A little while ago, I decided to keep track of every item I exclaimed “I can MAKE that!” over, and actually make it (budget permitting). One of the things on the list is a shower curtain, I said I could make a cooler one than the ones we were coming across – what I meant by that, I still have yet to figure out.
Regardless, I decided to come up with a way to accomplish this and after a little research, I decided I’d give block printing a shot.
3. Pinterest (of course)
5. (I already owned the speedy carve kit, which came with a lino handle and two cutters)
6. Wound up buying more cutters (figured out I needed a thinner one and a thicker one, after starting on my first block)
7. In trying to figure out how to make straighter line cuts, I discovered these rotary cutter rulers (which I use for sewing) are great for helping guide the cutter in a straight line (which can get really challenging, at least for me).
6. Tracing paper/ Pencil – I worked on the design I wanted to cut by drawing it on tracing paper, then going over the final design by doing dark lines using the pencil, after which I’d put it face-down on the block I planned on carving and rubbed it to transfer the design onto the block. Once this part was done, all I had to do was make the cuts using the design transfer as a guide.
A Good Start:
I started getting familiar with block printing by first carving my own stamps into dollar store erasers using the lino handle and cutters in the speedy carve kit.
In my experience with block printing, it turned out to be like doing the eraser stamps, just on a larger scale and keeping things in mind like what fabric I’d be printing on, etc. in order to figure out the type of design I should carve (example: so far I’ve found that smaller scale/ starchy fabric seems to handle detailed stamps better while spongier fabrics tend to favor stamps with more contrast, less detail as they tend to get lost when the fabric soaks up the ink).
What to do:
Once you have your tools, just jump in and develop your own way of doing things – I know this sounds very general but through trial & error, I’ve found block printing to be something you just get good at via experience and muscle memory. You’ll also find yourself researching techniques as you come across points in your process where you’re not sure how to achieve the desired outcome, which in my case is better than doing all this research & feeling overwhelmed/ over-saturated with information you may not even use for what you’d like to do.