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By Zida Borcich

Monica Wellington’s women’s clothing boutique, SPLENDIFEROUS, needed a new business card.

Splendiferous! had evolved over the years and needed a new card to reflect that. Keeping the dandelion puff, and “Splendiferous” spelled with an exclamation point in place of that “i,” in the middle, but it needed a new, chicer, interpretation that befit how the shop is now.

I printed her new designs half on white Cranes Lettra 600 gsm, and half on black super-thick, Museum Mount papers. We then gilded the lily and added gold, metallic edge gilding.

On the white paper, we used a pearlized white foil for the puff and on the black paper, we used gloss black foil for the puff. Everything else was in gold foil.

Dies made by Owosso Graphic Arts, of course!

How to Store and Recycle Your Dies

How to Store and Recycle Your Dies


Storing Your Dies

It doesn’t matter what type of metal your die is made of — brass, copper or magnesium, they can easily be scratched or nicked. It’s recommended to store the dies in a foam envelope or bubble wrap and also to store them vertically versus stacking them on top of one another.


On the other hand, a good method for storing THERMAL KISS-CUTTING DIES is to drill a hole at one end to hang the die – picture a coat closet, but for dies! Hanging your dies avoids warping, but you can also stack the dies by taping a piece of cardboard over the face of the die. It’s best to avoid laying the stacked dies on a concrete floor, concrete has moisture, and moisture causes corrosion.


For embossing/debossing dies that have a counter die, it’s recommended to pin the counters to the die before storing them. If you just tape the counter to the die there is the possibility that shifting will occur and this will cause wear on both the die and counter. These marks will show up the next time you go to use the die if not stored properly.


Magnesium dies can corrode easily if the dies aren’t stored in a climate-controlled area. Spraying the dies with a cooking spray (i.e. PAM™) and keeping them in a zip-lock storage bag will help prevent corrosion. If your dies are Teflon® coated with OWOSSO Release Coat this will protect the dies from corrosion as well.


Recycling Dies

A common question we receive is: “Can I send my dies back to you to recycle?” 


Honestly, the expense of shipping your dies back to us would cost more than the recycle value. Most likely you have a scrap dealer in your area that would be happy to recycle your dies. Don’t expect to get rich, but at least you know you’re doing the right thing! As of this writing we are receiving $.90/pound for brass, $1.36/pound for copper and $.26/pound for magnesium from our local scrap dealer.


Pic of the Week

Our “Pic of the Week” is from Richard Minsky:
Catalog of the exhibition
American Publishers’ Bindings on the Books of Amelia E. Barr 1882-1919
Collected and described by Richard Minsky

Cover adapted from the 1897 William Snelling Hadaway design for Prisoners of Conscienceby Amelia E. Barr. The center panel is archival pigment inkjet on canvas, then stamped in 23K gold on a Kensol 36T with a die made by OWOSSO.

Pic of the Week

Title:  Elegant Wedding Cards

Like it or not, wedding season is nearly upon us! I created some new cards in 2016 and printed them on my 1882 Pearl letterpress in this year’s most fashionable color: blush pink.

My “Mr & Mrs” cards have always been popular, but I’ve been feeling like the design (previously set in vintage lead type) needed an upgrade, so I designed these stunners featuring a beautiful modern calligraphy typeface! Pick up a set here.

I also wanted to created a new design that would not only work for weddings (and not even same-sex unions at that), but any joyous occasion—birthdays, adoption, engagement, graduation… you name it, this card works. Available in blush here, but I’m thinking of printing them in lots of colors… Stay tuned!

Kristin Joiner


Pic of the Week

Our “Pic of the Week” is a dual effort. Using magnesium letterpress plates from OWOSSO, the Time Vampire Brewing logo is by Derek Reitzel and the Bird Greeting Card is by Ashley Crowley. These were letterpressed at Signal-Return.

#letterpress #printingplates

What Type of Metal to Choose for Foil Stamping, Embossing & Debossing Dies

What Type of Metal to Choose for Foil Stamping, Embossing & Debossing Dies

Many people wonder what type of metal to choose for foil stamping, embossing & debossing dies.  Several important factors combine to determine the choice between brass, magnesium and copper for creating the best results. No single factor should be used alone to make the decision. Since all of the factors listed below interact with one another, their cumulative effect should be considered. Experience will help you make the best material choice, and your printer, press operator, and photoengraver can all provide valuable assistance.


Choosing magnesium, when appropriate, can yield cost savings for your customer and speed up turn-around, without sacrificing quality. Magnesium is generally the preferred choice for foil stamping and debossing dies due to the etch depth that can be achieved.


Brass dies are hand sculpted and machined therefore making them the most expensive of the three metal choices. Brass dies are the most durable and since they can be repaired, the life of the die is almost endless. Interpretation of the artwork is only possible with brass dies, including shapes, textures and edges.


Copper is a relatively harder metal used for the same applications as magnesium dies. If your job requires a more durable metal, copper is the best selection.

Please consider the following:

  • Surface Area Pressure
  • Artwork Designs
  • Length of Press Run
  • Substrates
  • Handling and Maintenance
  • Experienced Craftsmanship

For more information click here:

Pic of the Week

Our “Pic of the Week” is from Joe, Assistant Professor of
Photography/Digital Media at King University.

We’ve used a magnesium die of the logo to make posters for a local film
festival the past two years. This year we made a one color as well as a
special edition two color poster.  Our client, PUSH Film Festival, loved

#filmfestival #posters #letterpress


Pic of the Week

Our “Picture of the Week” is from Leslie Hirst:

This is part of my Artist’s Book 4our: Reflections on Quaternaries, volume 4: GROW.

Magnesium plates were created from hand-set lead type and from my handwriting. The composition follows the flow and growth patterns of the plants featured in the book.

The design for this Artist’s Book was inspired by 18th century herbarium specimen books. This four-volume boxed edition is hand-inked, printed and bound in an edition of four.

The books are housed in a custom box with embossed spines that are also printed from magnesium plates from OWOSSO.

More images are available on my website at (select Portfolio: Artist’s Books)

#letterpress #lovetoread #printing

Pic of the Week


Our “Picture of the Week” is from Mod Notebooks.

At Mod Notebooks, we use OWOSSO magnesium debossing dies to create our small batch, hand pressed, notebook orders. The dies are raised & mounted on a wooden base, and we work with OWOSSO to make sure the size of the die is appropriate for our notebook covers.

How our small batch process works is that we cover our debosser with the dies that allows us to partner with companies (large and small) who want a few or a few dozen notebooks.

Debosser Pic