Thought I'd try my hand at some printing blocks as I saw a TV show where they featured and figured I'd be able to do it. Firstly its a lot harder than I thought! Secondly, I think the addition of some kind of printing press would give me better results so I think I'll make one of those in the future. The blocks I made feature my logo and the Baratheon sigil from Game of Thrones. I'm sure there's many methods to achieve this and get better results but I think this method is probably one of the most low tech approaches so anyone could achieve it.
There's a video showing the process and close ups of the results on my YouTube channel and as always more detailed instructions follow below.
Step 1: Tools and Materials Used
- Carving knife
- Small carving chisels
- Fine pencil and thick pencil
- Ink pad
- Maple or other hard wood suitable for printing blocks
- Black paint (or any colour you wish)
Step 2: Transferring the Logo to the Wood
As I mentioned in the intro this is a very low tech way to transfer a logo. I've seen many people use other techniques to transfer the print out straight onto the wood using some kind of liquid. This technique just simply involves colouring in or drawing a pencil outline of the logo/picture. Then you simply flip it over, place it onto the wood and rub the back with a thicker pencil, I used a carpenters pencil. With enough rubbing the logo should show up on the wood.
I took the fine pencil again and went around the outline of the logo to help me get sharper cuts.
Step 3: Carving Around the Logo
This part is quite difficult and you have to be very careful not to slip when cutting. The smaller the chisels you have the better. I think the trick is to make the outline of the logo as crisp as possible so its a good idea to have sharp chisels (something I didn't have). A sunken area needs to be made around the logo, this sunken area is where you don't want ink to print onto the page.
You have to think a little about where you want the ink to be. For example in my logo I knew that I wanted "Timber" to be printed onto the page but I wanted "Anew" to be negative. Therefore I left the letters for "Timber" proud of the surface and the letters for "Anew" carved out of the surface.
Step 4: Trying Out the Block
After I had carved everything out I tried the block a couple of times and got bad results. I deemed that the block itself, where the logo was carved, was not entirely flat. So I got some sandpaper and placed it onto a known flat surface. I then carefully sanded the logo down until it was all sanding at the same time. Its important to be careful if you have to do this step, sanding the logo/picture can make little details chip away so its best to use sandpaper with a grit of 120 or over. At least that's what I found in my experiments.
I then got an ink pad that you might find in a craft store and blotted it all over the logo I pushed firmly on all parts of the block and pulled it up to reveal a nice looking print with a kind of distressed look.
You can see the results up close on my YouTube video.
Step 5: Extra: Carving the Baratheon Sigil
I transferred the image in exactly the same way but this time I decided to switch the roles of the letters and logo. I made it so that the background would hold the ink and the logo and letters would be negative on the page which I think turned out really well.
For this block I decided to use a sponge to dab some black paint all over. I then placed the block onto paper and without moving it I clamped it down in the centre as tight as I felt was necessary. I figured this would act as a printing press of sorts and did actually work, it gave me a nice print with a great negative.
Step 6: Print Things!
The carving was quite difficult but I love the result. The fact that for a couple of hours carving I can obtain a printing block that can be used multiple times is very appealing to me. I can imagine it being used for walls or to "sign" your work or maybe even as a gift to someone who fancies being able to print random things!
If you liked that Instructable and you'd like to check out the other things I get up to then please head over to the Timber Anew Facebook Page and give it a like. You could also subscribe to my YouTube channel, look at my library of projects and stay tuned for more!
Thank you for checking this out, any comments, criticisms and ideas are welcome!