From Tips and advice

experimental lino print

11 things I’ve learnt from 4 years of printmaking

I’m a self-taught printmaker really. I had a go at linoprinting and screenprinting briefly at school and university, but just as a box ticking exercise really to pass particular modules. At school I really loved painting, and at uni I much preferred working on screen. So when I decided to explore printmaking properly, about four years after graduating, I had some idea of what was involved, but now had none of the facilities and tuition that I would have had years earlier. I’ve gradually bought bits, experimented, and tried to crave out a little bit of professional printmaking from a spare room. Here’s some of the lessons I’ve learnt over the years.

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favourite printmking books

My favourite printmaking books

Over the years I’ve bought or borrowed various printmaking books. Looking through some over the weekend for inspiration, I thought I’d share my particular favourites.

favourite printmking books

Print Workshop
Hand-printing techniques and truly original projects
Christine Schmidt

print-workshop bookprint-workshop print-workshop

I love this beautiful book, which does contain truly original projects from band merchandise to placemats. The book introduces various printmaking techniques including potato printing, photograms and stenciling, all used to create well designed and unique goodies! All the projects are super simple and most can be made at home with no specialist equipment (although it will look like you are a pro!).

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Printmaking
A complete guide to materials and processes
Beth Grabowski and Bill Fick

Printmaking guidePrintmaking guide Printmaking guide

The daddy of printmaking books, this in-depth guide covers everything you could possibly want to know about printmaking, with great examples and explanatory photographs throughout. Covers lots of printing processes including relief (my favourite!), digital processes, and lithography, as well as a huge array of practical tips, advice on materials and trouble shooting tips.

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Learning linocut
A comprehensive guide to the art of relief printing through linocut
Susan Yeates

learning-linocutlearning-linocut learning-linocut

A really good introductory guide to learning linocut. Easy step-by step how to guides with photos, ideas for projects and experiments as well as information on materials, framing, editioning and selling work. Although I’m now pretty much clued up on technique, it’s still good for inspiration due to to the number of linoprint examples featured, it’s also great for when you want to get back to basics and explore something new.

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Pulled
A catalog of screen printing
Mike Perry

screen printing bookscreen printing book screen printing book

Pure printmaking porn. Lots and lots of beautifully brilliant examples of screen printing. Whatever your style there’s bound to be something you love in here – nuff said!

All these books are currently in print and available online, better still see if your local book shop can order them for you! Of you have any printmaking book recommendations, old or new, I’d love to hear from you.

 

kim-signature

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knockout by kim osborne

Buy Knockout linoprints, illustrations and greetings cards online

Buy Knockout pillows, iPhone cases and prints through Society 6

How’s it hanging? Some fabulous framing links

For a while now I’ve been collating some great framing ideas over on my Pinterest boards. They all look pretty yummy, and are really good for providing some inspiration for how to frame and hang your photos and prints. These are some of my favourites:

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Quick tip: Four fun, funky frame ideas

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Source: Isabel Pires De Lima

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Source: The Full Moxie

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Source: Vtwonen

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Source: The Life Styled

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Source: Primative Decor

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Source: Urban Comfort

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Source: Shelterness

super-cool-painted-chairs

How to: revamp an old wooden chair

super-cool-painted-chairs

I have couple of old wooden chairs kicking about which I thought would look amazing if they were given a bit of TLC, so I decided to paint them in some new, fresh colours. Here’s how:

 

You will need:

  • Course sandpaper
  • Finer sandpaper
  • Cloth to rub the chairs down with
  • Old-based primer or undercoat
  • Paint in your chosen colour
  • Paintbrush
  • Old wooden chair

The old chairs were covered in varnish so a heavy duty session of sanding was required. I don’t have any fancy equipment so three hours of elbow grease was in order. Choose very course sandpaper to make the job as easy as possible, and get in all the grooves and cracks. Alternatively you can take furniture to get it stripped but it can cost quite a lot. I recommend against using paint stripper at home unless you have used it before – it’s a messy job using strong chemicals.

Chair before sanding

Chair before sanding

Rub down using a course sandpaper and lots of elbow gease!

Rub down using a course sandpaper and lots of elbow gease!

Once sanded, give it a quick wipe down with a wet cloth to get rid of any grit and dust and apply a coat of primer. This will help your paint ‘stick’ to the chair and hopefully prevent any peeling later on.

chair after sanding

…and after!

Adding a coat of primer

Adding a coat of primer

Once the primer has dried, give to chair another quick rub down with a finer sandpaper, just to even out and bumps of stroke marks in the paint, and then wipe down with a wet cloth again.

Sand down the primer

Sand down the primer

Once dry, the fun part begins! I chose a soft grey colour for one of the chairs and a bright blue for the other. The blue paint was from Habitat’s feature wall paint range which has lots of really gorgeous colours – I took a loooong time in the paint aisle I can tell you.

