“For Them” is a set of silk screened holiday greeting cards which I made for friends and families, featuring two designs and six cards in a set. Each design has three layers using contact paper as stencils and printed on American Master Natural color paper.
The idea behind this set of cards is that, instead of me giving my friends one greeting card that I write, since I have the ability to reproduce images, why don’t I give them the cards so that they would be able to pass on the greetings to other friends? Sounds more romantic. Yes, anything more romantic I’ll do! I started working on these holiday cards early so that my friends will have plenty of time to send them out.
Originally I was to give away 20 sets, which means a total of 120 prints, 60 in one design and 60 the other. However, I mistakenly printed the first design on all 150 cards (extra 30 for error margins), therefore I had to get another 150 cards for the other design. For some reason, I cut myself 60 of those wrapping straps while in fact I only needed 20. In total I ended up producing around 50 sets that took 3 weekends. All I have to say is, kids, stay in school and learn your math good!
1) Design brain storm Knowing the volume that I was going to produce, I tried to simplify the ideas down to just some simple shapes that are iconic for the holiday season.
First of all, the two designs should utilize the common holiday graphic elements and be able to relate to each other in terms of shapes and color schemes. The X’mas tree decorations came to mind. What does the holiday season mean to me? Since I’m not soÂ religious, it mainly means love, warmth, friendship, something from the heart, and…eating! I tried to combine the heart and stomach, but they just didn’t go very well and the visual was too complicated, so I scratched stomach. Another major icon for the holiday is the star. What does the star mean for me? At this stage of my life I see the star as some kind of guiding light, kind of like a north star. Therefore I put a compass in the middle of the star.
2) Refining the design I created the design and mockups in Illustrator. Tested some fonts for “For Them” text and see how it’ll look like. Again, I will have to manually cut out from contact paper, therefore choosing something that will work with that was an interesting challenge.
3) Making the stencils Printing out all the shapes in black makes it way easier to cut stencils out of contact paper.
Â 4) Printing the first layer for the X’mas ball design It was pretty straight forward, a ball!
Â 5) Printing the hanging string on the X’mas ball Again, quite straight forward, printing that layer. For simplicity’s sake, I did not layer or put any element adjacent to one another, therefore making it very easy. Well, I’ve told one of my friends that my house is currently full of flies, as illustrated below. They like lights, you see.
An interesting phenomenon occurred while printing these small shapes. The ink was sticky enough and the paper is light enough that every time I pulled the print, the paper itself would be stuck on the screen. If not separated carefully, the wet print could be ruined.
Â 6) Printing the heart Since the heart is the focal point in this design, I made sure to print a whole bunch of proofs.
Â 7) Printing the star of the star design Illustrated here is the slight tear at the sharp ends of the star. Sometimes you just can’t cut that precisely. In these tiny tears ink would leak out and the beautiful angle would be ruined. Foreseeing this based on experience, I cut out extra stencils to cover up the torn area, however small they were.
8) Printing the hanging string By this time you can see, it’s in the evening already.
9) Printing the compass in the star Because of the “doughnut hole” problem, I needed to put the middle stencil back into the doughnut hole. Since the area was so small, the ink leaked out some, the position moved some which only required more proofs and readjustment.
10) Printing the wrapping strip I made a little registration marks to make sure the text printed in the middle.
11) Packaging I got 300 envelopes in total from Staples, and used up all of them. Still had a lot of plastic sleeves from my previously failed craft business that was never quite a business. Some double sided tape to help hold the text strip. I’m so happy they are all going somewhere outside of my bedroom!
12) Voila! Merry X’mas and Happy New Year!
Thank you for being here. Again, with all my prints, these are dedicated to Larry, who taught me how to print. If only he can write from the grave, I’d give him a set. Every set has a name on it and they are all flying out of my house in no time. Yes!