I dreamt I was a hammer & everything was glass- printing marathon…

As you might know, if you’ve been following us for a while, we like our packaging. We can’t stand plastic jewel cases, and we try to make every release a very tactile, aesthetically pleasing object. We design, and make, all of the packaging for our releases ourselves- I dreamt I was a hammer… is housed in a recycled card sleeve that has been printed by the same hands that made the music. This is a pretty photo-heavy post, and if you click on any of the images, you’ll get a full-size version with more detail.

So, a while ago we decided that the song was worth releasing, and that we wanted to get it out on its own, as we didn’t think it would fit into the album we wanted to make sometime in the future; Gemma Burditt had already made an amazing animated film to accompany live performances, and we thought that releasing a CD and DVD would be a nice way to package everything up. With that in mind, we’ve opted for a 4-panel sleeve that folds down into two little pouches, much like a gatefold LP.

First step is to get it mastered, of course, which was undertaken by the excellent Guy Garvie at Electric Mastering

The sleeve’s artwork was, as ever, designed by Consumer Revolt (who, we should say, are available for similar projects, if you’re looking for designs for your own CD releases)- the splatter on the front is, in fact, from an exploding aerosol can that covered the entire of the artist’s room in thick, heavy paint. On the plus side, though, we got a nice image for our record. That image (and the one on the inside) was then transferred to a silk screen mesh, and used in the first stage of the printing…

So, once we’d screenprinted 500 sleeves, we had to print the credits on the inside of the sleeve, using an antique moveable-type letterpress…

Next stage is to put the title across the full width of the cover, for which purpose we’d purchased an antique hot-foil stamper…

It’s not exactly clear from the image, but essentially you have an array of lead type, held in place by a heavy brass bar, which is heated up by a cartridge heater (the sort of thing that warms a towel rail); when it’s good and hot, you place a piece of special foiling material (in our case, copper coloured) on top of our card sleeves. The foiling material is a sheet of metallic foil covered in a thin layer of plastic, and backed with a thin layer of glue. When you press the handle down onto the foiling material, the hot type melts the glue through the plastic and the foil, and sticks the foil to the card; when you peel the foiling material away, the foiled letters remain stuck to the card, looking a little like this…

Each pass with the foil stamp takes about 30 seconds to cure, and each sleeve takes 4 passes to print the entire title across the cover [it’s at this point that everyone curses Nick for writing something with such a long title]. Over 500 sleeves, that’s a total of 16 hours and 40 minutes of foiling, even if everything goes perfectly. Which, of course, it doesn’t. And that’s not even taking into account the time taken by the letterpress and screen printing.

See? The good things take time…

The discs themselves are stamped by hand, using specially made rubber stamps-

…which is here being undertaken by the lovely Lizzy Hancock [who’s been roped into this as the newest associate of Consumer Revolt ], and then we’re onto the stage of cutting out the card bands to hold the whole package together. Again, these are letterpressed with the name of the group, and stamped with the Organ Grinder Records logo on the back…

After that, there’s only the mammoth task of folding and using a hot glue gun on the sleeves, burning the discs and putting them into the sleeves, before gluing the card bands around the sleeve.

And the end result looks like this:

We’re very happy with the final result; we think you will be too. If you head over to our Discography page, you can find out more about the music itself, and hear a little sample of it. It’ll be available to buy at live shows, from the Organ Grinder website, and almost certainly from independent record stores. We’ll let you know all about that when we have all the details….

2 thoughts on “I dreamt I was a hammer & everything was glass- printing marathon…

  1. Pingback: nickfuckinggill · Printing sleeves for the new Monroe Transfer release

  2. Pingback: I dreamt I was a hammer & everything was glass - site now up! | nickfuckinggill

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