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Printmaking for all skill levels (including kids!)

Have you ever thought about trying out Printmaking? Collage carries everything you need for your Printmaking adventures! In this blog post we will show you everything you need to know to do three different projects.

Project 1: Carve a Stamp using a kit made by Yellow Owl Workshop

Project 2: Make super simple foam stamps

(This one is great for littles!, but also fun and quick for adults)

Project 3: Carve and print your own linoleum block

Project 1: Carve a Stamp! Supplies You'll Need:

First of all it must be said that this kit is a great value and a joy to use. The carving tool is easy to maneuver and the blades are easy to change. The tool design with the hole in the center is a nice feature. The carving block is double sided for double the stamps and the white center makes it easy to tell you have carved deep enough. It carved beautifully and is easy to cut into smaller pieces with an xacto blade.

Using this kit we cut the block included into smaller pieces. We carved two stamps using the templates in the instruction manual (pic below) and an additional block for a two color print (both sides). There are some pieces leftover for additional stamps! Ready? Let’s do this!

Step 1: Choose an image from the book or draw or trace anything you like! We suggest keeping it simple in the beginning. Below is a bunny shape drawn onto the tracing paper using the pencil from the kit. Flip it over so the drawing side is against the block and hold it in place while you gently rub the back of the tracing paper. It transfers beautifully! Carefully lift the edge without moving the paper to check on your progress. If you accidentally lift the paper before the transfer is complete you can line the see-through paper back up pretty easily. After this step we cut the block in half with an Xacto knife so we could use the rest for more stamp carving fun!

Step 2: Insert the blade you want to try and test it in an empty space on the block that you will need to carve away anyway. This will give you some practice before you tackle the details.

Step 3: Carve! Decide which blade you like the feel of and start carving away the negative space around your image. It takes a while depending on the size of your stamp. One of my favorite features of this kit is the two colored block. It is easy to tell when you have carved deep enough when you have carved away the pink layer and reached he white layer underneath. To the right you can see the bunny background all carved and the bits that were removed. Also pictured here is a bench hook which is a useful tool but it isn’t a necessity for this project because the block carves so smoothly.

Step 4: The first side of our two part block is carved! Repeat the process on the flip side with your second color! It helps to use the opposite side because it is already the right size! Below you can see the second part of the bunny stamp. You can also see in the test prints the sort of scratchy background you can get if you choose not to continue to carve away the lines still picking up ink.

Step 5: We are ready to print! Print on paper, blank cards, or anything you like! If you decide to pick up some Yellow Owl ink pads they also work on fabric!! To the left we used some white card stock to test out the print. Also pictured is washi tape we used for registration marks. This makes it super easy to line up the second print right over the top. If your registration is slightly off it can still be quite charming. You might even like off-setting it on purpose.

Below is a sample of some of the templates that come with the kit. They were very simple and quick to carve. They are shown printed on some yummy half rotted book pages rescued from a free box.

Project 2: Foam Stamps

Supplies You’ll Need:

This project is very simple and perfect for little printmakers who aren’t ready to handle sharp blades and adults alike!

Step 1: Unless you want to make one large print, cut your Foam sheet into smaller workable pieces.

Step 2: Use a pencil to draw an image or just cut out the shape you want to print. Pictured on the left, a young person is drawing on a foam piece. It makes an impression and whatever space isn’t drawn on will print. *If you write any words they must be backwards for them to print the correct way*.

Step 3: Print your stamps! An ink pad will do for a rougher print, but if you want to get a nice crisp print I suggest Water-soluable ink and a brayer.

A photo of foam stamps printed with ink pads is to the left. These prints are slightly rough but still decent.

A photo of foam stamps printed using water-soluble printing inks and a brayer is to the right. These inks give you a crisper print if that’s what you’re going for.

If you want to print with water soluble printmaking inks first squeeze a small amount of ink onto your rolling surface. This surface can be a sheet of glass or plexiglass or a smooth craft mat. Use a brayer to roll the ink back and fourth horizontally and vertically until you get a nice orange-peel like texture. Roll it onto the stamp (make sure to have scrap paper behind it so you don’t make a mess.) and print by flipping it and pressing it with your fingers or with a baren (pictured below). You can also add a simple handle with a piece of washi tape for easy lifting..



Project 3: Linoleum Block Printing

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • A linoleum block in any size ( if you are a beginner we suggest starting. small)

  • A carving tool such as Speedball Lino block cutter set

  • A pencil

  • A bench hook (optional but it helps keep the block from sliding around while you carve)

  • A surface or rolling ink such a a sheet of glass, plexiglass or a smooth kitchen mat dedicated for crafting (not to be used with food again.)

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Draw or transfer your image into the smooth side of the linoleum block. We used a 2”x 3” block and drew the image right ont the block with a pencil. *If there are words in your design you must carve them backwards! * This is an easy mistake to make so be mindful.

Step 2: Practice using the different blades in the negative space you plan to remove anyway. This gives you a chance to plan which ones you will use for different parts of your carving.

Step 3: Start carving! After a little practice in the negative space it’s time to tackle the lines of your design. We used a fine gouge for the hand details, a medium sized gouge for the outline and a larger one for removing the negative space.

Step 4: Once you have finished carving, test your print to get an idea how it looks. Make changes as necessary. Below we made a quick test print with an ink pad before making a few slight changes.

Step 5: Print your block using water soluble ink. Roll out a small amount of ink on your chosen inking surface using your brayer. Roll horizontally and vertically until you get a nice orange-peel like texture. Then roll the ink onto your block. Leave the block facing up and carefully lay your paper over it. Use a baren or the back of a spoon or your hands to press and smooth the paper. A baren makes this job a lot easier.

Step 6: Lift the print! Carefully pull the sheet away from your printing block. You might need to practice the inking and pulling a few times to get your desired results. Below our block was printed on a sheet of paper and then on page from an old book. You can also get inks specific for printing on fabric! When printing on fabric we suggest using a foam sheet as a cushion behind the fabric to get good contact with all the fibers.

Have fun Printing!! Follow the links to purchase supplies from our website or come by one of our locations if you are in Portland! We are always happy to help you get the supplies and knowledge you need to get creative.



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