It has been a few years now, that every Christmas we tell ourselves that the next year we will make some awesome Christmas cards to send out to our friends, yet every time the holidays come upon us and we are not ready. Not this time though…No last minute solution, but our very own hand crafted greeting cards.
First, the tree was designed on the computer, each color/level was printed separately and transferred with pencil on a block of oak wood, carefully leveled. The reverse design was then carved taking inspiration from the Indian block printing technique. This took some time, but guaranteed an original result.
Once the blocks were ready, the first block was inked with acrylic paint using an ink roller, and then a precut sheet of paper was placed on top of it, being careful to center the image using one of the block angles as a guide. A soft cloth was placed on top, followed by a normal piece of wood, and everything (including the table) was then pressed together for a moment using one of the woodworking clamps. The extra pieces (cloth and wooden block) were necessary to distribute an even pressure. The print was left to dry, and then the process was repeated with the second colour, taking care to register the paper accurately.
We tried out different colour combinations, and explored the effect on different types of paper.
What we learned:
– the acrylic paint works but it dries a little bit too quickly, it might be better to use a specific ink for block printing
– oak is very durable and does not deform, but it is very (very!) hard to carve, so it could be worth trying some softer wood type
– the printed card has a very nice textured effect, with some nice accents showing the wood grain, different from prints made with linocut or other synthetic materials.