Making your own handprinted giftwrap is fun to do and what better way to dress a gift for someone special!
First you’ll need a design. In the Easy Repeat Block Printing video workshop archive I show you how simple it is to draw your own seamlessly repeating print design. You can purchase that archive for just £3, but if you don’t fancy drawing your own design you can download mine for free here.
The printout of my design (or your own)
Pencil and pen
Easy-cut print block
Newspaper (to cover your work area)
Paper to print on – tissue paper and brown parcel paper both work really well.
When you’re ready with a design, drawn on paper, or if you’re using mine, printed out at the right size, (mine is 15cm square), it’s time to transfer it to your print block. You can use lino, but I prefer an easy-cut alternative which as the name suggests, is much easier to carve. My best tip is not to buy a dark coloured easy-cut block (like mine!), a pale one is much easier to transfer the design to! Scribble on the back of you paper design with a pencil, then place the paper right side up on the print block and draw over the lines firmly with a ballpoint pen. This should transfer a faint line onto the block which will be enough of a guide for carving. If you have got a dark coloured block like mine, and the graphite won’t show, instead transfer using chalk on the reverse. There’s no need to transfer every detail. Just mark the main lines and shapes and you can freehand the rest as you carve.
Carefully carve the block using a lino cutter. Work always with the blade pushing away from you, turning the work for safety. You don’t need to carve deeply. Carve the main lines in first and then add as much detail as you want.
When the block is carved it’s time to print. I’m using acrylic paint to print with, but printing ink is also going to work well. Squirt some paint or ink onto a flat tray palette. Roll with a brayer to distribute and then roll a thin, even layer onto the print block. Don’t be tempted to use too much paint, it’ll just splurge when you print.
Flip the print block onto your paper and use a clean brayer to press on the back. Print right off the edge of the paper for that seamless effect. Tip – You’ll notice I’ve marked the top of my print block, this just helps to avoid getting the block the wrong way up as you work!
Peel up the block to reveal your first print. You’ll notice I’ve put some scrap paper underneath my work to catch the overprint around the edges.
Reapply some paint to the print block, carefully position next to your first print and repeat the process. Keep going until you’ve covered your paper!
Don’t worry if some prints are fainter than others, or if your joins don’t quite match, it’s all part of the handprinted charm and won’t detract at all from the overall effect of your giftwrap.
Now you’ve taken the time to carve a block, why not use it to print some matching gift tags? Parcel tags work perfectly for this and you should find them at your local stationer or online. Line them up and print several at once.
Or if you prefer, ‘fussy’ print a single tag at a time to isolate a specific area of your design.
If you’re working with this option, place some scrap paper over the print block and roll with your clean roller.
I hope you enjoy giving this technique a try. Here’s to having the best dressed gifts this season!
Bye for now – Laura x