Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work.
The holiday of love is upon us! Say what you will, but I love Valentine’s Day. I loved it when I was single, and I love it now that I’m in a long-term relationship. It’s an excuse to express one of the world’s most important emotions. Love for your mother, for your friends, for you significant other, for anyone who supports you through this life. Where would we be without love?
I also stand behind the belief that it doesn’t take a lot to express; the simplest acts can show someone what they mean to you. Putting a little work into a handmade gift is the ultimate gesture. It doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take time and effort. The act of physically creating a gift for someone embodies thought. The end effect is much more personal and meaningful.
So this Valentine’s Day, I want to introduce you to a medium you’ve maybe never experimented with: block printing. It’s really fun, and holds a world of possibilities. Dream up any design you’d like and then follow the principles below or simply download the patterns I’ve handmade and recreate those. Either way, enjoy the process, get creative with it, and tell the people around you how much they mean to you.
What You’ll Need:
4” x 6” Rubber Printing Blocks
Roller or Acrylic Brayer
Lino Cutter with Changeable Heads
Soft Artist’s Pencil (2B or 4B is will work best)
4” x 6” Blank Card
2. Flip the pattern over, and place it on your rubber printing block. Make sure that any words appear backwards to you.
3. Trace over the lines of your pattern using a pencil and be careful not to move the paper around. This will transfer your pencil marks onto the printing block, so that you have guidelines for carving.
4. Using your lino cutter, begin cutting into the rubber block, following the lines you’ve made for yourself. You can adjust the line cutter heads whether you’re cutting out a big or small area. An important rule to note is that every area you cut away will be negative space, while the areas you leave will represent color.
6. Squeeze a small amount of acrylic paint on a flat palette - you can use palette paper, plastic, a scrap magazine, tracing paper, cardboard, or anything along those lines.
9. Flip block print over and print onto your blank card. I like to line up the edges, and then set the whole block down at once. Evenly apply pressure across the back with your fingers. Make sure you press hard around where any words or fine detail appear. The process usually takes me a minute or two.