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:


  • 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!



  • 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!)


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!



  • 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.)


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.


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?