How to Make Art Prints
We've all made art prints, whether we realize it or not. Remember taking leaves, vegetables, sponges, or blocks and covering them in paint? Simply pressing these items against paper creates a print, as many school children can tell you. If you're ready to try a more advanced version of art printing, create a woodcut or drypoint engraving. Transfer the image to a piece of paper, canvas, or stone and you have your own art print.
Making a Woodcut Print
Create your desired image.Take a sheet of plain white paper and draw the picture that you'd like to print.
- Be sure to use a standard lead pencil so the lead can transfer off and provide an outline for your wood cutting.
Get a wooden block.This should be soft wood, like a thin birch or pine plywood. Use whatever size you'd like your print to end up being.
- If it's your first time, you might want to use a smaller piece of wood, just to get used to the process.
Place your image down onto the wood.Set the lead side of your drawing directly onto the wood. Carefully rub across the image so that the lead transfers to the wood. Remove the paper drawing.
Draw over the image with a pen.Depending on the kind of wood you used, it may be difficult to see the penciled image. Go over the image with a pen, so you can easily cut around it.
Cut your woodblock.Make sure your wood is on a non-slip surface and gather several different sizes of wood gouges. Cut and carve away the wood surrounding your image, taking care not to cut into the image itself. Use gouges to make shallow cuts away from yourself.
- A V-shaped gouge cuts against the grain, while a U-shaped gouge cuts along the grain, making it easier to remove large chunks. You can purchase several sizes of wood gouges, controlling the level of detail.
Gather your paper, ink, and roller.You may want to do a few practice prints on scrap paper before using your chosen paper. Load your rubber roller with ink, by rolling it in the ink until evenly distributed.
Roll the ink over your woodcut.Make sure to completely cover your block so that the image is covered in ink. The only part of the woodblock without ink should be the part that you cut away.
Lay your paper over the inked woodcut.Be sure to carefully position the piece of paper over the block so that it lines up straight.
Smooth over the paper.Start from the center of the paper and gently, but firmly press the paper smoothly across the block. You can use a letter opener, wooden spoon, or bone folder to apply even pressure.
Lift away the paper.Slowly pull up on the edges of the paper to remove it from your woodcut. You should see your image printed on the paper. Let your print dry completely before framing or hanging it.
Making a Drypoint Engraving Print
Create your desired image.Take a piece of clear plexiglass and an etching needle. Etch your design directly onto the glass, creating grooves in the plexiglass where the paint will be deposited.
Ink your plexiglass plate.Once your image is complete, gather your paints, cotton balls, or felt. Use the cotton balls or felt to dip into your paint. Lightly press it against the image.
- You can press one color at a time, or apply multiple colors for a single pressing. Either way will give you slightly different results, so feel free to play around.
Wipe excess ink off your plate.Take a rag and carefully wipe across the plate, making sure excess ink from the surface of the plate is removed. You should only have ink in the grooves of your image.
Prepare your paper.Use watercolor paper and soak the papers in water for several minutes. Remove them from the water, lay them on towels, and gently blot them dry.
- Soaking and blotting your papers will make the fibers swell. This makes it easier to transfer your etched painting onto the paper.
Position your plexiglass etching on your press.You'll need to use a print-making press in order to exert enough pressure. Set the prepared paper on top of your inked plexiglass etching and cover with a towel.
Run your print through the press.Using medium strength, press your image onto the paper. Carefully remove the towel and lift up on the the paper to release it from the plexiglass etching. Your image should have transferred.
Let the image dry.Make sure the paint is completely dry before framing or hanging your print. Sign and number it before printing more.
- Repeat for however many results of transfer designs you want and have fun experimenting! Sign and number your prints.
- If using another person's image, get permission before making prints.
- Young children should be supervised and adults should do any woodcutting.
Video: HOW TO MAKE PRINTS at home! ❤️ Tutorial
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