My first introduction to letterpress came from Graphic Design class during my high school days and I was immediately a big fan of letterpress. Ecstatic I was, when I discovered letterpress was made available to the typical papercrafters like me. Yes, we are talking about the infamous letterpress by Lifestyle Crafts. Lifestyle Letterpress Starter Kit is designed to use with Epic 6 tool but if you own a Cuttlebug, you are in luck because the two are very compatible.
Before I go further, I should make it clear this review is solely based on my experiences using the letterpress in conjunction with the Cuttlebug. Despite the negative reviews written about the letterpress on Paper Crave and Boxcar Press My own experiences were slightly dissimilar. It’s true the printing plates did crack but this occurred only after several dozen prints and I did not experience dry blotches on my images. Ordering custom plates from Boxcar Press or Elum are strongly suggested and more durable. Without having to ditch the tools the starter kit supplied, I was able to get somewhat a clean and crisp print. (See images)
Unfortunately, the people at Lifestyle Crafts forgot to include some sort of cleaning agent in this starter kit but from further readings, mineral spirits (available at your local home improvement store) makes cleaning process a breeze. Through my own experiment, soaking the printing plate in 2-3 ounces of mineral spirits for approximately 5 minutes will help ensure the plates are thoroughly cleaned. Keep in mind, once the plates have been inked and even after a thorough clean, expect the plates to retain a slight cloudiness to them.
I suspect using the Lifestyle Letterpress with the Cuttlebug avoided some of the issues reported by other users who were using it with the Epic 6 tool. Based on other reviews the plate’s poor durability and consistency problems were not much of an issue when used with the Cuttlebug. Perhaps the Epic 6 tool does not provide even pressure across the roller causing the issues. I was very fortunate I did not experienced many setbacks like many others had. Nevertheless, I hope I have somewhat provided an additional insight about the Lifestyle Letterpress for many of you. This is an awesome kit to try and to have fun with. If only the printing plates were more durable and a cleaning agent was provided, the starter kit would have been complete and earned above 4 stars.
I would love to read about your experiences with the Lifestyle Letterpress, please feel free to leave me a comment. Thanks for reading and be sure to join me again on my next gear review. Please stop by my Project Galleries for some inspirations.