Wednesday, 23 June 2010

gocco massacre

So last night, I went to see the lovely Anna for a spot of dinner and a play on her gocco machine.

This was predicated on three things:

1. I hadn't got a clue what a gocco was (I thought it plugged into a computer. Yes, I'm stupid.) Once I found out, it seemed like fun.
2. It seemed like a cheap way to make invitations
3. Anna assured me it was a piece of cake.

Let me tell you this right now:

There was no cake. Not even a whiff.

This may be down to a couple of things: me making a bad call on the design (which to be fair, took two and a half minutes in my office before rushing out the door) and me being a person that attracts mess like a small child attracts mud to their shoes and and food splatters to their face.

But a lot is spoken about gocco in this section of wedding blog land. So I thought you might appreciate seeing what the cute Etsy cards and whimsical blogs by non-messy craftmasters don't show you.

Here's what happened:

1. I made a design. It was for a little engagement party/picnic we're going to have. I found a cute little picture of a picnic table and downloaded a free font. I wouldn't normally use images found online (I KNOW it's bad) but this was just a trial and like I say, I had approximately three minutes to do it. If the IP owner of the clip art ever reads this, I apologise and will buy you beer/gin.

2. I printed it out, and then ran to get it photocopied before the print shop shut. Just in case this didn't work, I had also spent my entire lunch break looking for pens that would work with a gocco. (Sharpies and Staedlater drawing pens, if you're interested) and buying card.

3. Then I went to Anna's. Post food, and armed with ginger beer, we set to.

Here's what 'setting to' looks like (note the newspaper-covered table. This would later prove to be the wisest decision we made all night):

This, my friends, is a gocoo machine. Anna's gocco machine, on which she made her save the dates, which look bloody lovely. It is much cleaner now than it was at the end of the evening.

4. We started trying to print things. The first thing we did was make the screen. Here's what that looks like:

So this was my 'design'. I know it's rubbish, but like I say, this was a little test.

5. We tried to block out the screen so that we could make the table brown, the things on the table red, and the writing black. The little foamy bits you use for this are quite thick. This I hadn't realised and was the crux of the problem. We couldn't separate out the red and the brown bits.

6. Et voila, here's the first attempt

Please note, the massive gap between the table and its load. Bean suggested that rustic crapness (ie looking homemade) was supposed to be part of the gocco charm. I'm not sure I agree - or possibly feel that this is beyond rustic crapness.

7. At this point, we tried to remove the inky bits of foam, and this is where the hell started. However hard we tried, we couldn't seem to get it all off. So it would be:

press a card
realise foam still present
use cotton bud stick to try and remove foam
repeat; repeat; repeat, scream, repeat

Eventually, all we had was a mucky table covered in inky sticks, a mucky Claire and some gocco-ed cards that looked like they'd been made by someone who was bleeding profusely from the hand

Here you go:

To quote Anna: "There's bad, and then there's looking like it was made by a three year old." Never a truer word was spoken.

However, this was an important learning process. Here's what I learnt:

1. If you're going to gocco something, make sure your design has got gaps between things that are supposed to be different colours. CRUCIAL.

2. If you're going to gocco; make sure that it is something that would benefit from being gocco-ed.

This might sounds stupid: I shall explain. This 'design' I made would have looked as good printed on a decent normal printer. The point of gocco is to make something with zingy colours or some other element that would not look as good produced this way. Anna's save the date did this brilliantly, using a zingy purple that would never have looked as good done on a printer.Does that make sense? I'm not sure, but I don't know how else to put it.

3. Make sure you have newspaper down and wear old clothes.

Anna may write a corresponding post talking about how easy it was for her. And I don't doubt it. Look at the lovely cards she made. It can be done if you leave gaps and don't try to be overadventurous with colours.

Herewith endeth the lesson. I suffered so you don't have to.

** With muchos thanks to Anna for her patience, wisdom and quantities of ink.


  1. BEEN THERE and i'm probably never going back. gocco can be fun but it caused way too many arguments.

  2. Even after reading your post, I am still not sure what gocco is. And after hearing about how much trouble it is, I think I'm going to stick with a printer!

  3. I'm with Miss C on this. Still no idea still what a gocco is! All I know is that the name makes me giggle a little.
    Thanks for posting a DIY mishap. I always see lovely DIY projects on blogs and then feel terrible when mine don't work out. I feel a little better now knowing that I'm not the only one!

  4. Ah yes, I missed out a crucial detail! Gocco is a little screen printing device that you use at home. You make the screen up by flashing two very bright bulbs (all part of the kit) through a carbon copy (photocopy) of a design. Then you ink up the screen and use it like a printing press - ie put in card and then pull the inky screen down onto the card. Does that help?

  5. Sounds complicated!

    Glad I stuck to my printer and stamping!

    Jealous you got to meet another blogger though!

  6. How did I never comment on this. I do feel rather bad about that quote!

  7. Anna, it was true. You were merely stating fact. Or understating it, rather. A baboon with one arm tied behind its back could have made a better job of it!