Tagged make

aztec inspired reduction linoprint

Make: a reduction linoprint

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good reduction linoprint! In an effort to continue experimenting and trying new things I thought I’d try a little reduction print today, I was inspired by Aztec patterns, having just bought a brilliant Aztec inspired cardigan in the sales.

I took lots of pics as I went along, so thought I would share the process with you here. Right, lets get started…

You will need

  • Images/sketches etc for inspiration
  • Lino  – cut the the size you would like your print
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • Lino cutting tools
  • Lino printing inks, roller, and something to roll out your ink, a plastic tray for example
  • Smooth paper to print on
  • Cardboard cut to the same size as the paper you are printing on
  • Masking tape
  • A brayer or spoon

reduction lino print - how to

First draw out your pattern on to the lino. I wanted to make an Aztec inspired print so I did a bit of online image research first for some ideas. I kept the pattern simple but with enough going on the be interesting. Try choosing a theme and picking out a few repetitive elements to get you started.

reduction lino print - how to

I like to go over my pattern with a permanent marker so that I can continue to see my pattern throughout the process, so you can do this once you have finalised your design.

Now to begin cutting. The idea with a reduction linoprint is that we use the same lino block for all three colours we are using. This means we need to cut away a little bit more of the lino each time we want to print a new colour. It’s best to start with the lightest colour, I’ve chosen a metallic bronze ink, so cut away on the lino the areas on the print you want to remain white (the colour of the paper). As you can see from the above photograph I have only cut a way a few areas, meaning there will only be a little bit of white on the finished print.

registering a lino print

Once you’re happy with the lino, place it in the centre of the piece of cardboard and use the masking tape to mark where the lino is. You’ll use these guides to line the lino up to each time you make a print.

Roll out your chosen ink colour on your tray and then ink up your lino. Making sure the lino is registered against the masking tape guides, line up the paper to the edge of the cardboard and lay gently over the lino. Press the paper down and place in your printing press if you have one, or use a brayer or the back of a spoon to apply pressure to the paper.

meking a reduction linoprint

Lift off the paper and lay the print out to dry. Print as many as you like – I created 5 prints. As you can see, the permanent marker left a slight pattern on the print but I don’t think this matters as it will get printed over eventually, plus I think it looks quite good – you could stop right here if you fancied!

Second colour linoprint

Once you have cleaned the lino thoroughly, cut away some more of the design. The areas you cut away now will remain bronze (or whichever colour you used first). As you can see I have cut away a bit more of the design, the permanent marker is still visible so I can use that as a guide.

reduction linoprint

Print your second colour, being careful to line up your lino and paper in the same way as before. Leave the print to dry – looking good huh?

cutting lino for print

Now we come the the last colour. Use your darkest colour for this layer. I’m cutting all the remaining areas away so I am just left with the permanent marker lines visible. I’m going to print this layer in black using the same registration method as before.

printing a linoprint

aztec inspired reduction linoprint

And here is the final print after 3 colours were printed. You can see clearly how the different colours have built up and why it’s important to start with the lightest colour and work up to the darkest.  These are great fun to do, and if you use water based ink they don’t take long to dry which means you can create lots of wonderful images in just a few hours. Go on – have a go!

aztec inspired reduction linoprint

aztec inspired reduction linoprint

Cup cake wrapper balls

Make: paper decorations using cup cake wrappers

cup cake wrapper decoration

I found instructions for these decorations on the internet and decided to have a go myself. They are made from cup cake wrappers and brilliant for Christmas decorations, or for dressing up a party. In fact there are lots of great things you can make with cup cake wrappers, check out this Pinterest board for some great examples.

You will need:

  • Cup cake wrappers. I got some cheap, colourful ones from The Co-op
  • Polystyrene ball
  • Glue gun
  • String or ribbon if you want to hang them

Make cup cake wrapper decorations

The aim is to cover the whole of the polystyrene ball with the cup cake wrappers. Do this by scrunching them slightly and gluing them all over. Be careful with your fingers as the glue is mega hot and the cup cake wrappers are very thin!

Make cup cake wrapper decorations

make cup cake wrapper decorations

Once you have covered the surface completely you can attach you ribbon or string if you are planning on hanging it. Simply cut to length then secure in a gap between wrappers with glue.

Cup cake wrapper balls

Paper doilie bowls

Make: paper doilie bowls

Really quick and easy, these delicate little bowls make great decorative items.

Paper doilie bowls

You will need

  • Paper doilies
  • A bowl
  • Cling film
  • PVA glue
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Bowl to mix glue and water in
  • Newspaper or scrap paper

I’ve used both plain and decorated doilies. The coloured ones were left over from stencilling some tote bags – just too pretty to throw away!

First cover your bowl with cling film – this helps prevent the doilie ending up glued to it. Smooth it out and place the bowl lip down onto some newspaper with the cling film tucked inside (something I was about to do in the picture below!)

Paper doilie make

Dilute some PVA glue with water in a separate bowl, and apply liberally to the doilie (with the paint brush – or your fingers!) before placing it over the cling film.

Paper doilie make

I added just one layer of doilies to my bowls but you can build up the layers to make the finished object stronger.

Paper doilie bowl

Smooth the doilies down with the brush, being careful not to rip them. This may mean you need to put some creases in to make it fit round the curve of the bowl.

Then leave to dry. Mine did so overnight, but if you’ve added more layers it will take a little longer.

When dry carefully lift off the doilie, using the cling film to help.

Paper doilie bowls

Paper doilie bowls

Paper doilie bowls

They look so pretty! They are very delicate so can’t hold too much in them but look great as a decorative object on a shelf. If you covered a balloon with the doilies and made a round shape they would look great as hanging decorations. Hmm…maybe something to make at the weekend?!


