Introduction: Custom Save the Date Cards

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Make your own custom Save the Date cards using this classic linoleum cut - or lino cut - technique.    It's easy and fun, and it could save you a lot of money!  Once you get started, you'll want to make stamps for everything.

Why go with boring old stationery that anyone could buy?  Make something completely unique that expresses your own style.  Your guests will love the extra personality that your custom made stationery has.

Step 1: Materials

I bought a Speedball kit which came with the following:
  • One linoleum covered block
  • One linoleum cutter handle with three blades
  • Tube of watersoluble block printing ink (black)
  • 4 inch soft rubber brayer
  • Foam tray for inking
I also bought a couple more lino blocks to play with.

Step 2: Sketch

The first thing you need is a design!
In scouring through web pages looking for ideas for my own wedding, I was inspired by a few designs I saw, and used that as my inspiration.

I used graph paper to help me plot out the lettering.  I made up a few samples and chose my favorites to embellish.

I used a soft graphite pencil, hoping it would transfer easily onto my lino block.  And it did!

Step 3: Transfer

To transfer the image to the block, I just turned the paper over onto the face of the block and rubbed the back of it with the side of my pencil.  It worked great!

If you have transfer paper, you can use that too.  Just remember that your image will print in reverse, so all of your lettering needs to be backwards.

Afterwards, I went over the transfer with my pencil again to fully flesh out the design.

Step 4: Carve

I've never done this before, but it seemed pretty intuitive.  I started with the smallest blade and started cutting away the edges of all the lettering.  Then I went back and chipped away more with the larger and larger blades until all of the background was removed.

I'm not sure how deep the cuts need to go.  Even a scratch will show up in the print, so be careful!  Slipping with the knife changed the details of my final design a few times!

Step 5: Ink

Put a small amount of ink in the foam tray or on a piece of glass (that's how the experts do it I hear).   Roll the ink out with the rubber brayer in all directions until it's completely flat and smooth. 

Use the brayer to roll the ink onto the face of the stamp.

You can see where I either pressed too hard with my brayer or didn't carve enough of the block away and some extra edges got inked.  I tried to wipe it away before printing.

Step 6: Print

Get some nice cardstock and lay it on top of the stamp.  Use something to rub along the surface of the paper to really get the ink on the paper! 

Alternatively, you can put the paper on a soft surface or stack of newspapers, and use your lino stamp as a traditional stamp and press it onto the paper.  I got much better results from doing it the other way though.

Cut your cardstock into whatever shape you like (if it isn't already).  I even used a glue stick to attach some to refrigerator magnets as a handy way to keep the date in plain site and on people's minds.

For more great lino cut tips and tricks check out How to Make Linocuts.
Have fun!

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