Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Preparing for my LIVE TV debut!

When you tape a show for HGTV, you go through six hours of filming to get 15 minutes of on-screen love. Not so for live TV! I will learn more about how that works TOMORROW when I will appear on the set of AM Northwest, a popular local morning news show on KATU in Portland (channel 2! 9 am!).

From time to time, teachers from the DIY Lounge are invited onto the show to demonstrate crafts and promote their classes (my friend Linda Womack recently demonstrated her beeswax collage).

I am teaching a kids art class on Saturday mornings starting this weekend, so when I was invited on the show, I decided to come up with a project that kids can do. I rounded up my daughter and one of her friends (they are 8th graders), and the three of us will be in the spotlight for five whole minutes tomorrow morning, making some fun Valentine's Day cards using simple printmaking techniques.

Now, as you probably know, I am totally NOT a printmaker and I have never even done this before, but I did help to modify the 4th grade Pop Art lesson at Duniway School last year, when we switched it to a printmaking class. I also helped out a couple of weeks ago in Julius's science class at Da Vinci - the kids were making animal prints and it was so easy and fun I figured I could do it too. But please bear in mind that this is designed to be a project for young people and I am not claiming to be a big expert on printmaking!

If you happen to watch the show, let me know! I will hopefully be able to post a link to the show some time after it airs.

Here's the project if you'd like to try it:

The materials you'll need:

I am using Speedball brand "Speedy Kut." It comes in small pieces for about $3 each. You can actually use both sides so it's like getting two for the price of one. You'll also need some water soluble block printing ink (I am using red and magenta), linoleum cutters, brayers to roll the ink, something to roll the ink out on (I am using some pieces of Plexiglass), and some cardstock to print on. I scored mine first to make it easy to fold.

Start carving your design into the Speedy-Kut using a linoleum cutting tool. I started out by making a heart and then somehow or other it took on the face of a cat. Oh, well. I was also planning on doing some sort of heart-based mandala design, but instead it came out rather abstract and strange.

If you want to add any words, you have to make sure to write them backward, as your print will be a mirror image of your design.

Squirt some ink out onto your Plexiglass tray (you could even do it directly on a table top as it washes up with water).

Roll it out. You will hear a nice squishing sound. Your purpose is to get your brayer coated with the ink.

Now roll your ink-coated brayer over your carved block. Coat it completely.

Place your cardstock over your inked block and press down on it by rolling it with another brayer. Make sure you rub it down all the way to the edges.

Pull the print!

You can keep inking and printing until you make all 24 Valentines that your kid needs to take to school on February 14!

You can also blot the ink or let it dry on the block and then recoat it with a different color for your next run! And, you can mix colors or layer them in weird ways. You could also embellish your cards by drawing on them with markers ( a black line might look nice) or adding glitter or whatnot. Add matching envelopes and you're set to go!

The finished size of my card when folded is 4.25" x 5.5" so you can get two cards out of a regular size 8.5" x 11" piece of cardstock cut in half to 8.5" x 5.5" and scored at 4.25". Try to use recycled or reclaimed paper if you can - if you are in Portland check out SCRAP for amazing deals on salvaged paper. The paper I used for this project was all "end cuts" that were donated to Trillium Artisans by a print shop.

There is also a great way to do this project for younger kids. You just give them blocks of styrofoam and they can impress their design with a pencil. Styrofoam is really bad for the environment so only do this if you have some old styrofoam picnic plates sitting in a cupboard - please don't buy it new!


Mimi said...

it makes me want to do my own V-day cards!!!

Leanne Graeff said...

Great tutorial - I can't believe I didn't think of it - I have all of the stuff - just looking at me - and two school kids with ton's of v-day needs.

Thanks so much!!