Friday, February 24, 2012

Craft FAIL! Linocut Goodie Bags

Even us pros have a total craft failure.

I had grand plans to make drawstring fabric goodie bags for Lilly's birthday party. She is having a "dog" themed party so I thought some sort of custom design or applique would be cute. Then I found all my old Lino cut tools from college when I was rooting around in my studio. That inspired me to make a "birthday pug" Lino block and stamp the image on fabric. My first step was to draw out the design and transfer it onto the lino block. That is done by rubbing a pencil on the backside of the paper, laying the paper on the lino block and then tracing the design, leaving a transfer imprint on the block.

Then you carve...

One bit of advice when you are carving. Work on a non-slip surface. I made the mistake of working at our butcher block kitchen table and the cutting tool slipped and went straight into my index finger. I was terrified for a minute that I was going to have to go to the hospital and have my plastic surgeon called in (who also specializes in microvascular and hand surgery, specifically hand reconstruction and digit reattachment.) Anyway- I wrapped it up with sterile pads and tape, kept pressure on it and the bleeding eventually stopped. It's a really nasty injury, 10 days later it still hurts.

But I powered through and finished carving:

My plan was to stamp this design on fabric using textile paint. Here's how that turned out:

Yea- pretty lousy. I did about 8 of these and I couldn't get consistency in the ink and transfer. Moving on to plan B: buying paper bags and stamping the design on with traditional lino cut ink. Ummm, yea.....not working either:

The bags aren't flat, and I tried all different positions, lifting the flap, nothing worked. Accepting that lino blocks are NOT like traditional rubber stamps (there's no flexibility or "give" - you need to have even hard pressure to get a good imprint), I conceded and found some "sticker back" textured cardstock in my studio stash and stamped the design on different color squares. Now I'll have to cut out the design and stick them on the bags.

Not really what I was going for, but I think in the end it will look good. Plus the 5 and 6 year olds getting these bags aren't going to give a hoot about the design aesthetic of their goodies's the stuff inside that counts.

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