You probably know all about the carved-potato trick or, of course, your own thumb. Or maybe there’s a little girl in your life who presses her princess stamps all the way down your left arm. Such has been your understanding of making prints. But have you considered that odd button? A scrap of string? The berry basket in the recycling bin? These everyday objects — and many, many more — can be used to make graphic and beautiful block-printed fabrics and papers. The process is easy enough for a summer afternoon, and it requires very few supplies beyond the stuff you already have on hand.
Block printing tips and tricks
1. Keep your eyes peeled. Once you start looking around for objects that lend themselves to block-printing, you’ll find that your home is practically Gutenberg’s workshop: You will see potential everywhere — a pair of dice, rubber bands, striped bocce balls. (Be sure to do a test run, and be aware that paint might permanently stain the object.)
2. Make a printing block. Some things, such as plastic berry baskets and woven trivets, are ready-made for printing. For others, such as buttons or lengths of twine, you’ll need a hot-glue gun to secure a scrap of wood to the object, creating a base panel.
3. Prep and print. If you’re printing on paper, use craft paint; if you’re printing on a textile, fabric paint is best. If you want a sheerer finish without watering down the pigment, mix one part paint with three parts lightener medium (also known as colorless extender) in a jar. When you’re ready to print, spread paint on a palette or a piece of cardboard; dab paint all over the object with a foam pouncer.
4. Press on color. When printing on a textile, lay the cloth over an old towel or a piece of batting (depending on the object — you may need to experiment). In addition to helping the paint press into the fabric, this cushioning keeps the block from slipping. Some paints dry in as little as five minutes; if you’re creating an overlapping pattern, allow for drying time between applications. When you’re finished, set paint according to package instructions to make the design permanent and machine washable.
Block printing how-to
Tools and materials:
Lightener medium (optional)
Hot-glue gun (optional)
Wood scrap (optional)
Paper or fabric
Mix paint and medium as needed in jar. Hot glue chosen object to wood scrap if necessary. Pour some paint on cardboard, and dip foam pouncer in. Dab paint on raised portions of block.
Position block over paper or fabric, and press straight down.
Reapply paint, and reposition the block to create desired pattern. Let dry.
If you want to print on textiles, experiment with a variety of fabric paints. Some brands are more transparent; some are heavier — so each gives a different effect. Mix in colorless extender to make the paint semitransparent — if you overlap colors, you can create a new shade.
The holiest plant of the Christmas season may be a raggedy shrub with peeling bark that seems to grow best in a dusty backyard in Tempe, Ariz. This is Boswellia sacra, better known as the frankincense tree. The shrub’s gum resin is one of the three biblical gifts that the wise men bestowed on the infant Jesus. Until recently, Americans who wished to cultivate their…
FRESNO, Calif. — Federal law now allows visitors to carry guns in national parks, but you can’t just slip a loaded pistol into your backpack and take a hike. Pay attention, because this is a little complicated. You will need a concealed weapons permit to carry the loaded gun in the backpack. But you don’t need any kind of permit if you just want to…
ROSEBURG — An Oregon teenager who claimed he cut a man’s throat to put him out of his misery has been convicted of murder. Charley Carnes, 19, said he wanted to end 27-year-old Kevin Omann’s suffering after another teenager hit Omann over the head with an ax two years ago. Judge Joan Seitz told the courtroom this week she convicted Carnes on the theory that…
Q: Why do some vegetables, such as cooked diced carrots, spark when I reheat them in the microwave?A: Microwaves work by sending out electromagnetic waves that vibrate the water, fat and sugar molecules in food, creating heat. The microwave generates an electric field, but the intensity of the electricity varies throughout the microwave. When you cut a carrot into small pieces and heat them in…
In Central Oregon, the color of money during the winter is white. When the snow falls, it is one of the foundations of the local economy. But while most of us rejoice at a snowfall, the bad thing is that snow blankets everything, and at some point, you will probably have to remove it. But suppose 6 inches dumps overnight, and early in the morning…