Sharing Works

October 4, 2012

Send a message that is sure to get a stamp of approval! Begin with blank greeting cards and create multiple images using your favourite media and techniques – hand-pulled prints, creative photography, one-off watercolour creations – and greet the world with your art in folded form.

Screen Printing

Materials: Speedball Screen Printing Kit, paper, Mask-Ease, Chartpak Blender Pen, X-Acto Precision Knife, and packing tape

A stencil attached to a screen is the most basic form of screen printing. If this is your first time, choose a simple image which will use only one or two colours in the printing process before experimenting with more complicated imagery and additional colours.

To create your stencil, begin with a simple line drawing on paper and then cut out your image. Remember that the parts of the paper you cut away are the areas that the ink will pass through the screen and onto the paper. The parts of the stencil which are left will block the ink and those areas will maintain the colour beneath. When cutting your stencil keep in mind that clean lines will produce a sharp image. We suggest using a quality sharp blade such as a #1 X-Acto knife to make your cutting easier. Move the stencil material under the knife, as you cut, to make clean lines easier to achieve.

You can also laser copy your design and transfer it to a sheet of stencil paper or adhesive masking film such as Mask-Ease. For this method, place the photocopy face down onto the yellow side of the Mask-Ease, saturate the design area with a Chartpak Blender Pen, and burnish it with a bone folder to ensure a clear image transfer. Your design will be transferred to an adhesive masking film. After you have prepared your artwork, you can cut out the areas you want the ink to pass through and adhere the mask to your screen.

To create the pie print (pictured) we made three stencils: two from paper and one from Mask-Ease. The pie crust and filling were created with paper stencils. The crust was printed first followed by the filling. The final part was the black outline of the pie shape; made from Mask-Ease. Mask-Ease is a common two part vinyl and adhesive stencil material used for screen printing. We transferred our photocopied image onto the Mask-Ease using a Chartpak Blender Pen. We cut our stencil from the sheet of vinyl and peeled it off, applying the adhesive side of the vinyl with even pressure to the outside of our screen. When using stencil material, be sure to read through the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

Once your stencil is completed you’re ready to begin screen printing! Finish the process with our how-to video: opusartsupplies.com/IntroToScreenPrinting

Watercolour

Materials: Strathmore Watercolor Cards, Nicholson’s Peerless Transparent Water Colours, and yarn

If you’re looking to make one of a kind cards, Strathmore Watercolor Cards are a great choice. These 40 lb cold press watercolour paper cards allow you to paint directly on them with watercolours, inks, acrylic, or gouache.

Taking a printmaking approach with watercolour, we chose to use a non-traditional tool to apply our design – cotton yarn. To achieve the pictured effect, Nicholson’s Peerless Transparent Water Colours were first mixed with water at a 4:1w ratio. Strands of cotton yarn were saturated with the mixture and laid over the card to achieve a graphic pattern. Other strands were pulled across the paper’s surface to create a wash that blended with the colours below. We were careful to just dip the middle of the yarn strands in watercolour so we had dry ends to hold on to.

Try it yourself! These transparent watercolours are ideal for creating your own unique colour mixes. For a variety of thicknesses and textures, try a combination of strings, threads, and yarns, laying them on your paper in assorted shapes and patterns, overlapping colours to see what emerges.

Photography

Materials: Strathmore Inkjet and Photoframe Cards, an inkjet printer, and a print-ready file

Photography is a great way to create multiple cards with a personal touch. You can simply run inkjet cards (such as Strathmore Inkjet Cards) through your home printer and print directly onto the card itself, front and back.

Another simple but effective method to create multiple cards with ease is to print out your images on smaller paper sizes (such as Vita 5″ × 7″ matte photo paper) and insert behind the Strathmore photo frame cards. Instantly you’ve create a miniature matted artwork, perfect for selling at holiday markets. We recommend a matte finish as this will result in less fingerprints on your photo which will inevitably end up there with people picking up and looking at your creative card.

Whether your cards are for personal or professional use, it’s always a good idea to include contact details and your website address on the back. You may be discovered through little reprints of your work on cards. Apart from being a thoughtful sentiment, cards can be a great way to make money with photography and also work as a promotional tool if you sell your work online! Slip them into Crystal Clear Bags for a professional look.