Sunday 23 November 2014

Sneak peak - new linoprint

This week I have been working on an illustration of an armadillo. I love their bold shape and naturally graphic patterning and thought it would make a really neat linoprint.

I will have a small run of the finished posters in the Make Play Do shop soon, but here's a quick peak of what I've been working on so far...

"Oh hi Waterstones, nice cards!"

So excited to see my Make Play Do cards in Waterstones yesterday!

Saturday 22 November 2014

2 colour linoprints in the Make Play Do shop now!

I have been busy printing my festive pets illustrations and have some 6'' x 8'' original 2 colour linoprints in the shop now. They come including a mount so are ready to frame, and also come with free postage. Would make a lovely unique gift this Christmas!

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Make your own Boj toy

For anyone living in a toddler-free house, Boj is a small Aussie creature from a new tv show on Cbeebies. Its a really good cartoon and is a favourite in our house! You can't yet buy a Boj toy in the shops so I figured I'd make her one - and was happily surprised to find a downloadable pattern and tutorial on the official Boj website. I therefore won't detail all the steps as its not my own pattern, but you can download the pattern and the instructions here and have a go yourselves: Boj Sewing Pattern

Granted it took me about 5 hours to complete so it wasn't quite as quick and easy as they suggested - but seeing my little one find Boj sitting on the sofa this morning was priceless. And at least if Boj gets lost I can rustle up another one overnight! It was great to get my puppet making head back on. Watch this space for some of my own design Make Play Do toy patterns and tutorials to come soon.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Vintage Rotex label maker

As a stationery addict I'm very chuffed with this latest charity shop find - £2 for this vintage Rotex label maker. It came in bits but I figured out how to put it back together and to my joy it worked! It came boxed with this awesome bright orange tape that looks very cool next to the powder blue. I have tried to find out how old it is, but can't find any other identical versions online... It has an engraving on the side that says 'Tech Office Area 2 FFD Field', I'd love to know where it came from. Any ideas get in touch...

I intend to give this a new lease of life, must get thinking of a creative use for it!

Wednesday 12 November 2014

DIY Draught Excluder

Well the weather's officially turned, and I really needed a draught excluder for my front door. I wanted it to match my front room colour scheme, so I set about making one. Here's how I did it:

MATERIALS: Fabric in your chosen colours, a pair of old tights (just 1 leg needed!), lots of uncooked rice/lentils

TOOLS: Sewing machine/needle & threads

Start by cutting fabric to size: 2 x 960mm by 170mm, plus small pieces for ends. (I cut an extra layer of white cotton as a backing to my geometric print as it was not opaque.) Pin the fabric outer sides facing, and stitch with a 10mm seam allowance down the lengths on both sides.

To cut the end circles at the correct size you need to use some maths. Turn the tube inside out and double check the width of the fabric (should be 150mm if you have allowed a neat 10mm seam allowance each side) Double this to give the circumference. Divide the circumference by pi (3.14) to give the diameter (=95.5mm) then add 20mm for 2 seam allowances on the ends. Using a compass mark out the size to cut to give the correct diameter, and then pencil over again to give a clear line to cut to with scissors.

Turn the tube inside out again and hand stitch one circle with a running stitch, leaving the 10mm seam. This bit is a bit fiddly and you have to keep realigning the circle to keep the circle even. There's probably an effective way of doing this on the machine, but I prefer to have more control and do it manually. Turn tube the right way out again. Then tie a knot in the end of a leg of an old pair of tights, and get filling enthusiastically with dried rice/beans/lentils, and shimmy the filled tights into your tube until its super sturdy.

Then fold the ends of the tube down inside until they are the same height as the filled tights (knot the other end too!) and hand stitch the final circle on as before. Halfway round you have to adopt a hemming stitch to finish off. I then added some black string trim to cover the untidy stitching and give it a clean finish. Tada!

Thursday 6 November 2014

Christmas Cards now on sale in the Make Play Do Store

Christmas cards are now available to buy from my Make Play Do shop! (see the link to the left) There are two designs, both reproduced from original linocuts designed and printed this week.

Reproduced onto a quality Conqueror 300gsm wove board, I've paired them with lovely poppy red envelopes. Each card has been individually scored by me on my lovely new creasing machine, and lovingly folded and cellophane packed in sets of 5.


These would be great for dog-lovers, cat-lovers, print-lovers and general Christmas-lovers. Check them out now!

Wednesday 5 November 2014

DIY Cork Stamps

Sticking with the printmaking theme this week, here's a little stamp making project I did last night using some old corks that I had saved. I'll admit carving the cork is a bit fiddly as they are so little and cork can be a bit brittle at times, BUT its almost completely free! Plus if you are not so confident with intricate cutting, some bold shapes will work just as well if not better. These stamps are great for making your own fabrics, wrapping paper, cards etc, or just letting your toddler have a good play around with them. At the moment my daughter's really into her numbers so I thought that was a good theme for trying these stamps out.

MATERIALS: Old corks & ink stamp (or paint if you don't have any ink pads hanging around)

TOOLS: Scalpel/craft knife, marker pen

First I drew out the designs on the flat end of the cork with a Sharpie, remembering to draw the image in the reverse of what I wanted to print. I then carefully traced the outlines of the designs with a scalpel. I then sliced from the side of the cork down to the design, and carefully began removing bits of the cork that I didnt want to print.

That's basically it - ink them up with your preferred ink/paint and stamp away. Loads of creative possibilities for these stamps!

Monday 3 November 2014

Sausage Dog Linoprint (part 2)

 This week I have been cutting some lino prints that I'll make into Christmas cards, coming very soon...
Linocut is one of my favourite printmaking methods and is relatively inexpensive. I really enjoy the process of carving away to reveal the image, and its a very flexible medium that allows experimentation within your own home without too much mess. Here's what I did:

Lino/rubber block, printing ink, paper

TOOLS: Pencil, scalpel, cutting tool and blades, print roller

 I actually tried a new type of rubber block which I found on Amazon for £6 per A6 block, and I found it a lot softer than the usual lino. It has a coloured layer through the middle which helps to let you know how deep you are carving and just generally makes the process more clear.

After some lengthy drawing sessions to establish the designs, I transferred the image in graphite onto the block, and used a scalpel to trace the outlines. I find this allows for a neater cut when you come in with the cutting tool. I then carved out the rest of the image, leaving only the parts that I wanted to print. (Remember the final image will be the reverse of what you cut)
TIP: I left the corners of the block although I won't ink them, so they wont print. I find it helps stabilise the block and give the paper something to rest on.

As a change from my usual printing ink I used an ink pad to ink up the finished block, and then laid the paper over the top. I used the roller to evenly press onto the design and simply peeled off the paper to reveal the finished piece. For a longer print run I would use proper printing ink, but I found the ink pad worked really well to test the design is working, with no roller and palette to clean. An alcohol free baby wipe works wonders for cleaning the stamp after use, so easy and cheap.

I have another design I'm working on today, and hope to get some Christmas cards in my shop in the next few days - watch this space!