Intro: Loco for Gocco
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Print Gocco, we'll start with a brief intro to what we refer to as The Little Machine That Could.
Print Gocco is a small, inexpensive, and easy to use screen printing tool that originated in Japan. Gocco uses flash bulbs similar to those found in old cameras to thermally imprint an original image onto a master screen. Prints are made by pressing the ink-applied master screen against a sheet of paper placed on a sponge pad. While Riso (the company to thank for Print Gocco) officially ceased production of the Gocco in 2005, you can still buy them online through a few different suppliers.
Before we begin, the first thing you need to do is to create your design. For simplicity's sake, we're going with a one color design for this tutorial. There are many ways to create your design -- rubber stamps, drawing by hand, designing on a computer, etc. One thing to keep in mind when designing: unless your design is printed using a laser printer, you MUST use a photocopy of your original design. The reason for this is in the thermal imaging process Gocco uses to create the screen from your design. The flash bulbs reflect heat from the black carbon-based image on the original to burn the image into the master screen. Carbon is not present in all kinds of ink, therefore you must use a photocopy (which is carbon-based).
Once you have the photocopied original, you're ready to Gocco! Let's get started!
If you haven't done so already, install your 2 AA batteries into the top handle of the Gocco.
Lay a blank piece of paper over the sticky sponge so that your original doesn't stick to it while burning your master screen. Then lay your design on top of the blank paper.
Slide the Blue Filter into place, making sure it is secured on all sides.
Slide master screen into place, making sure the arrowed tab goes into the slot on the lower left side. Gently bend the stop to lock the top tabs in place.
Screw two flash bulbs into the lamp housing unit.
It's a good idea to think about where you want your design to be printed on your project and arrange your original accordingly. Closing the lid and looking through the window is helpful. We've centered our image in the window and flipped it upside down. Since we'll be printing our design on cards, it will be easier to consistently print in the same spot if we align the bottom of the card with the edge of the sticky sponge.
Place the lamp housing unit in place, matching the arrow on the Gocco with the arrow on the unit, and gently push in into place until it locks in.
Push down firmly until the flash bulbs fire. It's not a bad idea to look the other way while doing this -- the flash is VERY bright.
Remove the lamp housing unit and set it aside to allow the bulbs to cool down. DO NOT TOUCH THE BULBS! They will be extremely hot. We recommend setting them aside until you're done printing, then you can unscrew them and throw them away (yes, they can only be used once).
When you open the lid, your original should be stuck to the master screen. Carefully peel your original off of the screen. Take the screen and Blue Filter out of the lid. You're done with the Blue Filter at this point, you can put it away.
Peel back the translucent film on the screen. Using the ink blocking foam, outline your design on the screen. If we were using more than one color, we would outline the different colored areas separately to prevent the ink from bleeding. This may seem unnecessary if you're only using one color, but it is very important. If you skip this step, your ink will just smear all over the screen and you'll have a huge mess and you'll have to constantly re-ink.
If you value your workspace surface, put a piece of scrap paper under your screen and apply your ink liberally. Re-cover the screen with the translucent film you peeled down in the previous step.
Place the screen back into place, again making sure the arrowed tab, sides, and top tabs are all secured into place. Remove the blank piece of paper from the sticky pad.
Place your card (or other item you're printing on) onto the sticky pad. Close the Gocco, pressing firmly, open it back up and -- VOILA!
Repeat Step 14 until you start to see areas of your design that are being printed unevenly, then remove the screen and re-ink. That's all there is to it!