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  • Suggestions for Economical DIY Spot Gloss

    I'd like to have an isolated rectangle of gloss on a business card (to simulate the plastic bubble of an action figure card). I called some online printing services and, as expected, a spot gloss would elevate the cost dramatically. I haven't bothered calling any local shops. So I'm brainstorming economical DIY ways to achieve this effect, and the best method I've come up with is to create a small stencil and individually spray each card with Krylon clear acrylic gloss spray. Hopefully on a 14-16 pt stock, this would work. Does anyone have experience with such a task, or could you offer an alternative suggestion to simulate spot gloss?

  • #2
    So, have you figured out how much billable time you will be spending on spraying Krylon onto each individual business card, laying them out to dry, then picking them all up?
    How does that compare to the ''dramatic'' cost of having the online company do it?

    Krylon isn't so much about the card stock. It's about the ink used on the card. Will the Krylon eat it? Smear it? Change the color? Stink up your card holder?

    Because of where I work, if someone asked me to do this, I'd set up a hinged jig and expose a silk screen and do maybe 20 with one pull. If I had to do it by hand. But even that would cost more than paying the minimal spot gloss fee. Takes time to line up the cards in the jig, not to mention the minimum cost on a screen exposure.

    An alternative would be to cut tiny shapes out of gloss vinyl and put them on with tweezers. Still have to set up the file, cut and weed the vinyl, then go blind trying to apply the vinyl accurately.
    I could be spending my time on projects that bring in money from clients.
    Choose your battles wisely.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 08-23-2017, 06:09 AM.

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    • #3
      Considering you don't appear to be in the action figure business, I'll assume this is client work. (If it's for your own business cards, go ahead and attempt anything you can think of.) In that case, the smart thing to do would be to get an actual quote for the job with and without the spot varnish (done correctly by the printer), and let the client decide whether the effect and its impact are worth the extra cost.

      It's a simple fact in this business that sometimes a great idea that adds prohibitive cost ain't really such a great idea. As the designer, it's easy to become emotionally connected to your great idea to the extent that you'd put in countless extra hours for which you couldn't ever bill, pursuing a method that isn't production worthy, and won't produce a sufficiently marketable result, exactly as you're suggesting here. (As a scale model builder with decades of experience attempting to simulate things with paint from glass to metal, to...uhh...paint...I can tell you pretty confidently you won't pull this off convincingly on 100's of business cards. And, you'll have to eat the cost of the ones you ruin trying it.) You're allowing your attachment to the idea to trap you, and that's always a mistake. Stop that. You're in business to make money; (almost) any activity that doesn't directly add to your bottom line is a wrong turn.
      I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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      • #4
        I could imagine what my boss would say if he saw me doing either of my alternative suggestions...
        Sorta something along the lines of ''WTF are you DOING???''

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        • #5
          Originally posted by HotButton View Post
          You're allowing your attachment to the idea to trap you, and that's always a mistake. Stop that.
          Er, allow me to clarify, as I never provided my intentions in terms of quantity; I never had hopes of doing this to an entire card run. My main reason is to take photography of it for my portfolio. I see also kinds of great packaging and other designs in online portfolios, but for the average person, it would be excessively pricey to accomplish a lot of that. This is my own design idea that I can at least apply to a few cards and demonstrate in a portfolio without anyone having to pay an arm or a leg. That's basically it.

          On a secondary note, if it's successful, it might not be a bad idea for a dozen of so of these to be made for the business owner to hand out when he encounters a potentially big connection that he wants to impress (his "platinum" business card, as it were). Thank you all for the suggestions so far.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Caleson View Post
            My main reason is to take photography of it for my portfolio.
            Ah, then for sure there's no need for physical painting. Simulating the spot varnish in Photoshop should be rather simple (and a proud feather in your image manipulation hat).
            I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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            • #7
              For someone whose job it is to communicate, you aren't very good at it on here.

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              • #8
                I appreciate the feedback, but let's maintain some perspective; I simply asked for suggestions for a production method, yet everyone presumed I was planning on applying it to 500 cards and replied almost entirely based on that. When it comes to forum inquiries...

                Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                Your job is to listen, not presume.

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                • HotButton
                  HotButton commented
                  Editing a comment
                  While there may have been some presumptions made, the cost-analysis context in your original post didn't do anything to discourage them.

                  In fact, here in your latest post you still deem it a ''production method'' (hell, PrintDriver works in Production, so that's his default mindset), when what you really wanted—we now know—was more of a prototyping method.

              • #9
                Originally posted by HotButton
                While there may have been some presumptions made, the cost-analysis context in your original post didn't do anything to discourage them.

                In fact, here in your latest post you still deem it a ''production method'' (hell, PrintDriver works in Production, so that's his default mindset), when what you really wantedówe now knowówas more of a prototyping method.
                Fair enough. I wrote it very late at night, so perhaps I could have read it through a little better. I'll keep the production vs. prototype terminology in mind for future reference. Thanks again for the thorough responses.

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                • #10
                  I remember a school project long ago where I used Krylon's Crystal Clear for a similar effect. If I remember right, leakage under the stencil was the biggest problem I had to resolve. Seems I ended up finding some sort of low-tack spray adhesive that didn't leave residue when I pulled up the stencil.

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by B View Post
                    I remember a school project long ago where I used Krylon's Crystal Clear for a similar effect. If I remember right, leakage under the stencil was the biggest problem I had to resolve. Seems I ended up finding some sort of low-tack spray adhesive that didn't leave residue when I pulled up the stencil.
                    Thanks. On another forum, someone suggested Rubylith masking film. I don't think I've ever used it before, but it is an old-school graphic design tool.

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                    • #12
                      Neither rubylith nor amberlith will work very well for what you need. These stencil films were (and sometimes still are) used for camera work in lithography. The stencil masks adhere only to their polyester backings to block light in a process camera when exposing ortho film. Once the thin layer of Rubylith is pulled off that backing, it doesn't really stick to much of anything. (Yeah, I'm old enough to have regularly used this stuff.)

                      Visiting a craft store would be a better bet. I haven't used it myself, but I know they sell various kinds of low-tack stencil films for various craft projects. An even better item would be Frisket Film, which is a thin, low-tack translucent film that's applied to a surface, then cut with an X-Acto knife. It's used to create stencils for airbrushing. Air brushes aren't nearly as common as they once were, but I suspect it's available online and, maybe, at craft stores.

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