You probably know all about the carved-potato trick or, of course, your own thumb. Or maybe thereâ€™s a little girl in your life who presses her princess stamps all the way down your left arm. Such has been your understanding of making prints. But have you considered that odd button? A scrap of string? The berry basket in the recycling bin? These everyday objects -- and many, many more -- can be used to make graphic and beautiful block-printed fabrics and papers. The process is easy enough for a summer afternoon, and it requires very few supplies beyond the stuff you already have on hand.
What's it going to be? You can't always tell by looking at an object how it is going to print. Yes, some are pretty obvious, such as the dice. But others are complete surprises. Before printing on a sheet of fabric, play around a bit on paper: Practice patterns on paper, but if you plan to print on fabric, also test how the paint looks on a swatch.
These linen towels only look as though they were silk-screened; their designs were really made by manipulating the following household items.
1. Overlapping triangular toy blocks.
2. Triangular toy blocks.
3. The bottom of a mini tart tin, the rim of a drinking glass, and a button attached to a wooden block.
4. Rubber band wrapped around wooden block.
5. Bottoms of hexagonal and circular jars and buttons glued to wooden blocks.
6. Rope glued to a wooden plank.
7. Straw star.
8. Bottom of a plastic berry basket.
9. House numbers screwed to a scrap of wood.
10. Toy-animal block.
11. Potato masher.
12. Buttons glued to a scrap of wood.
13. Woven wooden-bead trivet.
14. Tart tin and button.
15. Bottle stopper.
If you want to print on textiles, experiment with a variety of fabric paints. Some brands are more transparent; some are heavier -- so each gives a different effect. Mix in colorless extender to make the paint semitransparent -- if you overlap colors, you can create a new shade.