra special taste. My ideal Friday night is sitting out on my front porch swing, reading a book with a glass of Chardonnay and listening to the world go by. Nowhere to be, nowhere to go, just the world that my book creates. Reality just stops for a moment and I can get off that busy routine train-ride.

Read a Book Day - Invited by LamaWorks

Or even better - it’s January and it’s cold outside. I’m sitting on my couch with the fireplace keeping me warm and cozy. Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with some yummy whipped cream and marshmallows while losing myself into some quality reading! Perfection...

Read a Book Day - Invited by LamaWorks

Sounds too nice to be true, especially with 3 kids… I must be dreaming right?!  WRONG!  Ha!  You guys, I did it this year - I really did! All my babies were off to dreamland and I took that time just for myself. Paused my busy life and just zoned out… And all you really need is a good book!

I have to admit though that it’s been a longgggg time since I’ve done some consistent reading and it made me quite upset. How can it be that I haven’t found or made that time to give some food for the mind and soul?? So I went on a goal setting binge this January and I set out to read. A lot! It’s so fun to push myself out of my comfort zone. Challenge absolutely accepted and I will succeed!

Read a Book Day - Invited by LamaWorks

I set 3 goals - if I hit at least one I am already winning. But knowing myself, I will probably make it to the very end...

 

  1. Easy target - read 8 books this year
  2. Harder target - read 10 books this year
  3. Crazy out of this world target - read 12 books this year

 

Today is September 6th and I’ve read EIGHT books - go me! That quiet time I enter on my reading evenings is something I look forward to for the whole day. In this world full of noise, reading is something that just forces it all to be quiet and I can just enjoy it! I’m on vacation this weekend, so I’m hoping that number is NINE by the time you read this. 

What have I read so far:

  1. Broken Harbor - an easy to read thriller. Based in Ireland so in my head I always like to pretend I have a fun accent. It’s quirky with plot twists that are way out of the norm. It’s creepy, it keeps you on the edge of your seat as you ride along with the Dublin Murder Squad. 
  2. The Life We Bury - Allen Eskens - Joe is an English student with a broken childhood. He is just trying to scrape by in college one class at a time and has to interview someone for a class project. He has no family so he chooses to interview Carl Iverson, a convicted murder. He spent 30 years in jail convicted of rape and murder, but he has been moved to a nursing home for his final days. Joe digs into the old murder case and finds a past that he didn’t expect as he explores his own past and relationship with his unstable mother and autistic brother. Great mystery novel!
  3. What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty - Alice is a 39 year old gym addict, perfect school mom, perfect party thrower and event organizer… Until she has an accident at the gym and forgets the past 10 years - including her 3 children and the bitter divorce she is going through. She tries to reconstruct her life as snippets of her memory fade in and out, hoping she can figure out where it all went wrong and fix it before it’s too late. Loved it!
  4. Me Before You - Jojo Moyes - I’ll admit I wanted to read this one because of the movie that came out this year. Louisa is a plain girl with a boring life. When she loses her job, she takes anything to get by and ends up as a caretaker for Will - a young man that has quadriplegia after an accident. Before the accident, Will was an adventure seeker that traveled the world. Louisa tries to show him that life is still worth living, even with a serious disability. I’ll admit that I had a hard time with this one. I have a son with Down Syndrome so disability always hits me close to home, and it pains me greatly to think that anyone might think less of their life because they aren’t ‘perfectly made’. Good read, sensitive topic.
  5. Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline - Fantastic story about orphans from the mid nineteenth century. Children that were transported to the midwest for adoption - usually as farm hands, nannies or workers for the families. The story takes place as the depression hits and the constant struggle one girl to survive and build a new life. It parallels in with this girl telling her story, now as an old woman,  to a troubled orphan teen, unsure that she can overcome her odds to succeed. Loved this book as well! I love to learn more about a historical era I may not otherwise know of!
  6. In a Dark, Dark Wood - Ruth Ware - OK - grab this book, give yourself a weekend and settle in! It’s dark, it’s twisted, it’s mysterious and it’s fantastic. I believe this book is coming to film soon. Nora is invited to the bachelorette party of a long lost friend that she hasn’t spoken to in 10 years. The ‘hen party’ is at a strange glass cabin deep in the woods. As the party starts, old memories come up, there are strange events and they realize they are not alone, but you’ll never see what’s actually coming at you. I’ll say no more. Read it today!
  7. Rich and Pretty - Ruamaan Alam - This story chronicles female relationships. Two women that have been friends for nearly 20 years wonder if they are still friends, or merely still friends from habit. They weave their way through Sarah’s wedding, they reflect on their friendship and how it has adapted through the years. Great book on human relationships, but I wish it had more of a plot to it. Might just not have been the right style of book for me personally.
  8. The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware - Yes, the 2nd Ruth Ware book on the list and again - READ IT! This is an absolute must! I actually read this one in 24 hours flat, I just couldn’t put it down... There’s a luxury boat cruise, wealthy guests, a missing girl that may or may not even exist... I can say no more without giving it all up, trust me here and just go get it asap. You will thank me later!

 

Other books on the docket so far- The Nest and The Marriage of Opposites. I am honestly so thankful to myself for sticking with this challenge and making the time for it. ‘’I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read!’’- George R.R. Martin.

What about you guys, have you read any good books this year? Will you join me on this little adventure? Comment below and download the free book reading goal list and start your 2017 list! Let’s do this!!!

September 06, 2016 by Laura Mays

Back To School Stationery For Kids

As a mom I know how much there is already to do in everyday life and to include more things to the list while new routine starts, can be overwhelming. To make this a bit easier and fun for everybody I have put together a list of great products and tools for the whole family. New and cute makes everything even more exciting!

September 02, 2016 by Laura Mays

World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day - LamaWorks

Say hi to Logan everyone!

Logan is a charmer. He knows no stranger and he will win you over in the blink of an eye. He gives the best hugs, and you'll melt to pieces if you ask him to give you knuckles - seriously he blows it up and it’s just to die for.

 

March 23, 2016 by Laura Mays

What Your Wedding Color Says About Your Personality

What Your Wedding Color Says About Your Personality - LamaWorks

We all have our favorite colors we love - and it can say quite a lot about our personality. Read below and see if these personality traits apply to you - I'd love to know!

Hot trend: Blush Pink Wedding Inspiration

lamaworks blush wedding inspiration

Since spring is just around the corner and I have added a beautiful navy, blush and silver invitation I thought it would be a good idea to dedicate this week’s blog post to blush themed wedding inspiration.

6 tips for choosing colors for your wedding stationery

6 tips for choosing colors for your wedding stationery

Color, color, color.  Everyone always asks about your wedding colors. Your wedding colors will set the tone for your big day. They're the strands that join all the elements, from bridesmaids dresses to signature drinks, together.

13 Questions you need to ask your wedding stationer

13 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Stationer

 

From save-the-dates to thank you notes and everything in between, it’s safe to say stationery plays a pretty significant role in wedding planning. A great stationer will help you transform ordinary paper products into decorative elements that tie your whole wedding day together—so make sure you choose wisely!