DIY block printing….with stuff you probably have around the house

Your home is your craft supply store.

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Bet you didn’t know you can create pretty cool prints using stuff you have laying around the house. I’m no print expert, but I’ve been doing the potato thang since I was little. I love potatoes (especially when fried, YUM) but they are especially cheap and effective as print blocks. Last year, I created a pineapple motif tote that was surprisingly easy and fun. Yes, it’s craft schoolish and non-professional, but I really love how easy it is to make any design you want with a sharp knife and a careful hand. There are many other sources of print blocks around the house that you can use as well.

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For this DIY, I scoured my brother’s garage to find cotton cloths that I can use to print on. This is the best fabric for absorbing the paint. I believe these may be changing pads or cloth diapers or burp cloths, but as long as I didn’t have to buy something new, I was good with using them.

Here’s the stash:

1. Cotton fabric – could be a pillow case, tea towel, blanket, apron, bag, as long as it’s an absorbent material

2. Fabric paint

3. Button

4. Cork (to glue items to so you can get a good grip)

5. Glue

6. Q-tip

7. Disposable chop stick

8. Cedar block (I didn’t end up using it but I think it would make a great print)

9. Bottle cap

10. Potato

I first glued the stick of a Q-tip and button to corks so I can firmly hold them to print.

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I then carved my potatoes for the more custom designs I wanted.

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Iron out your fabric for a smooth surface and start printing.

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This pattern was created using the Q-tip stick first….

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…..and using the end of a chopstick.

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You can print two patterns to form a nifty pattern (let the first layer dry thoroughly before printing the second layer). I first created polka dots with a bottle cap (notice that plastic doesn’t create as much of a smooth print as wood or the potato, so you’ll have to print several layers).

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Once the first layer is dry, you’re free to create the second printed pattern.

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Buttons make prints that are cute as a, er, button.

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Let dry for a day to be on the safe side.

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They’d make a great gift (for those who appreciate handmade stuff).

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Some day your prints will come.


6 thoughts on “DIY block printing….with stuff you probably have around the house

    • Thanks Jessica! I was thinking of making a onesie with a friend with the button print but I’d have it say “Cute as a” with the button following. Maybe one day….

  1. Oooh! I love this technique as well as your shibori with a Sharpie! I have a feeling my apartment is going to end up filled with pattern. {smile}

    • That makes me so happy! Thank you for finding inspiration here. It’s so fulfilling for me to hear it as it’s my number one goal for my blog: to inspire others to create.

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