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

 

Accepting change and making decisions

It's hard to believe that February has come, and almost gone. I don't know if it's a good thing (that I've been so immersed in work that I haven't been aware of time) or a bad thing (that I've been so immersed in work that I haven't been aware of ANYTHING ELSE). One thing's for sure, it's been sort of crazy! The juggling between custom orders, creating prints and greeting cards has been tough! It's been hard not to jump to a new thing every fifteen minutes but stay focused on the task at hand.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I can manage this new pace of life without going crazy. Organization, of course, is key, and my moleskin planner never leaves my side. No, I will not give up handwriting all my appointments and to do lists!! I've found that the other incredibly important element to sanity for me is a regular routine of yoga and running. Running is great when I'm super stressed and need to physically tire myself out to calm my mind, and yoga really helps with mindfulness and focus. Since I've been working from home and turning into a hermit, I've found a love for doing yoga in my own home space. Something about using my home as a place that I can wind down as well as work feels balanced and encouraging. I use this amazing website for my classes.

Having your own business can be so liberating and constraining at the same time. You can decide on ANY direction for your business, but all decisions feel like they hold so much weight that it's stupefying! I finally did make a decision recently, and that is to offer up my calligraphy and design services for wedding invitations and events. Yay for making the decision! I hand design the invitations and create a digital copy that folks can print themselves, or send to a printer! I'm working on getting some examples on my Etsy shop soon....

Speaking of Etsy, if you haven't already seen, I've added some new screenprinted cards that can be used for many different occasions- the cards are blank and speak the universal language of love. :) Here's my screenprinting process and setup in my home studio:

 

On a personal note, it's been a bit of a challenge understanding where my 'new life' fits in with the world and people around me. There have been stressful, sometimes sad, sometimes guilty, sometimes happy days related to this. I stumbled on this article recently. It was a good reminder that when I feel like I'm 'wasting time' (mostly in relation to my old life), I am probably wrong, and even if I'm not, it's something I shouldn't stress about because it's still leading me down some pretty amazing paths. I am still accomplishing something even if I am not going into an office everyday.  I need a daily reminder of this- we probably all do. :)

xx

Priyanka

The image at the beginning of this post is a little quote I wrote out for my lovely friend's beautiful new baby. Check out my Etsy shop for more pics and purchase options :)