The Making of the 2023 Metal Holiday Card

Each year, we make a metal holiday card to send out to our clients. This year's card was especially unique - it was the first time, here at McLoone, that we used our digital press to print on metal and then layered that process with screen printing! So, we wanted to showcase exactly how we made the card, from flat sheets of aluminum to the finished product!

You can also read about what inspired this year's card here. 

First, we started off with aluminum sheets placed carefully onto our digital press for the first layer of inks. The digital press has pins along the side and suction from the bottom to ensure consistent printing for each batch.

The digital press handled the printing of the gray half tones, pattern and gradient. Quickly summed up, the digital press prints in a dot-method which creates a smooth image perfect for things like gradients and highly detailed prints. In contrast, screen printing, which we'll touch on next, creates a coarser final product.

From here, the sheets are carted over to our screen printing area. 

Screen printing is a technique where ink is 'squeegeed' through a mesh screen onto the surface of, in this case, aluminum sheets. Essentially, a stencil is made that allows for ink to either be transferred onto the surface or blocked off. The holiday card had five layers of screen printed inks:

The first layer was one pass of a gray tint, applied over the entire card. Layer two was something we call a "frost". In a nutshell, a frost just takes away some of the shine - this card has a 6% frost. 

Between each layer of ink, the sheets are sent through a curing oven, which spans the length of the screen printing area and can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes to get through depending on the substrate thickness. Screen Printing, McLoone Metal Graphics


Layer three is a dark blue ink to add the words 'Share Joy'.

The fourth layer of ink incorporates the tiny, silver flecks (seen above) into the pattern. And lastly, a solid silver layer is added to cover the entire back of each card. 

The next stop for our cards is our embossing area. The words 'Share Joy' are embossed in a clam shell press! IMG_0171


The last stop for the 2023 Holiday card is cutting. Each card was cut to shape using a die cut, a simple rectangle with rounded edges resulting in a final dimension of 6.25" x 4.25".


Here is a look at some of the previous Holiday cards made by McLoone!




Tags: Embossing, Nameplates, Screen Print, Patterns and Finishes