Stencilled embroidery hoops

Make: stencilled embroidery hoop artwork

A quick and easy way to make some great looking artwork for your home.

Embroidery hoop art

You will need

  • Embroidery hoops
  • Fabric – thick cotton canvas
  • Dylon fabric paint
  • Acetate
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Stiff paint brush
  • Computer and printer (or some letter stencils)
  • Pinking shears
  • Staple gun

Firstly measure you embroidery hoop and decide what letter you would like on it. I used some z’s to put by my bed, but you could spell out a word or use your name or initials. Using a computer with a text layout programme (InDesign, Illustrator, Word etc) find a nice typeface and set your letter to the correct size. You can find some great fonts that are free (some just for personal use) on Da Font.

Stencilled embroidery hoops

Print your letter(s) out using a home printer and place your acetate over the top of the sheet of paper so you can cut out the letter with the craft knife. Once your stencil is ready, place it over the fabric and paint through. Try not to over-load the brush as it may bleed over the edges.

Make sure the piece of fabric you are stencilling is large enough to fit in the embroidery hoop and that your letter will be central in the hoop.

Stencilled embroidery hoops

Stencilled embroidery hoops

Stencilled embroidery hoops

Once the fabric is dry, you will need to iron it to set it. Refer to the manufacturers instructions on how to do this, but it generally requires ironing the stencilled area for 2 to 3 minutes.

Now you can place the fabric in the hoop and tighten it up.

Stencilled embroidery hoops

To tidy the excess fabric at the back, trim using pinking shears and then staple to the frame using a staple gun.

Hammer a nail into the wall and hang from the top of the hoop where you tighten it up. Hang them singularly, in a line or group for various effects.

Stencilled embroidery hoops

Stencilled embroidery hoops



Make a super simple photo display board

Make: a photo display board

Really simple and attractive way of displaying photos and other little bits and pieces you want to show off (without having to ruin them with pins!). I put this together after getting some of my holiday snaps printed and not knowing what to do with them!

Make a super simple photo display board

You will need

  • A pin board – I picked up some small cheap ones for 99p
  • Some material – I used some old pajama bottoms
  • Staple gun
  • Pins
  • String or ribbon
  • Some beautiful photos

Simply cut the material to cover the pin board and use the staple gun to secure it to the back. Make sure the material is pulled tightly as you go and make the corners tidy.

Either put your pins all the way around the edge, sticking them into the cork board, and wind string between them or staple strips of ribbon tightly across the board to enable you to slot your favourite photos, sketches, memos, gig tickets – what ever you fancy – in the gaps.

Make photo boards

Add pins to the photo board

Or staple strips of ribbon

Finsihed photo boards

Photo display board with string

Photo display board with ribbon

Bakable clay wine charm

Make name tags from oven bakeable clay

These cute little name tags are easy-peasy to make and can be used in a whole host of ways from wine glass charms to table place names. Why not try them wrapped around a napkin as part of a wedding table setting or as personalised gift tags for your presents?

Bakable clay wine charm

You need:

Oven bake clay (like Fimo)
Rolling pin (I used a tube of pritt stick as a mini rolling pin substitute)
Cookie cutters
Letter stamps (I used an old 12 pt letterpress alphabet I have but you can buy letter stamps from craft shops and online)
Thick needle or equivalent to make a hole for the ribbon
Thin ribbon

  1. Simply roll out the clay and cut in to your desired shape, but not too big if you are hoping to make them into wine glass charms. You may have to use initials only if the shape is too small or the names are long.
  2. Use the letter stamps to create the name or initials. Press firmly but not so the letters go all the way through.
  3. Create a whole big enough to thread ribbon through at the top of the shape using the thick needle.
  4. Heat the oven and bake the clay on baking parchment according to pack instructions – usually 130 degress for 30 minutes but check to make sure.
  5. Once cooled and hardened, tread the ribbon through carefully. Leave quite a bit of ribbon for each name tag so it can be tied easily. You can always chop off what you don’t need later.

Cutting bakable clayUse letterpress alphabet to stamp clayClay with stamped namesBake clay in the ovenmake Fimo bakable clay name wine charms

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.

Decorated eggs

Make pretty decorated eggs for Easter

I had great fun decorating these little eggs, and it was quick and easy too!

Pretty decorated Easter eggs

I chose to hard-boil the eggs, you can blow them but it’s a little bit more complicated and time consuming. These eggs are purely for decoration and should not be gobbled!

Melted crayon egg

Melted crayon egg

Melted crayon egg

Once boiled, work quickly on the egg with wax crayons whilst it’s still hot. The crayons will melt and the more layers you build up the more runny and mixed up it becomes.

Dyed egg

Dyed egg

Put the little fella into a cup of water with some blue food dye added. Leave it for about 15 minutes and it should take up some of the colour. Leave for longer for a more intense effect. My egg created it’s very own speckled gradient (clever old egg). I then printed some spots in blue and yellow using some acrylic paint and bubble wrap.

Collage egg

Eggs decorated with paper

Use some torn up dyed kitchen roll to cover the egg. Simply glue (PVA) the paper down all over the egg. The paper I used also had some metallic bronze paint splattered over it. I also made a version using red dyed kitchen roll, and one using purple tissue paper with a yellow butterfly decoration glued on the front. You could also cut images out of newspaper or magazines.

Painted egg

Painted egg

Simply paint the egg with acrylic paint. Here I chose to paint the egg blue, then dry brush yellow paint over the top. You could also cover the egg in PVA glue to give it a shiny finish as I have done here.

So there are lots of things you can do with an egg for Easter – have an experiment and see what you come up with. Happy Easter!

Decorated eggs

By Kim Osborne – check out my shop for lots of bright prints and illustrations.