Pasta Machine Printing

I love prints as an art form, but apart from some basic lino printing and screen printing I haven’t done any myself.  Print making seems a bit of a daunting thing to try, requiring expensive equipment and space. I’ve always particularly wanted to try dry point etching, so I got really excited when I saw an artist on Twitter talking about PRINTING AN ETCHING WITH A PASTA MACHINE!  Gosh.

Naturally I rushed out to buy one. Luckily my local cookshop had a modest one on sale and I got some sheets of flexible clear plastic from a nearby model shop.

This is what I did:

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The plastic sheets I bought were A4, so I cut them up so that they were small enough to feed through the pasta machine. They don’t need to be clear, but it’s handy if you want to trace over a drawing. I scratched my design with a pointed implement I found in an old box of tools. I’ve no idea what it’s really for. Any pointed tool you can comfortably hold should work.

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I used block printing ink as it was available. It worked fine. I’m going to try printing with acrylic paint with a drying retardant mixed in. I found the best way to ink the design was to rub the ink into the scratches with a cloth, then rubbing of the excess with a dry cloth.

2I printed onto cartridge paper, as I had some. Soak it in water for a few minutes first and pat dry.  You’ll need to experiment with how wet the paper needs to be.  Put the paper onto another piece of paper and some felt and place the inked plate face down on your paper. Fold the other side over. Be careful to hold the plate and paper together as you feed it into your pasta roller.

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Wind the handle! You’ll need to guide the bottom end so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the machine as it emerges.

 

 

This is what I made:71

There are several demonstrations of this by artists on YouTube. Worth a visit.

I’m looking forward to experimenting and printing lots more 🙂

 

 

 

Printing on fabric with your inkjet printer.

Printing on fabric with your inkjet printer! I saw a tutorial for this on Pinterest. I was slightly dubious and concerned I would end up with a printer full of tangled inky threads, but I tried it anyway…

The fabric I used was cotton and fairly thin. It worked beautifully and I covered some notebooks. I’ll be experimenting with coarser fabrics as well.

I used images from my sketchbook which I scanned and arranged in photoshop, but you could draw your artwork at A4 and then simply scan and print.

Now I’m thinking about all the other things I can use this technique for…watch this space.

 

Making My Own Textures for Photoshop (contains Bears)

brown

A Sad Bear

I recently bought a graphics tablet and have been busy teaching myself to use it and improve my photoshop skills (which are quite basic).  Here are some early attempts:

dancing rabbits

Some Happy Rabbits

I felt these needed some texture. I’ve used downloaded textures on pictures before, but wanted to create a retro printed look.  See a few examples of work that inspires me here.

I decided to try making my own textures. The easy bit was messing about with ink.. I rollered printing ink onto a smooth surface, then placed paper on top and rubbed hard. I also rollered ink directly onto different textured papers.

Then I scanned the results (after drying them, don’t scan wet inky or painty paper. It makes a mess of your scanner. Not that I’ve ever done that. No).

And, of course, you can make textures any way you like: paint, lino printing or scan or photograph fabric, paper etc.

Now the complicated bit (because I didn’t know how to do it).  Thank you @Daz_Woodcock on Twitter for a suggestion which made me think: “Oh! I know what to do!”  It was the making my black inky lovely textures into whichever colour I wanted to use in my picture that I thought was difficult. It’s really very simple indeed:

  1. Open your texture file in photoshopopen texture file
  2. Add a fill layer over the texture and choose the colour you want to useselect colour for texture
  3. Adjust the blending option to ‘screen’colourfill screen
  4. Flatten
  5. Select all and copy.flatten texture & select

Don’t forget to close this file without saving when you’ve finished with it!

The next bit is about inserting this into your picture. You’ll probably want to start your drawing as a separate file before you do the texture thing above.  If you’re not interested in this bit you may still like to scroll down to the bottom to see my finished piece of art.

I start with a new file whatever size I want. I create a layer over the background to draw on.  Something like this:draw bears

When I’ve finished the line drawing, I create a new layer above the background and under the line drawing layer. I paste my texture onto this, then resize it using Free Transform.add texture under drawing

Obviously, I don’t want green bears. Well, not this time. So I’m going to add another layer of texture in brown. It’s a different texture to the green one, but I used the same method to make it.

This time I made a new layer between the green layer and the line drawing..paste 2nd texture

..and again used Free Transform to resize and move it.free transform 2nd texture

I removed the excess brown by selecting and cutting the parts I didn’t want, then tidied it up using the eraser. This can be done as neatly or as roughly as you like. The effect I want is to have the brown colour not exactly under the line drawing.add detail

I then add a lot more line detail and drew in the noses and eyes. The shadows were added by selecting an area and using a 50% transparent fill with a darker brown.add nose and eyes

That is a very much simplified version of  my bear picture. In the one below I used more layers, messed about with different blending options and layer transparency and drew in more detail.  Obviously as I’m a beginner at this there is a lot I don’t know and there are other ways of doing things. (Tips always welcome.)

