Archive for the ‘Behind the Scenes’ Category

Letterpress Demos at Steel Petal Press

Steel Petal Press Letterpress Studio and Shop Chicago

Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo

The second saturday of every month Steel Petal Press will be hostly a Letterpress Demonstration and Q&A as a part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Public Art. You can find more information on the multi-location, year long event HERE.

The event will be Free and Open to the public 2-3pm on the following dates:

Chicago has a long and rich printing history; from printers row on the nations register of historic landmarks, to Vandercook inventing the flatbed press in Chicago over 100 years ago. But how often the public get to see these historic machines in person and watch them in action? Steel Petal Press will host monthly 1 hour long letterpress printing demos on the Second Saturday of every month. At the demos we will go through the printing process from start to finish and be available to answer questions regarding the printing process and the history of printing.

Shop Windows at Steel Petal Press

We’ve been having a lot of fun coming up with creative seasonal shop windows at Steel Petal Press. ¬†Here’s an image of our spring and fall windows for our first few months open ūüôā

Fall Window Steel Petal Press

Stationery and Gift Shop Logan Square Chicago

At the end of¬†November we’ll be switching it up for a more winter holiday feel. ¬†Below is a little inspiration I’ve been drawing from. ¬†Or you can also check out my Shop Window Inspiration Pinterest Board. ¬†(What did we do before pinterest?) ūüôā

holiday window holiday window holiday window

NOW OPEN: Letterpress Stationery and Gift Shop Chicago

Steel Petal Press: A Letterpress Stationery and Gift Shop is now open in Chicago

Stationery and Gift Shop Logan Square Chicago

We are super excited to announce that as of June 1st, 2016 the Steel Petal Press Letterpress Stationery and Gift Shop is NOW OPEN in Logan Square, Chicago!!!

Here you can shop the full collection of Steel Petal Press cards along side other stationery and gift items that we love. ¬†Below are a few photos from around the space, or if you’re in Chicago please come visit us in person!!

LOCATION: 2321 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago 60647
Summer HOURS: Mon-Fri 11-7 | Sat 10-7 | Sun 11-5

Stationery and Gift Shop Logan Square Chicago Gift Shop Chicago Gift Shop Chicago

The space is open and you will be able to view the vintage presses and the production area from the Gift Shop area. Below is a photo of me in front of the press area a few weeks after we moved in.

Stationery and Gift Shop Logan Square Chicago

We can’t wait to see you!

Please don’t forget to follow us on social media for all the latest updates too:
instagram | facebook | twitter | snapchat

I’ve also been meaning to share a blog post about the move. So please stay tuned for¬†more on that….

Steel Petal Press is coming to Logan Square

Our move-in dates are finally set for our big move into our new location!! I can’t believe it’s ACTUALLY HAPPENING.¬†After 3+ years in my Lacuna Studio, I’m so so SO ready to be in a larger space. We are literally busting out at the seems. ¬†I can’t even make new product because I don’t have anywhere to put¬†it in my current space.

Below¬†is a photo of my space about 1 month ago. ¬†All the electrical, HVac and plumbing was completed, and you can see the structure of my office and the bathroom in the back left corner of the room. ¬†But obviously it was¬†still in really raw condition. The lights aren’t in, the floors are unfinished and there’s still lots of work that needed to be completed.

Steel Petal Press Logan Square Buildout

And below is a photo of it closer to being done. ¬†The hardwood floors are in, the shop lights are in, the office and bathroom are completed. You can also see our little “kitchen” area in the back right¬†corner.

Steel Petal Press Logan Square

Most of the space will be for our studio expansion: production and fulfillment.  The front 1/4 of the space will be a dedicated retail area open to the public.

Our move is scheduled for the last week of April. ¬†We plan on taking a month to set up shop, and then opening to the public in May. ¬†Before we move¬†we’ll be hosting a huge moving sale to help clear out some inventory before we move. ¬†Here’s a little teaser for details on the sale

Moving Sale Steel Petal Press .

So mark your calendars for the last week of March you’ll save big on lots of letterpress goodies from Steel Petal Press!!

Also follow us on social media for more behind the scenes updates:
Instagram  ////  SnapChat //// Facebook



Meet Jane our Spring Intern!


Jane Katte is the newest intern at Steel Petal Press. ¬†She’s been learning how to process orders, helping with huge paper source orders that go out, had a stab at envelope liners and has already spent some time on the press.

Here’s a short bio from the “about” page.

