Making Christmas Cards

Hi pals, This update is going to take you behind the scenes at Paper Trails Design Co! There's so much that goes into making each card, and I hope you find it as interesting as I do!

Step One: Design

I start off by coming up with manymany (mostly terrible) ideas and designs that I sketch out in my notebook, or go through random sketches I've done in the past to see if there's anything good there. Once I have a solid base, I go through it all and narrow down the ones I have a 'good feeling' about. Not a lot of science here!

A lot of the cards I've created have been design patterns in a shape. I create a template of the shape, and this is when my good friend tracing paper comes out! I use tracing paper on top of the templates so I can freely create different designs without having to redraw the initial shape.

Now comes the tricky part! When screenprinting cards, only one colour can be printed at a time. So I have to plan out the designs for each colour ahead of time, and I use tracing paper to separate the design into two (or more) colours.

Once the design seems to be ready to go, I usually scan my traced designs into photoshop to clean it up and ensure there aren't any holes in my colouring! Also, I should mention that the design needs to be black in this stage- the colour comes later, with the paint!

Step 2: Prep the Screen

The next step is one I complete at Open Studio. I transfer the designs onto my screen using emulsion, a dark room, and a huge UV light machine. Once that's done, I take my screens back home and set it up to print!

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Step 3: Print!

Mixing inks can be sofun and sofrustrating at the same time. But once I've got a colour ready,I'm good to go! I use newsprint for rough drafts, to test ink, etc. Once I figure out where my card needs to be positioned, I hold it's place with tape so that each card can go in the same spot.

The cards dry pretty quickly, so the process doesn't take too long if I have to apply a layer or two of different colours.

Step 4: Package and Send!

I really look forward to the packaging part of the process! Those who know me can attest to my pretty strong love for wrapping gifts. And that's how I think of every sale- I try to make every order a pretty little package that folks will be delighted to receive in the mail.

Thanks for reading about my process! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below, I would be happy to answer them! I did run through step 2 pretty fast (prepping my screen), but I felt it was too much info! I think I'll leave it for another blog post on a rainy day. :)

If you haven't checked out my Etsy shop yet, please do! My cards will be on sale up until the week before Christmas, but I recommend ordering by the first week of December to receive them on time!

xo and have a great rest of the week!

Pri

 

Living out a hobby

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  I'm finally back to the blog, and so much to share! I've just added this year's screenprinted christmas cards to my Etsy shop, and there will be  a post on my process of creating these cards soon!

Letterpress letters

I've been feeling fortunate lately. Every action I'm taking with my business seems to involve a huge creative and technical learning curve so that even a year into the business, everything is still feeling so new and unchartered!

There's been a LOT of learning in the past two months- I've taken a letterpress workshop at Open Studio, which was a fantastic introduction to using the Vandercook press. I recently also took 'gilding' and 'zentangles' workshops  through the Calligraphic Arts Guild of Toronto, both of which were so inspiring and fun, I'm itching to add these learnings to everything I'm working on! It's kind of wonderful that the things that inspire and excite me are also very helpful in growing my business and my level of skill.

So now that my cards are printed, I'm settling back into creative and marketing mode. There's so much that happened this summer that I have to update my portfolio...which is all good news. And speaking of good news!... I'm superexcited to announce that I'll be joining the Etsy team at the Spring 2016 One of a Kind Show in Toronto! Eeek! It's a BIGDEAL for my little business (which means for me!), and I have SO MUCH creating to do for it! I can't wait!

In the meantime, lots of things to cross off that to do list...and so it continues. With the intermittent bursts of creative energy, and thrill of being my own boss. Yay!

xo

Pri

Rearranging everything

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Sometimes this blog reminds me of a blaring alarm clock. I always seem to begin by thinking back to the last time I blogged, and...what? it's been two weeks already? Howzthat?

It's been an abnormally stressful month. The heavyweight Christmas season is fast approaching, and with it comes many late nights, much anxiety, and looonggg lists of to-dos. That coupled with the fact that my business is almost a year old (!!!) and there is so much I wish I had figured out and done before now.

I think the stress reached a peak about a week ago, when I felt paralysed with fear, worry and no clue where to start, that I ended up watching a full season of Friends on Netflix in the middle of the day- taking refuge in numbing my mind for hours on end. Guys, that's when you know something's up! It seems so much easier to work when I have deadlines set (like orders to be fulfilled)- there's a clear goal, and clear timing. And someone already paid for it and wants my work! Creating without any clue about how people will receive my work is more stressful than I EVER imagined!!!

I kind of love making big changes (this life, case in point), so after my i-feel-sorry-for-myself-so-I'll-binge-watch-netflix episode I decided on creating a fresh outlook and environment for myself. Instead of putting on the pressure to work endless hours with noendinsight, I decided to intersperse my time between work, taking meaningful breaks (I'm finally reading again!), and allowing myself breathing room. It's just as important to take care of yourself and your environment as it is to put in many work hours. And you know what? During this time (non-work hours) I think I've stumbled upon another card series! So there you go- it works!

This environment changing mood I'm in is leaking to other areas of my life- I've been planning to reorganize my studio, and the apartment is slowly getting a deep clean! ah, it's rejuvenating!

By the way, I'm offering custom greeting cards now on my Etsy shop. I will have more postings soon, but if you're interested in gifting a one of a kind card (for a special birthday or anniversary, new baby, wedding, new home...so many reasons), please get in touch!

Hope you are having a great week. It's rainy here, perfect for working under warm lights, tea breaks, yoga, or you know, watching netflix.

xx

Pri