Here’s one I made earlierblue bear 1

 

 

(How to) Screen Print a Bear!

 

How to make a screen print on fabric with very cheap materials.

IMG_3153I’d been wanting to print tote bags to sell on my shop for a while.  I looked at commercial printing but it was expensive and required having large quantities made, home screen printing with photograph emulsion sounded complicated and I rejected lino printing because I just hate cutting it.  Luckily, I found several tutorials on the internet for different methods of screen printing.  I experimented a little, and used various of the ideas I’d seen. This is how I did it.

You Will Need:

  • An old picture frame
  • Voile
  • PVA glue
  • Jam jar with lid
  • Paintbrushes
  • An old credit card
  • Fabric to print onto
  • Screen printing ink for fabric
  • A design to print

IMG_3152First you need your design. I drew my unicycling bear very roughly on paper then scanned it, completed the design in photoshop and printed it out the size I wanted it on the bags. You can just draw the design to the size you want or find an image on the web.

Next I took my piece of voile and stapled it to my picture frame. It needs to be as taut as possible. Keep the staples to the back of the frame as it needs to sit perfectly flat on your fabric while you are printing.

IMG_3141

I put my printed out design under my frame and traced it onto the voile with a ballpoint pen.

(I left some of the detail out as I was happy to add it later, but it’s up to you how much you want to trace. Paper under screen so you can see the drawing.)IMG_3143

 

 

The next stage is to start painting on your screen with a blocking agent.  I used a 50/50 mixture of PVA glue and water.  Simply put glue and water into a jam jar and shake thoroughly!  I also added a drop of acrylic ink to mine so that it was easier to see where I had painted.

IMG_3145The idea is to block out all the areas you wish to remain white.  Prop up your frame so that it’s not touching anything underneath and start painting on the glue mix with a fine brush. Once you have painted round the outline and added the detail use a larger brush to block in the big white areas. Allow the glue to dry and then repeat with a second coat.

Allow to dry thoroughly.

 

IMG_3144Printing!

I made a test print before I started printing on bags. If you find you have made a mistake you can gently rinse off the ink under the cold tap, allow to dry, add more glue and dry before printing again.

To print you will need to put something underneath your fabric. I have a vinyl tablecloth and I put a piece of mountboard inside the bags. A plastic bag should work fine, but whatever you use make sure it is flat and smooth.  It’s also a good idea to iron your fabric before you print on it.

IMG_3150Place you frame on the fabric where you want to print.  Make sure the voile is in contact with the fabric. You can see in the photo that I weighed the top my frame down with a large stone.  Dollop a large blob of the screen printing ink at the top of your image and drag in across the image towards you with an old credit card. If you haven’t put enough ink on, don’t worry, just add some more and keep going. (I also tried applying ink with a brush but it didn’t work as well as this method.)

IMG_3146Once you have covered your image with ink you can carefully lift your frame off.  Put your fabric aside until the print has dried thoroughly. If you want to print another, carry straight on, or carefully rinse the ink off of your frame to use again.

The ink I used needs to be fixed with heat. Cover the image with a tea towel and iron as hot as you can on both sides. (Check manufacturer’s instructions for IMG_3147the ink you use.)

This sounds complicated but it was really fun to do!

 

 

IMG_3157My Unicycling Bear tote bags are available to buy on my Etsy shop.

 

 

Making things…

The best part of making jewellery is having ideas and trying out new things.  So far my adventures with shrink plastic have been restricted to drawing, then scanning and printing onto shrink paper.  I did some drawing directly onto the shrinky paper recently, when I had a medium sized child on loan. We used permanent fineliners in bright colours, but I wasn’t very keen on the quality of the line once they were shrunk down. As I like my Rotring pens so very much I thought I’d have a try with those, although I wasn’t sure if Indian Ink would work…  I used two different nib sizes, 0.25  for darker lines and 0.18 for fine lines and shading.

After several experiments on scraps…

making-2So far so good. Next trimming into a slightly irregular shape and hole punching to take a jump ring.  These are the second pair in progress.

making-3And the first pair, shrunk and made into earrings.

houseearrings-3 copyThe next level of experimentation involved working out how to protect the surface, as I’m not sure how durable the ink will be.  I usually spray on a light coat of matt acrylic varnish, but I’ve seen shrinkie jewellery with a shiny domed finish.  Internet research revealed that ice resin was one way of achieving this look, however Glossy Accents (which I already had) produces a similar look.  First attempt… got a few air bubbles. Pretty sure I can get it perfect with practice. 🙂

makingI applied it with the findings still attached because I am lazy and because I wasn’t sure if it would block the hole.  It should dry perfectly clear and hard.  I will post a photo when they are finished.  Then wear them!

I have a few other things on the boil as well, but as they are presents and supposed to be surprises I can’t show you yet. 🙂  Also starting to try bending and shaping the plastic while it’s hot… more news on that to come.

And here are the dry earrings.. complete with air bubbles… which don’t really show when you’re wearing them..

shiny