Designer studio Letterproeftuin - a "traveling open-source...neo-craft workshop that emphasizes the creative process and exhibits its results" has created "The Smallest Printing Company," a tiny but fully functioning installation that produces tiny posters and books.
If you've been around the design and craft blogosphere in the last five years, you've probably seen Bryan Nash Gill's "Woodcut" series, where the artist makes large-scale relief prints from crosscut sections of actual tree trunks and limbs.
Gill is about to release his first book of prints,
Today's lesson, class, is how to make the vintage-y, screen print-style banner at the top of this post. I created the banner in Adobe Illustrator and then brought it over to Photoshop to add some texture. This post, however, will just focus on what I did in Illustrator. If you're interested in learning how to add textures to your vector graphics, check out this post I wrote a while back.
The t-shirt. It's soft, it's comfortable, conveys your personality, and if you play your cards right, can be worn at least twice before it needs to go through the washing machine.
I'd even go as far as to say that in a hundred years, in 2112 (beware the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx!), folks everywhere will still be wearing the basic cotton, screenprinted t-shirt. I welcome your guesses as to the imagery in the comments below.
It can be tough to find attractive, masculine-friendly pattern fabric at your local craft store. The solids are usually safe, but save for a tiny check or two, most of the stores are a sea of shiny lamé, pastel animal prints, or, worse, the supposedly masculine-y flamed fleece or sports team prints.
Or, perhaps you simply can't find fabric that matches a room or space...anyone who's ever looked can attest: it can be tough.
Last week, my friend Kelly shared these awesome wooden pennants on her site, Design Crush. I loved the way they evoked such a classic shape, but avoided the cheap felt look, and opted for woodgrain.
The designs there weren't really my style, so I decided to have a go at making my own.
You should, too! Here's how.
Letterpress is certainly one of printmaking's most beautiful techniques: the textures of the embossed letters, the way the ink interacts with the fibers of the paper.
But, it's also one of the least easy printmaking processes to get into. Whereas stencils, stamps, and even screenprinting can be approached with supplies from the art store, letterpress requires, well, a giant, heavy press, cases of type, and fancy metal plates concocted for each specific project.
In short: one does not dabble in letterpress.
So, what's left to do, especially if you design intends to end up online? Recreate the effect in Photoshop.
I have a three year old nephew, and I think he's totally awesome. Not in the "all little kids are adorable way," but in the "this kid has got crazy personality way. He knows that he's funny, and is very smart about using his presence, face, and words to be entertaining and smart.
So, I wanted to get him something special that he could continue to use once all the dumptrucks and Buzz Lightyear Jr. action figures wore out. His favorite thing to do when he comes over is to play around with all my musical instruments and noisemakers. So, I headed to the toy store, and saw this mini-drum set on clearance, I knew I had to get it.
Of course, I couldn't just wrap up the box and hand it to him - my brother-in-law would never have been able to put it together and tune it. (He's lovingly known for his lack of rhythm. He's talented in lots of other ways.)
So, I put in together in my living room, tuned it up, and then the wheels started turning. (Okay, and let's be honest. I also couldn't stop playing it for a couple of days). He loves the Beatles, and his geek dad has got him watching Star Wars, and I certainly can't ever leave stuff alone. So, I knew I has to customize the kit just for him.
As I'm sure you've noted my lots of my original projects on ManMade, I'm a fan of projects with clean lines, but that were still made by hand. So, I'm big on printmaking, as it allows for a well-organized, consistent look on a piece that's still handmade.
And, of course, we're huge fans of craft projects that are handmade from start to finish, so the ability to print your own fabric, and then create an awesome project from it. Be still my crafty heart... (I, of course, never actually say things like that, but I'm trying some new stuff out. Whatcha think?)
I'm still keeping up with my handmade only Christmas gifts this year, which, if you ask me, means I also gotta create my own wrapping paper. I added a typographic punch to brown craft paper, and made a super fast hand drawn snowflake paper, but decided I needed a little color under my tree. Not wanting to spend a ton of time, I whipped up several sheets of mod hand-printed paper in under an hour.
Here's how to do it:
The film documents Early's process of printing by hand: the cutting of film, burning screens, mixing custom ink colors from scratch, and printing each color by hand.
Click through to watch it.
I recently spied the new book DIY Art at Home at my local library, and immediately added to my pile. It features 28 projects, all of which can be translated to pretty large scale wall art on the cheap.
Women's Day recently featured a full project from the book - a geometric triangle pyramid-y piece created with potato printing. The stamp is inked up every few rounds, so you get different levels of opacity as you continue to print. This is a pretty unique effect for such limited tools and technique.
Here at ManMade, we're always on the lookout for craft and home décor projects that’ll work from a masculine perspective, but to be honest, the stuff that gets us the MOST excited are gender-neutral projects – you know, those that can be customized to suit any taste, and are accessible to anyone.
So, with that in mind, here’s an easy way to whip up a hand-printed mouse pad that avoids all the effort and special equipment of silkscreening, thus fitting another of my favorite crafting categories – quick and easy. If you’re not in need of a mouse pad, no worries – this technique can be translated to all sorts of media, empowering you to put anything you can write, draw, or type onto any surface you please.