A lover of all things handmade and old fashioned, Jane has always been drawn to the distinct visual aesthetic of letterpress. She’s thrilled to have found an outlet to explore the printing process in depth! ¬†¬†Her educational experience is varied–after earning a BA in English from Florida State University, she switched tracks and moved to Chicago to complete a certificate in Baking and Pastry from the French Pastry School. Nowadays, when she’s not learning the presses here at Steel Petal Press, she’s a pastry cook in a Michelin-starred restaurant.


Shop Steel Petal Press is Coming Soon to Logan Square

Steel Petal Press Logan Square

2321 N Milwaukee Avenue Chicago

If you follow me on social media (FB, Insta, Twitter) or receive my newsletter then you probably already know that I’ve been planning a move into a new retail location in my neighborhood for quite some time now.
(you sign up for the NewsLetter here –>>¬†

It’s been almost a year coming from inception to reality. ¬†I first started thinking about moving sometime last winter. At the time, my¬†building¬†was going through changes I wasn’t happy about¬†and I¬†started thinking it would be a good time to get out. ¬†It’s a good thing I started looking when I did (last March) because it’s taken almost a full year to find the new space and execute the relocation¬†(and I’m not even moved yet!)

I knew I would eventually need more space, so I was looking for something much larger (a space I could grow into without having to move again), closer to home (goodbye 30 min commute) and I wanted a storefront so I could be more connected with Chicago and the community. ¬†After a month of searching I finally found the¬†location pictured above (2321 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago)¬†and decided to move forward with the lease: it’s a half mile walk from my house, 3x the space, lots of foot traffic and room to grow.

In April 2015, I¬†started the process of signing the lease.¬† It took a month for the lease to be finalized (going back and forth with lawyers and revisions). Once I signed the lease, I met with an architect to work on the buildout and design of the interior. Then¬†drawings were submitted to the city for building permits. City permits took 2 months longer than expected and building (which was supposed to start in September) didn’t start until mid December of 2015.

I was originally quoted 6 months for¬†the whole process from start to finish, but once the dust has settled,¬†it’s looking like it will be closer to a year.

It’s quite a bit more expensive than my current space, so I decided to add a retail shop in front, while keeping production and fulfillment in back. I’ll be moving my entire business to Logan Square (my Chicago neighborhood). ¬†I plan on selling my own letterpress¬†cards and gift items, along side¬†the work of other independent (and/or) local designers.

At this point (a year later) ¬†I am completely out of room in my current space and can’t wait to move into a larger studio. We will have more room for storage, more room for inventory, more table space for my team to work on post production and outgoing orders, I will have an office where I can close the doors and concentrate on other aspects of creating new product and running a business.

I’m so excited for this new adventure; What the new space will mean for my growing business AND what the new retail portion will bring to the table. It’s uncharted territory, which makes me nervous and excited all at the same time.

Be sure to follow me on social media for all the updates! (FB, Insta, Twitter)
And be sure to sign up for my mailing list here¬†–>>

I’ll be posting more details as they come up – and look out for a MASSIVE¬†MOVING SALE — coming very SOON!

One of A Kind Show Chicago – 2015 Recap

It was another great year for Steel Petal Press at One of A Kind Show Chicago!  This was my second year at the show and I had a better idea of what I was getting into and went into the show much more prepared than last year.

We set up on Tuesday and Wednesday and the show went Thursday-Sunday.

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

Here’s what the booth set up looked like:

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

Everyone loved the Whiskey Print and Whiskey Coasters.

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

Traffic came in waves, but it seemed like there was almost always someone in the booth laughing out loud as they picked out cards. ¬†It¬†always makes me happy knowing I’ve made someone smile.

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

The shot glasses were a new addition to my inventory this year.  And the Lips Shot glass did well.  The letterpress coasters and the Merry Christmas Gift Tags are also always a favorite.

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

Shayna Norwood

Another new release and new addition to the “best seller list” was my I F*ING LOVE YOU / I LOVE F*ING YOU card. ¬†Which way do you read it?

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

All in all it was another great year at the show! I’ve already signed up again for next year.

Chicago Renegade Craft Fair Recap – 2015

Chicago Renegade Craft Fair is always the biggest and best of them all!

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2015

It was another super awesome year at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago last weekend.  I was worried with all the storms the night before, but the rain cleared up by Saturday morning and the weather all weekend was gorgeous.

Steel Petal Press at Renegade Craft Fair

This was my first time exhibiting in a booth on my own and my first time at a Renegade since 2013. ¬†I was BUSY all weekend and had my best year of sales yet. ¬†I know I say that every year, but really it just keeps getting better! ¬†I attribute it to the good weather and the full booth all to myself. ¬†More room to display = more items to sell. ūüôā

The booth was filled pretty much the whole time and it felt like there was a constant stream of customers lined up to make a purchase.

