“The Shining” Downloadable Halloween Movie Night Invitation!

Halloween Invite!

Are you thinking about having a halloween party this year? I have always LOVED the idea of having a halloween film night, although I don’t like scary movies, I find the fear diminishes almost entirely when you are surrounded by your friends and plenty of moonshine! If you did want to get into the halloween spirit but can’t really be bothered to make any invitations, here’s a free download of an invitation flier I made for the movie night.. based on The Shining, and features one of my latest typewriters – a 1930s brushed steel Oliver. it’s A5 pdf and you can add your own details. Download the pdf here halloween_invite


If you do have a party, let me know how it goes!

Dear Etsy Customer…

I’ve been sending out hand typed stories with my etsy orders, this one features the fabulous “a beautiful mess” blog, they’ve really made the big time now! And this latest cobbling together of my imagination is more nonsense than ever. I wouldn’t waste your time reading it actually.
If u do read it, I mean St Kilda off the coast of Scotland not the one in Melbourne. It is important you know that.
Poor Etsy customer.
A x
PS, in case you’re wondering, this wasn’t written on one of my reconditioned typewriters, it was on my boyfriend’s 80 year old Corona 4, just so many typewriters lying around you know…

E-Book Launch “Typewriter SOS: The DIY Guide to Fixing Common Problems with Manual Typewriters”

This essential 45 Page E-book has been made to help the sea of people who bought a typewriter from a charity shop and for some reason it has stopped working and the only people who know how to fix it are either retired, dead, or live really far away.If this is you, don’t worry help is here.
Written and illustrated by Claire La Secrétaire Typewriter Studio, we have been reconditioning typewriters for 5 years and have had hundreds of typewriters through our doors all with varying problems. We have put this concise guide book together from our experience in diagnosing and fixing most of the problems we come across, most are easy, all of them are fixable.
The first reason that this is better than scouring the internet for hours in the hope of finding an answer to your particular typewriter issue is:
Because how are you supposed to fix it if you don’t know what’s wrong with it?! I know, you may not know what all the parts are called and you don’t want to sift through every section trying to see if it matches your problem, so that’s why we’ve written a troubleshooting section so you can diagnose what the problem is, without the technical terms.

Some of the 15 problems we talk about in this book:

If your typewriter works fine, but it only types in one line like this:



If your carriage is loose and there is a piece of string flapping about underneath it.

If the upper and lowercase letters aren’t aligned

Turning the letters inside glass keys the right way round

If the ribbon is faint even though it is not old

And much more.
45 pages with photos and illustrations of step by step instructions on how to fix 15 different typewriter problems, and to have you up and running in no time.

Extras include information on specific models that have specific problems (such as Olivettis, Byron, Oliver, Swissa Piccola and Remington), what some of the buttons and levers are for, and where to get replacement ribbons, as well as links to our youtube videos to help with specific problems.

There are a few common problems people come across that can be easily fixed, because mostly a lot of these things aren’t problems at all, it’s just about knowing which lever is causing it and then sorting it out. No two models of typewriter have their levers in exactly the same place, but in this zine we point out the broad area and show a few different examples for you to see. Typewriters are machines that have been made using precision instruments, they rely on every angle and length and spring and cog working together to get the letters to hit the page, just one small adjustment of one part may result in the complete mis-alignment of the letters on the page, so taking it apart could completely ruin it.

This zine is designed to show you what you need to unscrew, what to leave alone, and what bits you can fix without having to take your typewriter apart and completely ruining it.   

This is a 45 page downloadable E-book, which you will be able to download as a pdf file as soon as you make the purchase from the Etsy shop for a bargain £5!!!


So if you have a problem with your typewriter do not delay! Get the e-Book today! Click Here for the Etsy Shop!

Typewriter Repair and Restoration – a Simple Guide

Hello typewriter users, over the last few weeks I’ve had lot of people getting in touch about various problems with their typewriters, so I thought I’d post this helpful little Readers Digest guide to some fixing some common problems. If you do have any more complex issues don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’d be happy to help.

Visit my website at www.clairelasecretaire.com to get in touch, also for typewriter manuals, more info, or to buy a lovely machine.

This was written for portable typewriters, the one in the pictures looks like a 1960s model so if you are working with an older one, ie one with glass keys then do not take the body off unless you can see that it is not attached to any of the actual mechanics inside and it is just a shell (ie Corona 4, do not take the body off!).

Typewriter dismantling how to

How to take apart your typewriter

Typewriter Cleaning and oiling

Cleaning and Oiling your Typewriter


I’ve also got some typewriter manuals of various models that are available for download, available on my website here.

Thanks for looking!

How to Make Your Own Typewriter Ribbon: Rainbow Effect

If you have been following me for a while you’ll know that I make coloured typewriter ribbons as a little add-on to my customised typewriters so that you can type in not just the standard black but purple, pink etc and most excitingly a rainbow effect, and as a few of you have been asking about them I thought I would show you how to do it at home.

