Linocut Valentines

Bull City Craft Lino Cut Card

Tell your valentine they’re special with a hand printed card. Linocut is a form of relief printing. The negative space is carved away, leaving the image in relief. The raised image is easy to ink and print by hand.

SIZE: Lino block: 2.75 x 4.5 inches

MATERIALS:

Speedball Speedy-Cut block, 2.75 x 4.5 inches
Speedball lino cutter handle and blades, #1 and #5
Pencils, #2/HB and 4B or softer
Tracing or drawing paper
Blank greeting cards and envelopes
Speedball water based block printing ink (Shown in White and pink mixed from Red, White and Blue)
Rubber brayer
Inking plate, or glass
Baren

NOTES:

Speedy-cut blocks are easier to use and cut than traditional linoleum blocks. Use caution when carving image. Always keep both hands behind blade at all times.

INSTRUCTIONS:

BCC Lino Cut Image

Design

Draw your design on a piece of paper or tracing paper with a #2/HB pencil. Trace over the keep design elements with a 4B or softer pencil.

Lino Valentine 2

Transfer

Turn paper over on top of Speedy-Cut block and rub lightly with your finger or bone folder to transfer image.

Lino Valentine 3

Cut Outlines and Details

With #1 cutter, cut the outlines, then cut details. Work from foreground to background.

Lino Valentine 4

Clear Background

Using #5 cutter in big spaces and #1 cutter in small spaces, clear background. Work from center of area to be cleared toward the edges. Be careful not to over cut outlines.

Lino Valentine 5

Print

Use brayer to ink up linocut block. Ink should have the texture of fine grain leather on ink plate. Too little ink will make the image faint. Too much will fill in fine details and make the image blurry.

With inked block face up, carefully lay card on top.

Using the baren (or another tool such as: finger, second brayer, large spoon, bone folder) gently press the paper onto the wet ink.

Pay close attention to large solid areas which often do not print fully.

Shifting paper or squishing the block will distort the image.

Carefully lift printed card off of block, and set aside to dry. Re-ink and repeat for additional cards.

Helpful Tips

Ink should have the texture of fine grain leather on ink plate. Too little ink will make the image faint. Too much will fill in fine details and make the image blurry.

Pay close attention to large solid areas which often do not print fully. Shifting paper or squishing the block will distort the image.

Clean Up

Wipe ink plate and brayer with paper towel, then wash with water, and towel dry.

To remove ink from block, hold under running water or dab with wet paper towel, then blot dry. Rubbing block may cause small pieces to break off.

Printable pdf file: BCC Lino Cut Valentines

Eraser Stamps

Bull City Craft: Eraser Stamp Gift Tags Small details make a big difference. Make your gifts even more special with hand made gift tags.

SIZE:
Small stamp 1 x 1 inch
Large stamp 1 x 2 inches

MATERIALS:
Artgum Eraser in small or large size
Pencil#2/HB, and 4B or softer
X-acto knife
Bone folder (opt)
Canson Pure White Drawing Paper
Metal ruler
Cutting mat
String or ribbon
Scissors
Hole punch or awl
Stamp pad

GIFT TAG PREP:

Cut paper into gift tags using cutting mat, ruler, and x-acto knife. Sizes shown are 1.5 x 3 in, 1.5 x 4 in, 2 x 3 in, and 2 x 4 in.
Punch hole in top of tag and attach ribbon or string.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bull City Craft: Eraser Stamp Sketch

Design

Draw your design on paper with a #2/HB pencil. Then trace over image with a soft lead pencil, 4B or softer.

Bull City Craft: Eraser Stamp Transfer

Transfer

Turn paper over on top of eraser and rub lightly with your finger or bone folder to transfer image.

Bull City Craft: Cut Eraser Stamp

Cut Outline

Hold knife so that cut is angled away from image.

Bull City Craft: Cut Eraser Stamp

Cut Off Excess

Cut under area to be removed, being careful not to cut under design.

Bull City Craft: Cut Eraser Stamp Details

Cut Details

Cut away details in same manner, angling knife toward area to be removed. Lift excess out with knife.

Bull City Craft: Print Eraser Stamp

Print

Use an ink pad to print your design onto the gift tags.

Printable pdf: BCC Eraser Stamps Instructions

 

 

Paper Ornaments

Make these brightly colored paper ornaments to adorn your tree or window. They are quick and easy to create with paper, pencil, scissors, and glue.

Mi-Teintes Paper Ornaments

SIZE:
Onion Ornament: 3 1/2 x 4 1/4” h
Ogee Ornament: 3 1/2 x 5” h
Small Ornament: 1 3/4 x 2” h (not pictured)

MATERIALS:
Canson Mi-Teintes Colored Artist Paper, 19.5 x 25.5 inches.
(One sheet makes 27 pieces of the Onion or the Ogee. Shown in Champagne, Red Earth & Royal Blue)
Pencil
Scissors
Glue Stick
String or Ribbon
White Charcoal Pencil (optional)

NOTES:

First cut out the larger patterns; save the onion shaped center scraps, then use them to make the smaller patterns. Carefully cutting the center from the larger ornament will ensure a smooth edge for the outside of the smaller ornament.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mi-Teintes Paper Ornament

Fold

Mark longest edge of Mi-Teintes paper with a small pencil mark at 2 1/2 inch intervals.

Fold into an accordion at markings.

Cut out Paper ornament patterns.

Mi-Teintes Paper Ornament Trace

Lay straight edge of pattern along each folded edge and trace three times along edge.

Alternate patterns along each folded edge.

paper ornament 3

Cut

Cut out each pattern, cutting through one fold (two layers) at a time.

Use 4 to 12 pieces to assemble each ornament. Ornaments pictured have 10-11 pieces.

