Invitations Part 2 – Tackling the Gocco

Last we chatted I told you about my reluctance to take the Gocco out of its perfectly packed box. But it had to be done. So I spent many hours reading tips on Weddingbee and right here on EAD. I watched videos on YouTube, and I found a very detailed tutorial on Flickr.

There are so many resources out there, and I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do want to share with you some lessons I learned along the way.

Design Phase

  • Buy vector illustrations. This will make your life a lot easier! We found our tree on iStockphoto, and it cost just $10.
  • The Gocco is capable of printing pretty fine detail, if used correctly, but I don’t recommend using less that 9px font.
  • Create a “safe zone” for graphics and text. The Gocco PG-5 pad is exactly 3.75 x 5.75. BUT I suggest not designing larger than 3.5 x 5.5. We learned this the hard way and had to resize our invitation text (after wasting two bulbs, one screen, ink, and several invitations!).

Print Phase

  • As I mentioned, the size of the Gocco pad may be smaller than the size of your paper. For us, it’s perfect for our 3.5 x 5 RSVP postcards, but not ideal for our 4.5 x 6.5 invitations. Mrs. Penguin offers a great tutorial on how to print onto an area larger than the pad. Basically you need to break your design into pieces and stamp each one separately – we burned one screen for the tree and one for the text.
  • Convert all documents to black and white and print on either a laser jet printer, or create a photocopy using carbon ink. Make sure to check your copies if your design has fine detail. The Office Max copy machine didn’t do a thorough enough job, so we had to ask them to print it from behind the counter.

Gocco Phase

  • Before burning my first screen, I watched this video from Paper Source, which is not only entertaining, but quite helpful.
  • Do not fear the light! Nick captured my first “press” here:

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  • If you insist upon creating the perfect color by mixing inks (the standard green was just too bright for our liking), I recommend doing it in a Ziploc bag. Then snip the corner and squeeze the ink onto the screen. Make more than you think you’ll need! We didn’t follow this advice and ended up mixing several times, which led to slightly different shades of green. But, hey, it only added to that “handmade” quality we love so much!

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  • Our prints seemed to get better as the ink had time to really sink into the burns. Prepare for about 10 throw aways for every 50 keeps. (Again, I wish we had followed this advice and purchased a few extra pieces of cardstock!)

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Embossing Phase

  • Did I mention we like to make everything just as elaborate (a.k.a. complicated) as possible? We couldn’t just Gocco our invitations … We had to emboss them, too! Seriously, after testing it, we were hooked! It makes the colors a bit bolder and everything just pops right off the paper. So impressive!

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  • I recommend buying “clear detail” powder for the most control; we found ours at Michaels.
  • Move quickly! You want your Gocco ink to be as wet as possible when you apply the powder. Our Friday night assembly line was set up as follows: Emily on the Gocco, Nick on the embossing powder, Mom on the embosser, and Dad on the run. (He took finished cards from the kitchen to the family room to dry.)

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Oh, and one more tidbit of advice … Give yourself PLENTY of time! We spent about five hours on 100 RSVP cards on Friday night and closer to eight hours on 100 invitations between Saturday and Sunday. Of course, that eight hours accounts for one mistake, two trips to Office Max, and having to burn, print, and emboss from two screens for each invitation.

Was it worth it??? Yes! We’re so pleased with how they turned out.

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Still to do on the invitation front:

  • Print/Gocco accommodations and directions inserts
  • Gocco envelopes
  • Address RSVPs and invitations
  • Assemble and secure everything in pocket folds (Any suggestions of how best to do this?)
  • Order postage
  • (Hopefully) mail by the end of June!

Tell me — what was your first Gocco experience like? Did it take more time than you anticipated? Do you have any tips or resources to add to my list?

17 thoughts on “Invitations Part 2 – Tackling the Gocco

  1. Emily! These are absolutely beautiful! So creative and lovely. You really did an amazing job.

    We embossed all of our stationary, too…it really adds a lot to the page!

  2. Thank you SO much for the detailed instructions and for sharing your gorgeous invites as and example and inspiration! I plan to do our invitations on my Gocco and was wondering how to size them for the larger paper. I also have been mixing inks (and the test strips are sooo pretty, but what a mess!) and wasn’t sure how to transfer to the screen when it comes time for the real thing. I love the Ziploc bag approach. I took a Paper Source class about 2 years ago that was a good first step, but it just covered the basics and not these more detailed tips. I feel a lot more confident now. Thank you again!

  3. Emily, these turned out so great! The mixed ink make them look really rustic. I wish I could see them in person! I’ve bought embossing powder but never have taken the leap into making anything using them. Bravo!

    Mrs. Penguin’s most recent blog post: What? No Cake?!

  4. Your invitations turned out beautiful! Congratulations. I’ve never used Gocco, but I’ve been looking into it and I feel more confident now that I’ve read your post and the links that you provided.

  5. Wow! Those look wonderful. And thank you for the gocco tips. I got one for my invites as well…but I still haven’t taken it out of the box yet…I have to work up the courage!
    I love the font that you used for your names…what is it if you don’t mind me asking.

  6. They turned out great! I salute you for your patience! I thought about mixing in a plastic bag for the STDs I made about halfway through, but I was low on blue ink and worried running out so I didn’t.

    Kelly Merrill’s most recent blog post: It’s on.

  7. Ha! I bought a gocco about a month ago and was all fired up. It is still in the box and I have been wicked intimidated by it lol !
    Thanks for giving me so much detail! I am ready to unwrap it now lol !

  8. i’m also thinking of doing something very similar with my wedding invites – using my gocco and then applying embossing powder. but i’m going to have to use 3 screens for the design i’ve created. i was wondering how you staggered the steps for the 2 passes on the gocco then the embossing. was it gocco, emboss powder, heat, then all over again? thanks!

  9. Great question, Lee! We had to gocco our main invitation (with the tree) in two parts. So, yes, that means we had to emboss it twice, as well. Here are the steps we followed:

    – Gocco tree
    – Powder and emboss tree
    – Let dry over night
    – Gocco words
    – Powder and dry words
    – Admire our work

    Whew! It was time consuming, but we were really pleased with the results. Let me know if you have other questions. And good luck!

  10. thanks emily, that’s super helpful! just one more question if you don’t mind…the way my design is laid out, i’m going to need to do two passes over the same area. the design does not overlap, but i need two different colors very close together, and i don’t think i can get the ink blocker in between. do you think it will be dangerous to try to heat emboss an area that has already been embossed? is there a risk of burning the already embossed area? not sure if you ran into this problem since your tree and text are in separate areas. thanks!

  11. Lee, you’re right — our designs were separate, and so we didn’t have to re-emboss any areas. However, I do know that if you hold the embossing gun in one spot for two long, you can burn the paper. If you give it enough time to cool, though, you may not encounter this problem. I’d love to see your finished design!
    .-= Emily’s most recent blog post: Prost! =-.

  12. This is so informative, thank you very much!
    However, the Gocco seems to be discontinued.
    D0 you have any suggestions for an alternative to the Gocco?
    I would appreciate.
    Thanks a million! :-)

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