This is the story of how I’ve come to be selling paper penises on the internet.
In the spring of 2012 I had a bachelorette party to attend. As you may have figured out I try to find ways to incorporate a hand crafted touch when gift giving. I’d been interested in paper toys and had recently bought a book to look at construction to eventually make my own. I never expected the first toy I would make would be of the adult variety but it was an easy decision to make my friend a paper penis for her party.
Notice anything missing in my first prototype? Yeah, that’s right, balls. BALLS! is exactly what screamed in my head when I arrived to the party and was confronted with penis paraphernalia everywhere. The gals still thought it was hilarious though the guys on the town were a bit confused.
The summer brought another bachelorette party to attend. I’d had more time for prototyping and crafting so I gave my friend this lovely bouquet. She clutched it the whole night. The bride’s fiancee made a surprise appearance to serenade her with a karaoke song and her parting words to him were “Did you see my bouquet?!”
The thing about bachelorette parties is they can be a bit over the top with condom adorned veils and blow up penis dolls. That kind of party isn’t for every bride. Another friend of mine banned penises entirely from her party. How about something in the middle? On a more personal level I know someday for myself I’d want something more in the middle of the risque dial and you know I’ll definitely be a crafty bachelorette.
I had enough positive feedback from my prototypes that I knew I wanted to fully flush out the idea and create something that could be given to brides and used with any tolerance level of a penis party. I’ve played a lot of party games at bachelorette parties but it seems what is also missing is some party crafts.
Keeping those couple things in mind I focused on creating a template that could be used as a full on party craft or given on it’s own. Ready to be doodled on or bedazzled. I’ve paired the template with a greeting card for easy gift giving. Since it’s not always possible to attend the bachelorette party it can be mailed to far away crafty brides. It’s a fun way to contribute to the sentiments of a last hoorah.
I printed these at the end of April just in time to sell at my Arch pop-up shop and just over a year after my initial idea conception. My mom took the above printing pics. She assisted me in printing these cards which is never how I would have predicted this project would go. She and my dad also spent one evening folding penise to help me refine my template directions. Picture two almost sixty year olds and penis craft while drinking a glass of wine. It should be less painful for you to imagine since they’re not your parents.
There are a few product variations for this card. It can be purchased as a single card or as a party pack of 6 or 10. The party packs come with ideas for incorporating into the bachelorette festivities.
Card: French Paper Company; 100C Dur-o-Tone Steel Grey and 100C Pop-Tone Blu Raspberry.
Envelope: French Paper Company; Pop-Tone Blu Raspberry.
Template: Mohawk Paper; 65C Skytone Natural and Brown Vellum
Inks: Gold and Silver
This grumpy card is a sequel to my catnip holiday card. I’ve had some success selling the holiday card and wanted to create a card for all seasons.
Why is the cat grumpy? I’m guessing that my cat would be grumpy if he had to wear a clown nose. Your cat won’t be grumpy after you pull off the nose which is a catnip filled wool ball.
This was one of my smoothest printing projects. Usually when I print I’ve forgotten an important detail and need to jerry-rig something to accommodate my error. It made the process go quicker by choosing colors that didn’t need to be mixed. I used them straight from the ink tube. I printed slightly over 100 cards using 3 colors, 4 plates plus creasing for the fold. This added up to over 500 impressions. Something so simple can add up to a lot of work but I’m very pleased.
I’m selling this card on Etsy and will have it at an upcoming local pop-up.
When starting this project the one request I had from the groom was to incorporate the Chicago skyline. Florencia the bride and my former roommate had a few other comments; “I like polka-dots, I like birds, no matchy matchy”. The Polka-dots were no surprise to me since she even had them on her dress. I promise polka-dots on a wedding dress is just the right amount of sophistication and whimsy. That was my personal goal for the invite design.
For the other requests, rather than just putting a bird on it, I used one of her mothers bird sketches. Growing up Florencia always liked her bird drawings and I was happy to use something extra sentimental in the invitation. I suggested the orange envelopes to keep things from being to matchy matchy and because I couldn’t imagine orange not being part of Florencia’s wedding. Living together she brought the gift of orange into my life and I’ve embraced it as a color I like to have around.
As it should be, the final result was a reflection of both the bride and groom. I printed these invites with the assistance of Florencia in March and attended the wedding in early May.
Congratulations Andrew and Florencia!
I supplied files for Florencia to produce some extra items for the wedding.
Patricia Lebensohn’s bird drawings.
Paper: French Paper Company, Pop-Tone Whip Cream, 140lb Cover
Envelopes: French Paper Company, Butcher Orange
Inks: Pantone 7650 (aubergine), Pantone 383 (green), self mixed so not perfect
Metallic gold stripe tape.
Printing: Spent the afternoon after Thanksgiving showing my dad how the press works.
Paper: French Paper, Pop-Tone, Sweet Tooth, 140lb Cover
Ink: Tan Varnish (oil base)
I have a cat. I think I have a fairly healthy relationship with him and don’t see a future for myself as a crazy cat lady. I am inspired to find amusements for my feline friend. One of them turned into this card.
Under the nose.
Printing: About 4.5 hours on my letterpress
Paper: French Paper, Dur-O-Tone, Newsprint White, 80lb Cover
Ink: Black, Warm Red (oil base)
Noses: Made of wool and catnip and are meant to be pulled off to be chewed and mangled by the recipients cat.
The San Francisco Center for the Book Holiday Fair is coming up on December 10th. This will be my first time selling at a craft fair. I learned to print at SFCB so I’m happy to come full circle to sell there this year. Come check it out Noon - 5pm!
Some of the items I’ll have are my past holiday cards as well as some of the other masking tape cards I’ve been making this past year.
2009 Holiday Card, Print Gocco
2010 Holiday Card, Letterpress, First project printed on my press
Letterpress gift tags
Soon I’ll be posting images of the two cards I’m making this year. Because Christmas provides lots of reasons for present wrapping, tree trimming, and hall decking I’ll be posting here more often in December. Hope it keeps you inspired. Happy Holiday 2011!
This was a good excuse to use my letterpress and use up ink on the press from other projects.
Printed on Pearl White Letra
The month of May was filled with the letterpress printing of wedding invites I designed for a friend’s upcoming San Diego wedding. While it took a bit more time than I’d planned it was a pleasure to work on this project and provided many learning lessons for me on my press.
This was not my first printing project on my small press but it was my first complicated printing job. In all I printed 6 plates for a 4 piece invite which included a folding card (3 plates), bookmark (1 plate), rsvp (1 plate), and envelope (1 plate).
I was able to use a friend’s C&P treadle press for my first time using folding rule.
The diagonal quarter point lines above left were filling in to much so I had one plate remade during this project. I’m learning that there are some limitations to the deep relief box car plates that I use with my press. I will also not attempt quarter point dotted lines again either as they tend to break.
Paper: Pearl White; 110 lb Crane Lettra and A7 envelopes
Ink: PMS 072, PMS 158*
*I mixed the PMS 158 myself which provided one more lesson. The Lettra paper soaked up way more of the ink than I expected so I was inking the press every 10 prints and furiously mixing more ink as I went along. Luckily the orange is only seen once in each invitation because the color did shift from the first print to the last. The blue was used straight from the tube so no mixing needed.