Photos by: Sarah Veyna
Lately many of my friends and I have been getting into the habit of sending each other greeting cards and letters. Several of my friends are abroad or living in different states, and writing letters is an easy way for us to keep in touch without the hassle of coordinating Skype sessions in different time zones.
In order to add a special touch to my next round of greeting cards, I decided to make them by hand using a block print. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I thought that it would be fun to dedicate this post to D.I.Y. Valentine’s Day Cards. Block printing is a very fun process that you can easily do at home. Keep reading to learn how…
Fine tip pen (optional)
Carving tools (You can purchase a lino handle
and cutters individually, or purchase a set.)
Block Printing Ink (I recommend using a brand that is water soluble,
since it easier to clean up.)
Foam or Glass Palette
Note Cards ( I bought these
STEP 1 and 2: Draw and Carve Out Your Design*
Begin by drawing a design on your block using a black marker.As you begin to carve out your design, keep in mind negative space. Negative space is what you don’t want to print out on paper and are going to be carving out using your tools. I recommend that you distinguish negative space by either carving out all the blank parts of your drawing, or all the parts drawn in with marker.
STEP 3: Roll Out Your Paint
Squeeze out a small amount of printing ink on your palette, and roll it out using the brayer. As you roll out the paint, make sure that there is an even coat of paint covering the brayer. This step is important since you will be using the brayer to coat your stamp.
STEP 4: Paint Your Block
Use the brayer to cover the block in paint. Roll the brayer over your stamp in different directions in order to create an even layer of paint. You will have to repeat this step every time you make a new print.
STEP 5: Make Your Print
To make your print, place the block on a notecard and hold it firmly for a couple of seconds. I would recommend placing a stack of newspapers, or any other kind of padding, underneath the notecard that you are printing on. If you place the notecard directly on a flat surface, you can’t place as much pressure on the block and the quality of the print does not come out as clear.
STEP 6: Let Your Prints Dry Overnight
Finally, lay the prints flat on a surface, and let them dry overnight.
STEP 7 (OPTIONAL) Write In Your Text: As you can tell from the finished product above, I went ahead and wrote a message using a fine tip pen. Because of the size of my print, it was easier for me to write in my text. If you are going to add some type of lettering using the block, I would remind you to carve it out as a mirror image so that your lettering won’t come out backwards when you print on paper.
* My final print is not identical to the original design on my block because it did not print out exactly the way that I wanted it to. If you find that your print isn’t quite working for you, you can always wash off your block using water and soap and modify your design as you go along.