This pink stuff is made by speedball and can be cut to any size. For this project, we used pieces that were about 2.5x3.5". The smaller you go, the harder it is to carve!
I drew our design--three simple pots and three simple cacti--directly onto the rubber using a ball point pen.
Then I carefully cut around each using a lino cutters and a small "v" knife. The "v" shape works great for details. I switched to one to the larger "u" shape knifes when I needed to remove the surrounding area. The cutters we use in the studio come with all the little knives we need and the extra knifes store in the handle when not in use!
Remember, the areas that you remove will be WHITE (or the color of the paper. Art teachers, this is a great time for a lesson in positive and negative space ;)
(I didn't take any picture of me carving my cacti, but here's an image of one of our students during printmaking month. See how she keeps her fingers back and out of the path of the blade? Safety first!)
For printing our cacti, we used block printing ink. The real stuff. Yes, you can use paint, but it just doesn't produce the same crisp, clean lines as the sticky ink. You can also use these stamps with just a regular stamp pad (these are our favorite washable ones) but the prints will be a slightly washed-out version of your stamp.
After you spend all that time carving, you going to want the best print possible--and block printing ink is definitely the way to go.
We roll our ink out on glass plates (just the inside of some thrift store picture frames) using a brayer until it makes that signature kissy sound. (The kids love that reference).
Then, we used the brayer to roll the ink onto our stamp. You can also just press the stamp into the glass plate if you want.
However you do it, you want to make sure that your hands stay as clean as possible!
The pots and succulents are interchangeable and can be mixed and matched. For the green ink, I rolled some with a little but of added yellow and some with an little bit of added blue to give me slightly different shades of green.
I think I like the pots best in the simple black and white.
But I also had some fun on black paper. The white ink for the pots wasn't quite "WHITE" enough on the black--it read as light grey. While the white ink was still wet, I sprinkled it with cooper embossing powder and used a heat gun to turn it into a raised metallic detail. (That will have to be another blog post though!)
I hope you have fun trying this project out with your students or for some creative time for yourself.
Our favorite printing supplies:
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Content inspired by the artists and art created in our studio.
Orange Easel began as a small art studio in my basement and continues to grow and serve our community. Read more about our story here.