So first here’s a little info. For a typewriter ribbon to work it needs to be thin enough for the letters to leave a sharp imprint on the paper when they touch. Actual un-inked typewriter ribbon is very hard to find, it is lighter and more tightly woven than any ribbon you can buy in a shop, you can only really get it direct from the factory BUT the good news is you can still get a good effect with a standard ribbon that you can buy in a shop! The only difference is that the imprints on the letters will take on that slight texture of the fabric. But it’s minimal, and does the job.

Now for the inks the biggest problem in inking a ribbon is finding inks that don’t dry out, therefore water based inks alone won’t work. However you can use a coloured ink pad to get the effect as the ink is mixed with glycerine keeping it from drying out! Thanks to the scrap-booking trend, there are now a great selection of these coloured ink pads available. For this demo I will be using “docrafts Artiste” and “Dovecraft” ink pads. You can choose from so many different colours, but bear in mind darker colours are more vivid and you’ll be able to read the words more clearly. That said I do like using lighter colours, in fact in this demo I am actually using yellow and peach!

It’s good to get about 5/6 different colours for the rainbow effect, I will be fading yellow into peach, red, purple, blue, green then repeating.


So you will need to get:

1. 5-7 metres of white satin ribbon from a craft store. You will ideally want it to be 12-13mm wide, but it’s ok if it’s a bit wider.

2.  1 ink pad for each of your chosen colours.

3.  A can of silicon spray

4. A pack of disposable latex gloves (6 pairs)

5. Coat hooks or somewhere to hang the ribbon to dry

6. Old ribbon spools to wind your new ribbon onto

7. Bottle of White Spirit

8. Cotton buds

9. Newspaper or kitchen towel

Step 1. First of all lay out some newspaper or kitchen roll on the floor. You will need a big space to do this so I suggest clearing a space and you happen to have a 7 meter long corridor available then that’s perfect, lay the newspaper along that.

Step 2. Put on your first pair of gloves (you will be using one pair for each colour) then work out which order you want your colours to go in. Take the ink stamp for your first colour and place on the newspaper. Spray a squirt of silicon spray onto the ink-pad, this is so that it will run smoothly and evenly.

Step 3. Take the ribbon, and with your left hand (if left handed) hold the end of the ribbon onto the inkpad with your thumb and press it firmly. With your right hand grab the end and draw it through so that about 1ft of the ribbon is covered in your ink, and lay the inked ribbon out on the kitchen roll/newspaper. Now you will need to put new put new gloves on so that the colour doesn’t go over your next colour, (it will probably happen a bit but we’re all friends here). Carefully get the next colour and run it through your thumb and the ink pad for another foot, taking care to lay it down away from the first colour.

Do this for the rest of your colours, laying the ribbon out as you go, and repeating in a pattern until the ribbon runs out or if you’re just doing one colour, just pass the whole length of the ribbon between your thumb and the ink-pad. You can do this 2 or 3 more times until you feel the ribbon is suitably covered.




Step4. Next leave it to dry for a while. I imagine that you need your floor and don’t want to sacrifice it to a ribbon for the rest of the day so I would hang the ribbon so that it droops down from some hooks to dry, NOT over a heater…(oops)


This is a trial and error thing, you just have to see how long yours will take because of how warm your house is (my studio is an ice box), how wet your ink was etc but generally I usually leave ribbons overnight. You want the ribbon to be wet enough so that it comes off in your fingers when you put a bit of pressure on it, but not wet wet. The rule is, try it on your typewriter and if its splodgey, you need to wait longer.



Not splodgey

Not splodgey


Step 5. Clean your spools. Now you will probably have some old spools from your typewriter or are using your only ones either way they will most likely be covered in ink which if you are using nice light colours can go through, and make them look rubbish. So take your white spirit and with a cotton bud wipe off any of the original black ink from the inside of the spool.

Step 6. When it’s dry enough, cut a small hole in the ends of your ribbon and hook it onto the inside of your spool – be very careful as the little hooks can be quite brittle.


Now roll it onto your ribbon spools, half on one half on the other. You can do it all on one but I like to switch it up a bit. Now the colours will touch each other but don’t worry they won’t affect the rainbow typing as they won’t all merge into one unless your ribbon isn’t dry enough. Once you’ve rolled it up it will not dry any more as they are all bunched up – wet swimming cozzie left in the bottom of bag syndrome but less gross and smelly. If it does dry out after a while, old typewriter ribbons can be brought back to life with a bit of a spritz of WD40 or rubbing some sewing machine oil into it, so if it does dry out all is not lost.

Step 7. You might want to clean your ribbon holders and the type bars (letters) on your typewriter of all the old black ink before you put your new ribbon in. This is especially important if you’re doing a light colour like pink because you don’t want to stain your nice pink ribbon with marks from the original black and red before you start. So take your cotton buds and white spirit and a go over them cleaning off the remaining ink (you can also use an old toothbrush for the typebars if you’re really keen).

Now all you have to do is put your ribbon in your typewriter, et voila your ribbon is ready to be used! Just think how great life is going to be from now on.


And remember you can be really creative with your ribbons, doing a rainbow is one idea but orange and black alternating colours on halloween or pink for a wedding invite.. you know. Let me know how you get on in the comments.

Thanks for looking!

A x