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MAKE: Printed Valentine's Day Cards
Want something more unique and original for a Valentine's Day card than the usual high street fodder, here's how I make mine using traditional printmaking techniques.
Using a roller, I rolled out some printing ink out on to a hard clean surface. I like to mix my own inks with plate oil and raw pigment. I use a sheet of zinc, but this could be done on a sheet of thick glass or marble.
I trawl art and craft shops, flea and antiques markets for tin or metal shapes that I can print with. This heart shape was a tin Christmas decoration, but lends itself well to a Valentine's theme.
I use Somerset paper to print on, with a high rag content. It is soaked, then blotted before running through the press.
I roll the ink uniformly on the shape, then carefully place it on the bed of my printing press on some tissue paper. This protects the bed of the press from getting covered in ink.
The damp paper is placed on the inked up shape, then the blankets go on top.
Then the energetic bit, turning the handle of the press so that the heavy metal roller presses the image onto the paper, giving a very satisfying emboss as well as the image.
My favourite part is the reveal, peeling back the paper to see the result. I love the rich velvety image that's produced.
I hang up the wet paper to dry, preferably overnight.
Then the image is cut out and adhered to a blank card, ready to give to hubby on Valentine's Day.
Printing without a press: You can get some great results without using a printing press.
I collect items with interesting textures, for example here we used string, netting from fruit/veg and a jamtart foil. As a printmaker, I use printing inks, but good results can be achieved with childrens paints.
For this project I chose 3 colours. We rolled ink on to a tart case. With the other two colours, we just left the paint in a puddle so we could dip in the string and netting. I've used the scrappiest paper I had to demonstrate the good results that can be achieved with paper from packaging or cheap paper.
Simply place the inky items on a piece of paper, in a haphazard way, then place another piece over the top, and press hard with your hands. You can also press down with the back of a tablespoon, and work on different areas, pressing with your fingers. Peel back the paper and see what you get. But it doesnt have to stop there. There may be residual marks on one of the pieces of paper that you may find interesting, and want to add to.
The inky items will have some paint left on them, or you could add more. Place the inky items on other parts of the design, and press down again, to build up the abstract design. Leave the paper to dry completely. Then you could use your creation in any way you wish, to make cards, gift wrap or gift tags perhaps.
See more of Mandy's vibrant work over on her website http://mandyknapp.co.uk