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About the Class

What is block printing?

  • Learn where block printing comes from and what it is
  • Woodblock Printing is a method used to print text, images, or patterns. 
  • There many ways of doing block printing. My favorite is block printing with rubber blocks because it's easy, simple, and fun. 
  • The art of block printing began in the 18th century in India in the region of Rajsthan, and the craft has been passed down from generation to generation. 

Learn about different types of stamps

  • There are many types of stamps:
  • wood blocks are the traditional Indian ones they are hand-carved in with conventional and contemporary designs and are perfect for fabric design.
  • A very simple method is using a potato; you can follow the same steps of this class to do something in a pinch.
  • A good alternative is to have stamps made from your designs. There are rubber stamp stores that will do that from an electronic file or a drawing.
  • Today we will learn how to use the easy cut rubber block, which provides a soft, easy surface to carve, and it is durable for many impressions.

Learn what kind of surfaces you can print on

  • You can basically print on anything that you want! Fabric, plastic, paper, wood, rubber, cork. In this class, we will print over cotton tea towels

Workspace and Materials

Review the materials needed and what they are used for

  • Inks for fabric
  • Easy cut-blocks
  • Carving tools with two nibs
  • Pencil and ballpoint pen
  • Transfer paper
  • Craft paper
  • 100% cotton tea towel
  • Paper towels
  • A couple of soft brayers
  • Plexi-glass 

Set up the space for printing

  • As long as you have a flat surface, you are ready to go no need for extra equipment. Set up your space by covering your work surface with craft paper. 
  • A lightly padded surface is best to print on fabric.
  • You can place a piece of scrap paper below the carving block to catch the waste from carving the block. 

Select the surface for printing

  • We will be printing on tea towels, but any other porous fabric will do.
  • The tea towel is your canvas. Think about where you would like to place your design. 

Selecting a design and transferring

  • Design a bold motif from imagination or from a pattern. Select models that are bold and simple that reproduce well. Avoid delicate designs and fine lines that are difficult to cut. Think about the pattern and rhythm and the position of the design on the tea towel. Don't forget that your design will be reversed once printed. Use your imagination or get inspired by patterns.
  • Define your color palette. Chose colors that are compatible and vibrant.  You can use the colors straight from the jar, or you can mix them to create your own. 
  • Differentiate between the positive and the negative image for printing. Make sure you are clear which is the positive image (raised part that will be printed) and the negative image (background) 
  • Transfer the design into the carving block. Use transfer paper or caron paper to transfer your design into the block.  Place a leaf of the transfer paper on top of the neighborhood, making sure it doesn't slip. Trace around the design with a ballpoint pen outlining. Remember, if you are printing letters, it's especially important to draw and spell backward because when you print, you will get a mirror image of the block. 

Carving

  • Sharpen the carving tools. Use a small stone to sharpen the carving tools before starting. Gently slide the blade forward into the sharpening stone for a few seconds.
  • Trace outline with a fine cutter. With the fine v-shape knife, trace the outline all around. Always cut away from yourself, and be careful to keep your fingers away from the blades. 
  • Carve out the background with a u-shaped cutter. Use the u-shaped cutter to carve away the background. Try to keep the surface leveled by carbing at the same angle every time. 
  • Refine any areas that may be overlooked. Take a moment to refine any areas that may have a raised surface; if you clean them up now, they won't show in your final print.
  • Check the borders and that the carving is deep enough. Check that the borders are not printing by test printing on paper if they are showing go back and clean up. Make sure that your carving is deep enough so that there is a defined raised surface.

Inking and printing

  • Spread the ink on the plexiglass and roll the prayer. Spread the ink by placing a dab (quarter size) of horizontally on the plexiglass. Use the roll to spread the ink, up and down, allowing the roller to get ink on the whole width. Make an ink well of about 5" square, and ink should be thin and not sticky. If it is sticky, you need to roll more or remove a bit of excess.
  • Roll the brayer charged with ink into the printing block. Once your roller is charged with ink, place it on top of the carved block and roll as many times as needed to get full coverage of ink on the stamp.
  • Test the printing block with scrap paper. Before printing into the fabric, always good to test on scrap paper to make sure the design is reproducing nicely. Go back to carve any areas if need be.

Print into the towel

  • Place the bocl with ink face down, and apply even pressure.
  • Repeat as many times as desired if creating a pattern.
  • Make sure the block is properly inked before stamping

Iron to set the design and finished project

  • Allow the design to dry
  • Allow the design to dry in the open air for about 15 minutes or use a blow dryer. Do NOT iron before it is completely dry. 
  • Iron the tea towel on the reverse side
  • Set the temperature for the material (cotton) and iron for 30 seconds.
  • Follow any additional instructions the inks may have on the label

Additional Resources

  • Sources and material list
  • Different kinds of stamps
  • Materials
  • Design / Positive-Negative
  • Carving examples
  • Inking and printing
  • Finished tea towels
  • More inspiration

Author

Fernanda Franco

School

Fernanda Franco's School

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What's Included

Language: English
Level: Beginner
Skills: Tea Towel Printing, Stamps Types, Block Printing, Printing, Woodblock Printing
Age groups: All ages
Duration: 21 minutes
6 Videos
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