Tuesday, 8 April 2014


WALT: make a multicoloured block print.

Two weeks ago we made some simple black block prints using polystyrene as our block. They were a bit small and fiddly but some worked out OK. It was just a practice run anyway.


We may leave them like this or we may colour them by hand. Whatever we decide is fine because the cool thing about these types of print is that you can print them over and over again...

...the next one we are going to do however is not so easy...

                 ...once we have got to the end, the block CANNOT be reused. You will see why..

Step1: the plan

Step 1. Plan out your work including the colours you are going to use.

Step 2: Add your design to the block. Note that the lines are thick. I used the wider part of the vivid. You'll see why soon.
Note the thick lines
The colour's names added for when it gets confusing

 Step 3: Begin the cutting/'carving' process. In order to get nice crisp lines we use a craft knife. The secret here is to go slowly, keeping the knife blade low so you don't tear the polystyrene. You want to cut it like butter. Make sure the blade is sharp.
Cutting either side of the thick lines

One the photo on the left you will notice the thick lines that I mentioned earlier. Because you want these in your detail you need to cut either side of them. Thin lines will be a nightmare to cut either side of.

If you look close enough in this photo, you will see all of the lines have been cut around...now for the fun part...the 'carving'
Step 4: 'Carving'.
Because the polystyrene is soft we can push it down rather than carve it out (like we would normally do if we were using a wood block or piece of lino). That's why we cut around the design and that's why we get nice crisp edges to our design (I wonder who the clever person was that came up with this idea...)

Beginning to 'Carve' These bits will stay white
Note the crisp edges where the design has been cut
Step 5: First ink
Ink up the block and get a good coating across the entire block. Not too much, and don't rub it out either. You may need a practice print to see. Make sure your first colour is the lightest. You are going to layer the colours over each other as you go. it is a lot easier to cover black over yellow, rather than the other way around. If you have colours that are similar is their deepness, you may want to think about changing them. You want a contrast. 
Yellow is the first ink. You work from lightest to darkest
A good covering of ink. The bits pushed down will always be white

First layer. 

Flanny Jnr. printing. Note that we did it on carpet. it helps get a nice press.

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