One of the hardest things about starting a new hobby is figuring out exactly what stuff you need to get going. We wanted to put together a quick series of posts looking at the essentials for different crafty pursuits. Up next: block printing
Block printing is a great, simple way to create custom stamps for stationery or printmaking projects.
First things first: if you're making a custom carved stamp, you're going to need something to carve. For beginners, we recommend an EZ Cut block (they go by many names). They come in any size you need and are soft, rubbery, and most importantly, very easy to carve. EZ carve blocks will degrade after many, many uses, but they're a great place to start. Speedball and Moo make high-quality, affordable blocks.
If you're looking for a carving block that will stand the test of time and you have some previous experience with a lino cutter, get yourself a linoleum block. It's a much harder carving surface, but it can be used essentially forever.
Lino cutting tools are generally sold as kits: a plastic handle with five or six blades. When the blades become dull from use, you can easily reorder a set of replacement blades while re-using your plastic handle and saving a few bucks.
Speedball makes the one with the ubiquitious pink handle, and we like its quality.
Speedball saves the day once again with their screenprinting inks, generally our favorite inks for block printing of all types. They come in just about any color under the sun, and an 8 ounce jar will last ages. A starter kit is also a good option if you want to test things out.
A brayer is used to roll your ink onto your plexi sheet or directly onto the surface of your carved stamp. They allow you to apply ink evently, and it's really hard to print without one. Our favorite brayer is the Speedball Deluxe 4-inch Soft Rubber Brayer.
A 5x7 plexi sheet is great to apply ink to before rolling the ink on your brayer. In a pinch, you can get away with cardboard, but plexi is great because it's reuseable. Not totally necessary though.
Paper or Cards to Print On
Last but not least, you'll need a paper surface to print on. Rives BFK is great, though expensive, printmaking paper, and blank cards with envelopes are easy to find at your local Paper Source, Michael's or online.
Here's everything compiled into a handy Amazon shopping list, though of course you may want to shop around for the best price!
* This post contains Amazon affiliate links; they help us pay the bills!