Sunday, July 19, 2009

Styrofoam Prints

I needed to make a bunch of baby cards for upcoming births, so I decided to try a technique I've been wanting to experiment with to streamline the process. Of course, you don't have to limit this technique to card-making, you could use it for a kids' craft, or fabric printing or any other kind of surface design.

To make these prints, you will need a clean styrofoam meat or vegetable tray, acrylic craft paint, a paintbrush, a palette (I use a paper plate), some paper or blank cards to print on, and a mark-making tool or two. You can use about anything to make marks. I have here a toothpick, a pencil, a chopstick, some ceramic and printmaking tools, a corn holder, and a nut pick.
Start by cutting your tray into a piece that is the same size as your card, or smaller. Make sure you have cut off any pieces with marks on them, like a recycle symbol or manufacturer's mark (these will show up in your printed image). After your styrofoam is all trimmed, you'll have a nice piece that is flat on both sides. You can use each side to make a separate design if desired.

Use one of your mark-making tools to draw a simple picture. Don't get too complicated. Don't forget to reverse any writing!You'll end up with something like this:
Cover the styrofoam with fairly thick paint. You may want to go back over the lines quickly with your mark-making tool at this point, just don't let the paint dry.

Press the painted side onto your paper, trying to get even pressure all over. When you lift it off, try to lift straight up and off so you don't smudge the image. I like to make a test print on scrap paper first. Now go and rinse the paint off in the sink. You can totally re-use these! Here are some of my printed cards:I took my paintbrush and touched up that line by the letter "Y" so it wasn't so distracting from the word. I left all the other imperfections, though. I like that handmade look. I plan on fancying them up with some bits of ribbon, and writing "Congratulations on Your New Bundle of Joy" on the inside.
I hope you try some of these prints! I made a set of eight cards, four pink and four blue, in half an hour! Can't beat that for a fast, fun and cheap craft.

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