portable letterpress kit vs homemade press
Who doesn't love letterpress? And now pretty much anyone can own their own letterpress with Lifestyle Crafts' new Letterpress Combo Kit, available for $134.99 at Oh My Crafts!.
While I love this new age of bringing artisan crafts to the everyday consumer (die-cuts, embossing, you name it), usually the limitations of these converted products are still very prevalent.
The machine is similar to the Cuttlebug + its embossing plates. It's rather small, so it's good for small cards and tags. But you wouldn't be able to print stationery or anything. On the plus side it does offer its own proprietary printing plates with some nice modern designs for weddings and whatnot. To print your own design, it may be possible to have your own traditional plates custom made and use them in the machine.
Overall, it's a pretty simplistic system. As a crafter, I would probably prefer to make my own because I'll have much more control and a much larger dimension to work with that way. (I'm already set on doing letterpress wedding invites. :P ) There is a very excellent tutorial on woodblockart.ca on how to make a press using an automotive bottlejack, some pipes, and plywood.
It's a very impressive design. Bottle jacks are quite the cheapo at Home Depots, you can even get a powered hydraulic one so you won't have to crank. I'm sure you can maintain a pretty nice impression that way. You can probably add some registration elements to it too for more accuracy. If you're really a serious crafter, you would even get a boxcar aluminum base. *drool*
I guess what letterpress one would want is their cup of tea. Lifestyle offers a nice all-in-one package with virtually no assembly required. A bottle jack press can be cheap and has more expandability, but certainly would be a lot more work. Or, you can also just do some online shopping for some pretty dazzling readymade letterpress prints.