Renegade Craft Fair

All the best sellers were in full affect.
The Holy Shit cards always sell well.

Funny Birthday Card

This year there was a new star of the show. Apparently there’s a lot of AWESOME¬†BABIES being born these days.

congratulations baby card

Aside from that, it was really nice to meet some instagram followers in person (don’t be shy!) and to have visits from some of my favorite Chicago retailers: Sadie at Paper Source, Julie at¬†Virtu, Ann from The Fig Tree and Todd from Foursided. ¬†We love our retailers! ¬†Please be sure to check our growing list of stockists¬†for a local retailer near you.

Thank you again Chicago AND Renegade Craft Fair for the super awesome weekend!!  My next show will be the One of A Kind Show in December at the Merchandise Mart.

Behind the Scenes: Meet Our Newest Studio Member!

We were so delighted to recently bring Kat on board to help with all things Steel Petal Press, and invite you to get to know her a bit, too!
Name: Kat Wisniewski
Job title: Studio Manager/ Administrative Assistant
Describe your area of study and previous work, and how you think each relate to or lead your position at Steel Petal Press? 
I’ve worked in retail and management since 1994, both in big box stores and boutique environments. Through my work experience, I’ve learned to possess a keen eye for detail and also how to efficiently multi-task. In many previous positions, I’ve done various tedious, repetitive and simple tasks, where efficiency and speed are highly valued. I also own a¬†home-based jewelry business, where I work online a lot and ship out orders regularly. These assets aid in my position at Steel Petal Press because I am responsible for quality controlling the product, shipping the product and general office duties.
What inspires you artistically?
Everything inspires me artistically. If I had to pick out a few things that I seek out for inspiration I’d say that I’m inspired by glass sculpture, fashion, colors, surrealism and minimalistic style.
What kinds of things do you do at the studio? What do you enjoy most?
I’m the only official in-studio employee, besides¬†Shayna, which is a welcome change. I order the supplies, quality control everything, and ship out¬†orders. I enjoy the boutique environment and working with minimal supervision. I also enjoy coming in early, so I can get the bulk of my work done with my music helping to push me through the morning.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the studio?
I keep extremely busy outside of the studio because I enjoy having multiple sources of income. What keeps me the busiest is the product photography work I do (out of my kitchen) for other jewelry artists. I also manage three online stores where I sell my jewelry and jewelry making supplies. Additionally, I have my pieces in a few retail locations, so I have to keep up with providing stock as things sell. Lastly, I write jewelry making projects for magazines and also teach jewelry making at various Chicagoland locations. Oh yeah, and I tend to my husband and pets everyday. They are what truly makes me happy, and they provide soothing comfort from my stressful multi-tasking.
What is your favorite Steel Petal Press card/product and why?
That’s easy! It’s the Holy Shit cards of course! What a simple design that many people respond to with laughter. These are great and this line of cards can be used for so many different occasions. By the way, I have an idea for a new Holy Shit card… TBDiscussed later.¬†
What would your perfect day in Chicago look like? 
My perfect day in my city (where I’ve lived my whole life), would include waking up to my kitty cats kissing my face, going out to a fun new place to eat with my husband, taking my doggie daughter out to a big park (like Horner Park), then going to a movie, museum or thrifting!


On Deck in the Studio

Not only is summer an agreed-upon great season to get hitched, it’s also the perfect time to break out the stationery and keep in touch with scattered friends and family. Others must agree, because production at Steel Petal Press sure hasn’t slowed, and we’ve been busily printing, packing, and shipping our paper goods to retailers and customers nationwide.

Below is Maranda on her last day at Steel Petal Press and on the right is our newest team member Kat! I will officially introduce her in an upcoming post.

Photo Jul 02

Wholesale orders march on. Here, we’re boxing up and shipping out to some of our sellers like Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, Magnificent Milestones in Chicago, The Gypsy Wagon in Dallas, and Paper Goat Post in Florida.

During a recent job were glad to reacquaint with a past wedding client, Hylah Hedgepeth to print some stationery and business cards for her new photography venture. Yeah for small business!

Photo Jun 12

Pictured below is another run of elegant business cards for a bridal boutique called Le Salon.

Photo Jun 12

And here is yet another custom stationery job, set by hand in lead type. We mostly use digital design and polymer plates to print, as there is more flexibility with layout and fonts on the computer. But, every now and then, it’s nice to slow down and hand set some metal type.

Photo Jun 12-2

In other news: We’re excited to announce that things are steadily progressing with our new studio and retail space. Lease is signed, a deposit has been made, and we’re on our way. We’re currently working with an architect to build out the space and lay it out just right. Next up, construction permits. This is a slow process, but we’re thrilled to be making headway.