Introduction: Meat Lover's Block Printing

Several years ago when we were cleaning out my parents house and dividing up some of the Christmas decorations, I came across a tea towel on a dowel rod project that I had made in 4th grade art class to give to Mom for Christmas. (I know it was 4th grade because that was the year I was obsessed with Koala bears, or in this case, Koala bears wearing clothes and decorating Christmas trees.) I made the tea towel into a sachet by making it into a little pillow stuffed with needles from that year's Christmas tree. Looking at it again this year I admired it as a really cheap and easy printing project. Here's what you need to do it:

  • Salvaged styrofoam tray from a supermarket meat product
  • utility scissors
  • ball point pen (or some kind of pointy stylus)
  • some kind of water soluble paint
  • brush or brayer to spread paint
  • paper or cloth to print on
  • optional: brayer or rolling pin to press block print on paper or cloth

Step 1: Prepare the Block

Save the styrofoam trays from your favorite meat products bought at the supermarket and wash them throroughly. Cut off the rounded corners so that you have a flat styrofoam surface.

Step 2: Prepare Your Print Design

Using a pen/stylus, "carve" your design into the printing surface.

I prepared a line drawing on tracing paper to transfer onto the styrofoam. Alternately of course you can just wing it and draw/carve directly on the printing surface.

Step 3: Make a Print

Spread your paint over the printing surface. You can use a brayer for this to get a consistent coating - I couldn't find mine though, so I just used a large paintbrush to distribute a thin coat.

Lay paper gently over the top and gently rub fingers over the top. Using a brayer for this will give you more even pressure. A rolling pin would also work for that. However, I just used my fingers for this.

Gently peel off the paper and voila! Block print.

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