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Learn How to Block Print at Home

blue design block printed on paper

Want to learn an art technique that is inexpensive, easy and loads of fun? Then look into block printing at home.

For years I've been a printer. I learned how to silkscreen. How to operate vintage letter press machines. How to do wood cuts. How to create art on Adobe Illustrator that can be turned into art prints for the wall, or printed on fabrics and other surfaces.

The techniques I just mentioned all require skill and practice. Some require a lot of space, expensive equipment, or a powerful computer. But block printing is a breeze! Here's why:

1. Minimal Equipment: Block printing requires basic tools and materials, such as a carved

block, fabric or paper, ink or paint, and a flat surface. These items are inexpensive and easy to find at art stores or online.

2. Simple Process: The process of block printing involves applying ink or paint to a carved

block and pressing it onto a surface. That's it! You create a design, transfer it to a block, carve it, ink that baby up and you are good to go.

3. Print on just about any surface: Block printing can be done on various surfaces, including

paper, fabric, wood, and more. Heck, you can even block print directly on your walls or create your own wallpaper.

4. You can create things that no one else has: With block printing, you can create your own designs and patterns according to your preferences. This means that you can have custom bed linens, tote bags, tea towels, fabric, clothing, stationery and gifts that are unique.

5. Family friendly: Block printing is fun for people of all ages. It's a great way to involve kids in crafting projects and foster creativity. If your kids are real small, you may need to carve their blocks for them. But how cool would it be for your child to draw a picture of a dinosaur and then see it printed on any surface of their choosing?

6. Block printing is forgiving. I mean, really forgiving. In most other printing techniques, mistakes are a big no-no (which is why they can take a long time to finesse). But in block printing, wonkiness is wonderful! Things that would make a lousy print in silkscreen or letterpress (uneven print coverage, motifs not lining up perfectly) are actually celebrated in block printing. That's because block printing shows the hand of the maker in a way that no other printing technique does. Block printing creates a wabi-sabi kind of look that's textural and unique. You know that it was created by a human, not a machine or a computer program.

You can get started with block printing at home for under $50-$100. The supplies can fit in a small box on a shelf when not in use. All you need is a small space on a table to work. Cleanup is easy too, because you can easily rinse off the tools in a regular kitchen sink.

I'll be writing more posts on this topic soon, so stay tuned!

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