After several years of making Christmas cards to send out, I've started streamlining the process with printmaking. It still has the homemade feel but requires less of a time investment, which is good cause I always start them late.
Step 1: Tools
You can get most of what you need at any art supply, or craft store.
Things you will need:
Helpful things to have:
Step 2: Carving
I came up with a fairly simple image and traced it on to my block. *Remember your image will be reversed on the block* I left the negative space to be the part that takes the bulk of the ink, this saves tons of carving time.
To start the process take the narrowest blade and carve the outline of the shapes that will be cut out. Carve *AWAY* from yourself and your appendages.
Its tempting but don't apply tons of pressure, this is when the blade will inexplicably take off across your block peeling up parts you didn't want peeled.
When you finish the outline carve out all the middle parts with a wider blade alternating sizes as you need it. Keep in mind to carve *AWAY* from yourself.
Step 3: Inking
After you finish carving (and possibly bandaging finger gouges) take a chance to clean your area and rinse off your block. You'll thank yourself when you don't have linoleum crumbs in your ink.
To ink your block squeeze out a nickel sized dollop of ink on one edge of your plate (mirror back) and use the brayer to pull it down to the other end. Pick up the brayer at the end of the plate and start from the top again until your brayer is coated and it makes a sticky "zipp" sound when you roll it.
Roll your inked up brayer to your block and make sure every part is adequately covered. The ink should look finely textured, not smooth or rough. Think super fine grit sandpaper.
Step 4: Brayer Time
Line up your card on your nicely inked block and rub the back of it with your brayer (tiny glass bottle, wooden spoon, etc.) using tiny circular motions. Use a decent amount of pressure and make sure you have covered all areas.
When you are done, peel the card back and set somewhere to dry while you make more prints. The ink will stay wet for a while.
You can also use a variety of different colored inks or paper. My cards happened to have a weave texture which showed through the ink.
Clean up is fairly simple everything should wash with soap and water.
If like me you don't get around to mailing half of them in time, keep them till next year or give stacks of them as gifts to friends and family. Be sure to sign the back so they know you made them!
Thanks for reading and check out my website for more, othercleverthings.com .