Thursday, May 31, 2018

Carved Stamp Mountain Range Towel DIY

“It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here's where things grow…but of course, without the top you can't have any sides. It's the top that defines the sides.” 
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance
I love the mountains.
Photo by Patrick
They have a magnetism - like a beacon, pulling me out of my little day-to-day bubble and reminding me that so many adventures are out there just quietly waiting.
I honestly never get tired of seeing them.

(This is also why I like reading books like Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance, they feed my wanderlust)
I definitely had mountains on my mind when I thought of printing these dish towels.
If you decide to make a set of your own, I hope seeing the mountain range in your kitchen every day will ignite your wanderlust as well.
You will need:
dish towels (mine are from IKEA)
printing ink
carving tool
permanent marker
painting tape
a printing block OR a large eraser

I used leftover ink and a carving tool from my printmaking DarbySmart box, but you can find the Speedball ink, carving tool, and roller at Hobby Lobby.  I definitely recommend using the ink because it's made for fabric and holds up to washing.  I experimented with acrylic paint, and that didn't go so well. It clogged up the finely carved details in my stamp and dried quickly, resulting in a gloppy, unattractive mess, like a melting mountain.
This eraser is from Dollar Tree.
Hobby Lobby also carries nice printing blocks with rubber surfaces, but $1.00 erasers are more my style.
Begin by sketching out your mountains.
Remember that carved sections will remain white while the un-carved areas will transfer the ink.
My mountains are just two triangles, one taller than the other, with snow on the peaks.
Carve around the mountains and carve out the snow, leaving an outline (like a coloring book).
Cut away the excess rubber from the sides.
This photo of my stamp coated in ink shows what the mountains will look like.
Do you see what I mean when I suggest leaving rubber to outline the snow caps like a coloring book?
Lay your towel flat. I recommend ironing it first.
To keep your mountain range in a neat, straight line, use a strip of painters tape as a guide.
I placed the tape about three inches from the bottom edge of the towel.
Squeeze a blob of ink onto a nonporous surface and roll it out with your roller.
For my ink station, I taped a freezer bag to the table.  It worked pretty well.
Press your stamp into the ink and then onto the cloth, following the tape guideline.
Repeat until you have a row of mountains spanning from one end of the towel to the other.
When you finish, carefully peel away the tape and allow the ink to dry. the fresh mountain air if possible. :)
When the ink dries, you have to "set" it with heat before washing.
Use your iron to accomplish this.
Enjoy your mountains :)

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