This year I’m all about Christmas. A few days after Halloween I thought Ewan should write to Santa. Steve luckily is more contained about the whole thing but as soon as the 1st of December comes it’s open season!!
Not at all put off by the calendar I decided to get cracking on with some Christmas crafts. For some reason I decided to tackle making 36 Christmas cards. Often when I see lovely DIY things on Pinterest, I think, “yeah it’s lovely but would you really be bothered!”
In truth if you’re looking at these and thinking, “Could I really be bothered?”
I’d say “It’s probably best to stay clear unless:
a) You have a crafting itch that really really needs a scratch
b) You have time on your hands
and c ) You really really like the people you’ll be sending them to.
If you tick all three boxes then please read on my friend!
I started with my beloved Christmas biscuit tins for inspiration/ stealing their design.
I love the trees in the boxes on the left but after a few failed attempts at making a tree lino cut I gave up. I have one dodgy scraping tool and trying to get the detail needed on the branches proved too much for my little wonky tool. In lieu of not spending more money on another new tool I went for the bolder pattern of the stag/ reindeer instead.
I traced it from the tin first and then traced it on to the lino using pen which was easier to see on the lino than the pencil.
I then started to cut away some of the lino with a scissors and used my wobbly scrapper tool to dig out the rest.
I wasn’t sure how much or little I wanted to cut away from the body of the deer to create shadowing so I did a few test prints. I carefully cut out some more. When I wasn’t sure I drew on the parts I was considering cutting away to see what they might look like and then decided for or against cutting that part away. I ended up cutting very little away which I was glad about because once it’s gone there’s no sticking it back! This is how the lino looked before printing.
Next I rolled my lino paint until it made a satisfying tacky noise. My roller also caused me problems by not rolling. So I invested in a new one. It turns out any lino printing tools with a red handle end up breaking. Either they are poor quality or I’m a particularly vicious lino printer!
I then pressed the inked lino onto blank cards that I picked up at my local craft shop and there you have it.
I wiped the lino clean with baby wipes and cotton buds, for the little knooks and crannies, between each print. As I went on I didn’t do this every time and found I could get two, or at a push three, prints before I needed to clean the lino. I just rolled the lino paint over the lino ,dabbed away any excess and printed again.
After 16 reindeers I decided another patter might be nice so I tried again with the trees before bowing out and going for a dala horse instead. I used the horse I have to trace the shape. I cut away the pattern on the horse free hand and it looked pretty odd to start with. I kept edging away until it looked somewhat okay. Then I reminded my self never ever to try cutting away lino freehand again! Tracing is my friend.
Many hours later my Christmas cards are complete.
Now I just have to think of one million other ways to use the lino cut outs for other projects. Maybe a Happy Birthday Dalla horse or a Congratulations on your New Home reindeer card. This might need more thought!
For the moment I’m off for some mulled punch and butter biscuits. If you’re keen you can see my other experiments with printing here , here and here And if you happen to have time on your hands you can check out all my crafting attempts here.