Block Printing

Posted by Mandy Abel on

"There is a kind of beauty in imperfection" ~ Conrad Hall

Traditionally, block prints are done by eye. Tell tale signs of the human hand - even imperfections - are part of the beauty of the craft. These days screen prints even have these kinds of mistakes designed into them - an imitation of humanity's imperfection.

We absolutely love our range of traditional wooden printing blocks! With so many designs to choose from the possibilities are endless! They are perfect for decorating paper, textiles and clay - read on for some craft inspiration...

  • Use them with poster, tempera or acrylic paints
  • Stamp pads are an easy, low mess option. Children can use the blocks to practice counting or make one of a kind cards. They can also be combined with other mediums such as water colours to make beautiful works of art.
  • Grab some brown parcel paper or fabric offcuts and create your own decorative gift wrap
  • They can be coated with PVA glue and stamped onto card to then sprinkle over with ecoglitter or sand - so much fun!  
  • Make intricate prints in play-dough.
  • Air clay or salt dough can be used to create decorations, Christmas ornaments, gift tags, garlands and more.

We've also compiled a few tried and tested tricks below to make the crafting process and clean up a little bit easier:

  • When crafting with paint - apply a thin, even layer using a sponge or foam roller so you don’t flood the stamp. 
  • Press down firmly so all surfaces of the stamp connect with the paper, and lift up straight to avoid smearing the print
  • A light coating of olive oil prior to stamping makes for an easier clean up, particularly with sticky mediums like clay.
  • Reapply paint/ink between each printing to ensure an even print
  • If crafting with air clay or salt dough we recommend shaping the clay first and letting it set slightly before stamping. If the clay is too wet it will be difficult to remove from the printing blocks.

Post Printing Care: 

After you finish the printing process, it is very important to clean and dry them correctly. Remove as much of the excess paint/dye as you can by stamping ghost impressions on excess paper.

Depending on the medium used, they may simply need a wipe with a soft damp cloth and be left to dry. A few drops of vegetable oil on a paper towel can also be effective.

With paint or other sticky mediums you may want to do the following:

1. Take a bucket filled with water and dip all dirty blocks in it. Leave them in the bucket for a couple of minutes and then scrub the blocks gently with a soft brush that doesn’t harm the pattern (eg. a used soft toothbrush). 

2. After you scrub the block, immediately dip it in another vessel filled with clean water. Repeat the same process for all dirty blocks.

3. Wipe them with a dry cotton cloth.

4. Put the blocks in the shade for drying - ensure they are fully dried before storing.

If you love these beautiful handcrafted printing blocks as much as we do, feel free to tag us on our social channels - we'd LOVE to see your creations!! #fairplaynz #craftwithfairplay

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