Saturday, January 31, 2015

Print Making

Look, guys! My DarbySmart box is here!
For Christmas, Patrick bought me a three month subscription to DarbySmart.
DarbySmart sends a box to your home with all the supplies required to make a specific craft.  This is my first box, and I'm pretty stoked about it.    I adored my Birchbox subscription and am excited to have something new show up at my door each month.
For $19 a package (less if you hunt for online coupon codes), I was pleased.
January's box included everything needed to block print a set of tea towels.  
Not only was everything provided to make the towels, but the supplies were nice quality and can be used for many more projects in the future.

Here's what I found inside:
- linoleum block
- soft brayer (roller)
- linoleum carving tool
- black fabric ink
-  Styrofoam meat tray
- 2 tea towels
Choosing the design for my towels was important.
I wanted something quirky and fun.  At first I thought about quotes that make me happy, but carving  letters into the linoleum block seemed tedious, so I went with a cute animal - an ermine.
A few years ago, I read The Northern Lights trilogy by Philip Pullman.  
The main character is a young girl with a little playmate/pet/dæmon named Pantalaimon, and Pantalaimon is an ermine.  
Before reading this story, I had never seen an ermine before, so I Googled it - and was not disappointed.  Why didn't I know about these amazing little things??
There may not be a cuter animal in existence. Seriously.  It's magical.

 The printmaking process can be very basic, and I made mine exactly the same way I learned in middle school art class. You could easily find these materials at a craft store, so here is my process:
Choose a design or words and write them on paper, then outline heavily with a pencil.
Lay the design face down on your linoleum block and rub with a flat object to transfer the pencil outline.  
Before I transferred my ermine sketch, I drew an X.  The lines will cross, forming an X that shows you the exact center.  
I also went over my outline with a permanent marker to prevent smudging as I worked.
The DarbySmart box came with a carving tool that includes three different tips.
Carefully carve out your design.  
Chances are, it won't be perfect - and that's okay.  I think the appeal of carving a stamp is the handmade feel.
Roll or spread the fabric paint in a tray.
Gently roll a thin layer of paint on your stamp.
Before printing on your fabric, I recommend practicing a few times on paper.
Leave your stamp face up and set the fabric over it.  
Use a rolling pin or any large cylinder to press the fabric against the stamp. 
Carefully peel the cloth away from the stamp.
When the paint is completely dry, iron the design to set the color.
Here are my towels! I love them!
And now that I have these tools and the stamp, I can use them again on other things, such as clothing or this Valentine postcard.
Wash your stamp gently to prevent tiny carved details from rubbing off.
Try using an old toothbrush.


  1. This looks so easy. I am not a good carver. So, I am guessing a little skill is required to pull this off as nicely as you have.

    1. I'm not so good at carving either. I'm guess the secret is patience more than skill... I had several close calls with that carving tool and my fingers!