Gettin' My Gocco On

After a wild goosechase with Fed-Ex, I finally received my Gocco machine from Paper Source! Over the weekend I got busy designing, trimming and printing my reception table cards on my Gocco. Here's what happened.

One thing before we begin. Since Gocco supplies do not come cheap, be prepared for some waste. Although everything was carefully planned out, the best part about crafting for me is being spontaneous and creating something I've never thought of before. With that, came some wasted bulbs and screens, but you just have to move past it. The more prints I did, the more I learned. I put together a price breakdown at the bottom of this post to you get an idea. Ok, now for the fun stuff!

Ta-da! Here's the unassuming Japanese contraption that brought so much joy to my weekend!

I got the small Gocco PG5 machine that prints up to 3.75" by 5.75" images. Of course you can print on larger paper, just the image has to be that size.

The first thing you need to do is create an original image. The key is to use carbon, so photocopies from laser printers work very well. Inkjet printouts do not. Two bulbs wasted. But I'm over it.

You can also use the carbon pen that to Gocco machine comes with to draw the text or image you want to print. I am using a design for my table numbers and menus. I placed the photocopy on the sticky foam surface (your paper will unstick). I was careful line up the corners so I know exacty where to put the sheets for my final prints. This way, I won't have as many mistakes on my final paper.

Since I used a photocopy, I had to put a blue filter (included with machine) behind the master screen. If you use the pen, you do not need the blue filter. Slide these two into the top part of the machine. Sorry I didn't get a good pic of the filter before I flashed the bulbs, just pretend that master screen is blank!

Blue Filter with master screen

Slide both into top of machine with the blue filter away from you and the arrow on the master screen facing you and down.

Now screw in two bulbs in the yellow part of the machine. They are coated with chemical, so be careful and wash your hands after! Line up the arrows and place the yellow part with the bulbs on top of the closed orange machine. It should snap into place. When they are connected, it should look like the picture below when the machine is open.

Next, press down on the bottom corners of the machine with your photocopy in place. It was much easier for me to stand up to do this. It's not hard, I'm just a weakling. Don't look at the machine, the flash this produces is very bright. I've heard people say that there's smoke or that it's very hot, but I did not experience this. Well, the bulb was a bit hot, so don't touch it, but it was not smoking. It was quick and clean. This was the easy part!

Open the machine and you have made your master screen! Remove the screen and blue filter. You can set aside your blue filter. You won't need anymore until your next photocopy print.

Peel back to clear plastic and you are ready to begin inking your master screen.

Now, this is the part I am quite proud of. The design I have is a crown with some flourishes around it. I wanted to make menu cards with just the crown and table numbers with the crown and flourishes, but use only one screen. So I exposed everything but will only begin with the crown to make my menus.

I used ink blocking (also included with machine), little strips of foam that is sticky on one side. I only want to print to crown so to make sure the ink doesn't bleed into the flourish part of the design and print it, I blocked off the design.

Ink blocking strips

Now I'm ready to ink my screen. The Gocco machine includes three tubes of paper inks in black, red and gold. Several more colors are available. There is also ink specifically for printing on fabric.

When you lift the machine up, the paper will stick to the top, unless you have it directly on the sticky pad. In my case, I didn't but I just peeled off the paper and it was fabulous! As you can see, only the crown design printed because I did not ink the rest of the image.

A little ink goes a long way. I printed about 35 menus without re-ink and could have done more. A bunch more.

Now remember I was going to print the rest on my design using the same screen? After I printed off only the crown to my heart's content, I used the ink blocking method so I can print multiple colors.

After I separated each section (different section, different color), I inked away! I was very generous with the ink because if you lift that clear plastic to re-ink, some of the colors might swoosh together making imperfect prints. Might be a cool effect, but not for my purposes today anyway.
I repeated the steps above and inked my second set of prints. This time, I lined up the corners of my paper to the corner of the sticky foam to ensure proper placement of the print.

Here are some other things I tried with Gocco this weekend:

Text works very well with Gocco. I was afraid the text was too small but it came out very crisp, much better than printing on my inkjet.

I love how the gold comes up on black.

It was a busy weekend for me and my Gocco!

All in all, I am very pleased with the Gocco. Of course you can achieve the desired effect with this using computer printers or stamps, but it wasn't the same. And while wedding guests enjoy their meal without notice my table numbers, I will think back on this weekend fondly.

Price breakdown

Each print will take:

2 bulbs= about $3.00

1 master screen= about $3.00

So right there, you are looking at least $6 to make a print, not including ink. But this might not be a bad investment if you are looking to make hundreds of copies. the tubes of ink will last you-- they are quite large. It is not good if you want to make a set of 8 note cards or something. So it's good to plan ahead. As I did this weekend, I was able to do two projects with on screen and two set of bulbs. Make use of the space on the screen. I also heard I can wrap up used screens, ink and all, in saran wrap and keep it in the fridge to use later. We'll see how that turns out.

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