Friday, August 13, 2010

So, what exactly is a Gocco?

A Gocco is a Japanese invention that allows you to screenprint on your desktop.  Similar to silkscreening, an image is burned onto a screen and ink is then pushed through the screen to print images on just about anything, though paper and cloth seem to be the most popular applications.  Although at one time it was very popular in Japan, as the prices of color printers came down, the popularity of the Gocco decreased and the Gocco device was discontinued back in 2008. 

I first read about the Gocco on wedding blogs such as when I was planning my wedding back in 2008.  I though tot myself that these brides are crazy!  There were some complaints expressing extreme frustration with the slightly unpredictable nature of the Gocco technology.  It seemed crazy to me that brides would want to add to the stress of wedding planning by buying one of these devices and printing all of their invitations themselves so I skipped that idea and the thought was cataloged way in the back of my brain.  About a year later, I stumbled upon Etsy and the many wonderful Gocco-printed designs sold on the site which renewed my curiosity and inspired me to do a little more research into the machine and the supplies.  Just as I had given up, discouraged by the common complaints that supplies were becoming difficult to find and that prices for the supplies, if you could find them, had increased 30% in one year, Mr. ChunkyPineapple surprised me with my very own Gocco PG-10 Super for Christmas!  Sure, the Gocco involves a learning curve and requires your patience.  There will probably be some mishaps along the way too, but I LOVE it.  =)

So how does it work?  The screens are coated in an emulsion like substance so they're ready to go right out of the package.  Images are burned onto a screen with 2 flashbulbs which produce a lot of heat.  In fact, the bulbs melt in the process and can only be used once.

Once an image is burned onto a screen, the screen cannot be re-coated and burned again.

After the image is burned onto the screen you apply the ink of your choice into the screen and place it back into the device.

Unlike silkscreening, there is no squeegee involved.  You simply press down on the device which squeezes the ink onto your printing surface.  So, the process is actually sort of a hybrid between silkscreening and stamping. .

I've read that some people can print over 50 prints with one inking.  I've only been printing in small batches, so I haven't tried to print quite so many at one time.  Depending on how large the image is and how thick your ink is (theoretically they should be uniform, but I have found that isn't really the case), you may need to re-ink more often.

So where can you get supplies?
Many brick and mortar stores sold out of machines and supplies a long time ago.  Paper Source only has a few colors of ink left.  I get all my supplies online.  Ebay and Etsy seem to have a decent number of listings but be aware of the shipping costs and where the seller is located.  Sellers that are located in Japan have to add a hefty shipping cost to send things to the U.S.  Other than Ebay, the stores that I have purchased from in the U.S. are and Welsh Products.  I also sell screens, bulbs, ink and a few used machines that I have collected at GoccoShop.

Printed here are the beginnings of my new Welcome Little One cards, which I hope to finish tonight. I can't wait to show them to you!


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Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear from you!