Painting the chair

Painting the chair

You will probably need two coats to get a nice solid finish. If you get any imperfections in the first coat, a quick rub down with the finer sandpaper and wipe with a wet cloth should do the trick.

Ta-da! The finished chairs.

Ta-da! The finished chairs.

Kim Osborne - Knockout

Handmade Makers Market’s ‘Getting to Know You Challenge’

Today I’m participating in Handmade Makers Market’s ‘Getting To Know You Challenge’. They love handmade and believe in shopping local and direct from the makers, crafters and designers themselves and so do I. Find out more about the Handmade Makers Challenge and answer the questions for yourself here.

 

First up, give us a quick introduction, who are you, what do you do?
My name’s Kim, I run a little company called Knockout and create linoprints, illustrations, cards and gifts.

 

Kim Osborne - Knockout

Me!

Give us one unusual or surprising fact about yourself, something we wouldn’t expect!
I can clap with one hand. Seriously.

What are the 5 words that best describe you?
Colourful, thoughtful, fun, enthusiastic, fidgety.

 
What do you make? Perhaps you are you a crafter or designer? Is it a hobby or a business? Perhaps you make something less tangible, like happiness or connections between people?
I make hand-cut and hand-pressed linoprints on my home made scissor jack press. At the moment I am concentrating of a range of landmark prints; Tower Bridge, St Paul’s, that sort of thing, and really enjoying getting better and better at my craft. I also print cards, have a range of guitar illustrations, badges and tote bags, and some extra special voucher gift sets.

London landmark linoprints

One of my London Landmark prints

Describe your normal day (if you have such a thing!)
I work part-time running my business, so if I’m not doing this I’m working at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, as a PR and Marketing officer. When I am working at home, my day is divided between working on the computer; creating designs, updating my blog and listings, getting stuck in to a bit of social media and promotion, and processing orders, that sort of this. My favourite time though is spent in the workroom, cutting lino, printing and creating new stuff and photographing what I’m up to!

 

Home-made printing press

My home-made printing press

Where are you happiest?
Traveling somewhere new, preferably in the sun.

 
What the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be generous, and enjoy what you have.

 
What talent are you most proud of and why?
I can make things look really good, which is nice! I’m also pretty good at staying calm under pressure and getting things done which comes in handy too.

 

What would you like to be better at and why?
I like to be better at singing (or any good at all really).

 
What would you like to have more of and why?
Patience; I love to get things finished and I’m constantly telling myself to slow down and enjoy.

 
If you could be given any gift what would it be?
I would really love a big, fully kitted-out printing studio please!

 
If you could give any gift to anyone, what would you give and to whom?
Picking gifts is hard at the best of times! I take ages to choose them and then worry about whether the person will like it or not. So I’m just going to say handmade cake for everyone. Everyone loves cake right?

 
What’s the next big thing you’re looking forward to in your life?
I’m looking forward to Christmas. I’ve got lots of new products and great craft fairs coming up. My hand-printed Christmas cards will be featured in this year’s Not on The High Street catalogue so there will be lots of challenges and opportunities ahead.

 
What’s the item your house that makes you smile the most, maybe it’s a piece of artwork or furniture or maybe a secret culinary ingredient, cd or dvd?
I’m thinking about what makes me smile as I walk round the house and all I can think of is my signed copy of Roger Moore’s autobiography: My Word is My Bond’. You can’t think of Roger Moore without smiling, especially when you remember queuing up for and hour and a half to meet him. It wasn’t so long ago and he still had that cheesy, suave quality about him.

Roger Moore book signing

See – makes you smile

Hanging frames above a bed

Home gallery: hanging frames

This is part one of a new mini-series focusing on displaying art, photos and keepsakes in your home. In this series I will be using examples from my home to inspire you.

This week I’m looking at hanging frames in interesting ways

Hanging frames above a bed

Frames don’t always need to line up at the top or bottom. Here I have aligned them centrally, and stuck to a strong colour scheme. The Eiffel Tower screen print is one of mine, and the can-can picture is the front cover of a songbook picked up at a local Oxfam bookshop.

Leaning frame

Frames don’t always need to be hung on the wall.I have had this poster kicking around for ages, it was free with a newspaper years ago and I have only just got round to framing it. It’s A1 in size and the frame is fairy substantial so I have just lent it against the wall – and it looks pretty cool.

Frames under a window

Frames don’t always need to be at eye-level. I got my three guitar screenprints framed and was stuck for somewhere to hang them, but decided that hanging them as a series under the window on the stairs worked well – they make an impact upstairs as well as down.

Pictures on a shelf

Frames can be part of the furniture. I often put frames and pictures on shelves with other bits and pieces. This makes it easy to re-arrange them or swap them around when you fancy a change.

Frames on a wall

Frames don’t need to be spaced out. Bunch them together to make an impact. Put them over a shelf or fireplace to make a feature.

Frames around a CD rack

Frames don’t need a clear bit of wall. Use other things you have (in this case a CD rack) to support your frames or give them something to compliment

I hope this has inspired you. Remember – have fun with your frames!