Use white charcoal pencil to draw on inside if desired.

paper ornament 4Glue

Keeping ornament pieces folded in half (with any drawing on inside) apply glue stick to one side.

paper ornament 5

Place second piece on top of glue, line up folded edges, press firmly.

paper ornament 6 Assemble

Repeat last two steps until desired number of pieces have been glued together.

Keep each new piece flush with the others along folded edge.

paper ornament 7

Join last piece to first piece.

Open ornament and lay flat with first and last (unjoined) pieces facing up.

Apply glue to one side. Fold one layer over the other, and press firmly to attach.

paper ornament 8 Finish

Allow to dry under a book to keep paper flat. Protect book with scrap paper.

When dry, open and refold ornament along each section to return to rounded shape.

Pass a length of string or ribbon through opening in center and tie to hang.

Printable pdf  instructions: BCC Paper Ornament Pattern

 

Making a Photo Backdrop

I was planning a Valentine Photo Shoot event at the store with Raleigh photographer Elizabeth Galecke, and I offered to make a photo backdrop. We agreed it was a great idea and I jumped on Pinterest to get some inspiration. I noticed right away that most of the backdrops were not painted, but instead embellished with balloons, banners, crepe paper, glitter, and other items that can just be hung on a wall or fence. Hmmm…well, I had promised painted, so I decided to just jump in.

OK, it’s not as easy as it seems.

DIY photo backdrop

We bought a large canvas drop cloth and spread it out in the garage on top of some old drop cloths. We had some leftover chalkboard paint from recently updating the chalkboard in our store. I also had some red and pink paint sample jars that I had gotten free with a magazine coupon. First I primed the whole thing with Low VOC Kilz– it used up the half can I had, and I didn’t even reach the edge of the canvas!

The next night I measured and marked the canvas. I decided to do a simple heart about the width of two people. I sketched the heart and painted it with a combination of the red and pink. I painted around it with the chalkboard paint. I figured if it looked boring, I could always add chalk drawings or text. I also made a felt and paper heart banner and some heart wands for props.

heart wands and banner

The third night I touched up some areas and cleaned up the edge of the heart. When it was finished, Elizabeth came over for a practice photo shoot, and the results are amazing!

Elizabeth Galecke Photography

Elizabeth Galecke Photography

 

Art Table Makeover

Over the holidays, Franklin and I had a little time to do some projects around the house. He had a great idea to up-fit Frances’ old rescued -from-the-curb, beat up, sad looking art table with a hand-me-down easel (thanks Kelly from LabourLove Gallery!) and some fresh paint.

First, he painted the table with some blue paint we had on hand.

painting the table

Then he disassembled the easel. He took the whiteboard side of the easel and the two rulers and attached them to the top of the table. Ta-da! Now Frances has a whiteboard tabletop with built in rulers! It looks a lot cuter, too.

up-cycled art table

 

Before You Make All Those Pinterest Craft Recipes, Read This!

I’ve put together a Pinterest board of all the homemade art supplies and kids’ creativity toys that I’ve come across. Frances and I have slowly been trying them with varying levels of success. Here are the recipes you should make, the ones you should tweak, and the ones to avoid!

1. Sidewalk Paint— Make it!

Bull City Craft Chalk Paint

Bull City Craft Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint at Camp

Painting with Chalk

So easy to make, and so fun to use. As you are painting it doesn’t look like much, but when it dries (and it dries quickly), it looks great. It’s also fun to combine with regular sidewalk chalk. Super simple ingredients (just cornstarch, water, and color). I used liquid watercolors to color it instead of food coloring, and I was a little worried it might stain the sidewalk, but it washed away completely when it rained.

2. Slime–Make it, but make it right.

Clear glue slime at Bull City Craft

Slime at Color Camp at Bull City Craft

Slime at Color Camp at Bull City Craft

Definitely worth making for the fun factor, but tricky and messy. I’ve tried a couple of recipes for this, and sometimes it has worked better than others. I’ve tried it with regular white school glue and with Elmer’s clear glue; I thought the latter worked much better. I haven’t yet tried the recipe that requires liquid starch because I haven’t been able to find it.

 

3. Bath Crayons–Don’t Make it!

Yikes! What a mess. Hard to mix, even more difficult to form into anything resembling a crayon, and nearly impossible to use. Maybe it was an operator issue? I say just buy yourself some nice Crayola bath crayons and call it a day.

Good o'l Crayola bath crayons-not homemade!

4. Lightbox-Make it!

Even I like playing with this one. I don’t remember where I originally saw it, but it was easy to put together in a moment of desperation and a trip to the garage for a plastic tub and Christmas lights. I added some transparent plastic colored lids and later some awesome small transparent colored discs we found at a teacher supply store (they’re meant for counting activities). We’ve had lots of fun sorting colors, counting, and just rearranging objects on the light table.

Light Box with Colors- Learn and Play!

5. Colored rice–Make it!

It sounds too simple, but kids really love this! I have a big bowl of it with seashells in it, and everyone wants to play with it. It just feels good. The only drawback is sweeping up frequent spills.

colored rice at Color Camp at Bull CIty Craft

I’ll post more reviews as I make them!

 

Paint with Water for Preschoolers

Recently we let Frances take home one of the Paint with Water Pads. She loved brushing the water on and watching the colors on the pages magically blend into paint.

When we ran out of pages, I realized we could make our own! I got some paper, a permanent marker, and some regular markers. Stamp markers would be great for this project if you have them.

I drew a picture with the permanent marker (Frances requested a pig). Then we filled in the picture with stripes and dots using the regular markers (or stamp markers). Then we were ready to paint our very own paint with water picture!