Thursday, April 15, 2010

Try Something New

While thinking about writing this blog, I decided to share about making
a print using a great material called soft cut. This offers an alternative to
the old lino blocks that we are familiar with.
There are many brands out there that you can try.
Some are better than others. I like Speedy cut ( made by Speedball )
it is thicker and makes it harder to go through the material with your cutting tool.
One of the draw backs to Speedy cut is that it crumbles.
Dick Blick also has a similar product that is easy and doesn't crumble.
Another important thing to know is that you must use water based ink with this product.
That makes it a lot easier to clean up. There is no smell either. A plus for me.
This is also wonderful for those of us who have arthritis and hand pain.
You can still get great lines and a good print.

Here are all the materials that you would need to make a print .
One piece of soft cut , ruler, exacto knife, cutting tool , tape, pencil, ink, brayer, glass or large spoon, and of course paper.
Oops, I forgot to add the tray for the ink.

As you can see the soft cut or speedy cut is very flexible and easy to use.

After drawing your image on the soft cut you can now use your cutting tool and outline the shapes.
I use the smallest cutting blade first to outline the shapes. Then I go to the medium
blade and then the large blade for the big areas. The blades are extremely sharp so please
be careful.

After you finished cutting your design wash the soft cut.
and make sure all excess bits of softcut are removed.
This could cause problems with printing correctly.
Ater that you will want to use some tape and make a loop with it and put it on the back of the soft cut and then
place it on the table or on a piece of board and press. This will keep it from sliding or moving around.
If you are printing cards or something else that needs to be straight and registered correctly you will need to do this with
tape on a board and line up the soft cut. For proofs this is not necessary.
Squeeze a small amount of ink ( water based only ) into a styro foam or flat meat tray that you can save from your
meat purchases. Or a piece of glass or plastic if you prefer. Next you will need to get your brayer and roll it over the ink
until it is uniformly spread on the brayer. When you are satisfied that it is, roll the brayer over the soft cut several times
but not too much. You don't want a lot of ink on your print, This will take some practice. Remember to be patient
with yourself and expect to make some mistakes.

After you place the paper over the inked soft cut you will use the rounded piece of glass or a spoon to
rub over the paper and make sure to use enough pressure so that you will pick up all of the ink.
Make sure you are covering all of the image.

You can use any kind of paper for a proof. There are many types of papers available for printing in all price ranges.
When you are a beginner it is better to use inexpensive paper.

Carefully lift the paper off the print and put aside to dry. It usually takes about half an hour for a print to dry.

This is the final result. I can see from this proof whether I want to cut away more or leave it as it is.
I use black ink because it is easier to see all of the lines and shapes.
I can see that I didn't clean off the soft cut enough because it has many areas where it looks as though
pieces of material have stuck to it . The ink will show up the smallest piece
so it is a good idea to make sure the image is clean before you use it.

This is the second round of proofs. I am not sure about the color choices I made or if I should change a few things.
That is the great part of this process. I can still change the feeling of the work by my choices. I still have some !
You can also make your own stamps. It is more affordable than purchasing them and they are unique. Just glue a
small piece of wood to the finished stamp and your done. Have fun trying something new.


ZudaGay said...

Very cool, Six!! Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I may have to play with making some stamps this summer.

On a Whimsey said...

Fascinating! Great to sit, read and view the tutorial, thank you!

Judi B said...

This was really fun to read -- and thanks so much for sharing your "how to!"

Julie G. said...

Wow, that is so cool. I Want to try this.

Colours and Textures said...

Thanks six for sharing this and making an interesting post.

Myfanwy said...

Six, I love cutting for prints. You have given some good tips here too. Thanks for sharing.

yankeegirl said...

I took a workshop using soft cut blocks and loved it!! First time using them and had so much fun. Thanks for sharing six!! Great feature!!!

Chauncey said...

Six, what a great post. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It's always fun to try new things.

The Filigree Garden said...

This was great! Thanks for sharing.

Fused Glass said...

I missed this one I love it ! This is so interesting to me...Thanks for sharing!!!