Homemade tomato soup

Make simple tomato soup

This tomato soup is super simple, healthy, and pretty cheap too! Serves 2.

  • One tin of chopped tomatoes
  • One small onion chopped finely
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • A teaspoon of sugar
  • A tablespoon of tomato puree
  • Drizzle of oil
  • Basil and croutons to garnish

Soften the onion in the oil, add the teaspoon of sugar and warm over a gentle heat until the onion caramelises. Crush the garlic and add to the pan along with the tomato puree; if the mixture is getting a bit dry add a splash of water. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to mix and the garlic to heat through.

Add the tin of tomatoes. Fill half the empty tin with water, give it a slosh round to pick up any tomato residue, then add that to the pan. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes or so and serve with the basil and croutons. You may like to blend the soup to make it smooth and add a dash of cream.

Hope you enjoy!

Homemade tomato soup

 

Using ribbon to hang frames

Make a feature wall of your framed prints

A simple idea for displaying your framed prints or pictures, really easy to do and quick and hassle-free to update or change.

I have a room in my house with a few coat hooks running along the top of the wall so I decided to utelise them and make a feature of some of my prints. Attaching ribbon to the frames – either by tying to the hanging hooks or stapling to the frame itself – allows you to hang the prints from the hook. Add different lengths to hang at different heights.

I used lots of different colours to go with the bright prints and frames and used some ric rak too for added interest, but for a more subtle look stick to the same colour frames and ribbon. You could also use thick string or garden twine.

Making a picture wall of framed prints

Using ric rak to hang frames

Using ribbon to hang frames

Hanging frames from coat hooks

Hanging frames from coat hooks

Hessain sack covered cork board

Hessian sack covered cork pin board

I recently re-covered my cork notice board as part of my effort to spruce up and de-clutter my workspace. An old hessian potato sack  – found at a car boot sale last year and hanging around ever since – was perfect for the job. Simply cut the sack, or any other thick material, to about 3 to 4cm larger than the cork notice board and use a staple gun to attach the material to the back of the notice board. Secure all the way around the edge with staples whilst keeping the fabric taut and minding your fingers! Once finished, hang up on the wall and pin lots of beautiful and inspirational stuff to it.

Here’s how mine looked:

Wrap the hessian sack around the cork board amd staple

Wrap the hesian sack around the cork board amd staple

Hessain sack covered cork board

Hessain sack covered cork board

Things pinned to hessain sack covered cork board

Useful bits on hessain sack covered cork board

Hessain sack covered cork board

Hessain sack covered cork board

Handprinted wrapping paper

Make pretty patterned wrapping paper from an A4 sheet of paper

Today I’m going to show you how to make plain sheets of white paper pretty and patterned.

Handprinted wrapping paper

To make the paper above I created a few little stamps.

To make your own stamps you will need:

  • Cutting mat and craft knife
  • Pencil
  • Some small pieces of soft cut lino
  • A lino cutting tool (optional)
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Caps from some bathroom products  approx 2-3cm in diameter (I used the cap from a bottle of hair spray – you could also use a small block of wood or something similar)

For the wrapping paper you will also need:

  • Some sheets of paper – plain white A4 or larger, roll of brown or white paper. In fact anything that is fairy thin and plain will do!
  • Some ink pads in various colours. The ones I have used are from Hobbycraft, they are fairly cheap and come in lots of colours.

Things you need to make your own stamps

First, draw around the bottle cap using the pencil onto the lino. Now draw your design within this circle, staying away from the edges. I drew a heart shape and a flower.

Cut the shapes out carefully using a craft knife. To give the flower petals I used a lino cutting tool to draw some extra lines.

Cutting the lino for the stamp

Next, glue gun the cut-out lino shapes to the flat surface of the cap.  Now you are ready to start printing!

Inking up the stamp

Push the stamp down into the ink pad, use your finger inside to press down to ensure an even inking. Then press firmly and evenly on the paper. Don’t worry about each print not being perfect, but work on producing a nice repeating pattern

Using the rubber on a pencil to create pattern

You can also use the rubber on the end of a pencil to add little dots of colour to the pattern.

Printing with the rubber on a pencil

Printing with the heart stamp

These are the finished sheets that I created – nice a fresh – perfect for Easter or spring birthdays and occasions:

Handprinted wrapping paper

There’s lots more you can do with this paper. It looks super pretty in a frame:

The wrapping paper looks pretty in a frame

Or how about making some little gift bags?

Simply wrap the paper around a square object, as if you were wrapping it up but leave one end open.  Make sure all the folds are sharp and slide the square object out. And there you go – you have a bag! If you fold the open edge over before you begin it will be a lot stronger, which means you can whole punch the top a few times and tie some ribbon handles to the bag:

Making gift bags

The paper is also perfect for scrapbooking, card making and all sorts of other creative things. Hold onto the stamps too which come in handy for lots of projects.