We’ll be heading to the US in July to attend the International Convention and we’re selling handmade cards to raise funds for our trip.
You may be thinking:
“What’s so special about these cards???” and “What can I do with them???”
Well, these cards are 100% DESIGNED and HAND PRINTED by my family. There is a wide selection of designs and colours available so you’ll definitely be able to find something that suit your taste! You can use them as birthday cards, thank you cards, congratulatory cards, or even just to keep in touch with special people. Here’s the link to view and purchase the cards: Special Cards for Special People
Here’s how we made the cards:
1. Draw your design on the rubber sheet (lino)
2. Cut the design out with a special lino cutter
3. Mix the paints to achieve the desired colours.
4. Lay out a single colour for a solid colour print or multiple colours for a gradient print.
5. Use an inking roller to create an inkpad to pick up paint. Make sure that the paint has the same thickness throughout to ensure a good print.
6. Roll the roller over the lino so that the paint is transferred from the roller to the raised parts of the lino. Repeat this step until the desired paint thickness is achieved.
7. Move the lino to a clean place and place a sheet of paper over it.
8. Use a printing baren to buff the print and ensure that the card takes the paint up from the lino evenly.
9. Either apply more paint to the lino and print it again on another card, or clean it off with oil and rags to print with a new colour.
10. Hang up the finished cards to dry
John: My favourite part of the printing process is the last part when I transfer the print from the lino to the card. I enjoy seeing the final product of all the previous steps, especially when the colour of the print and the colour of the card complement each other. Also, I get to keep my hands clean to ensure that there are no smudges on the card. This is also the most stressful job for me as I am responsible for how the final product turns out. If there is a smudge, the print is tilted, or if the design is printed badly, I’m the one who probably caused it. Nevertheless, printing is an enjoyable experience for me and it brings me satisfaction to see other people’s joy when they buy these beautiful handmade and handprinted cards. Sometimes though, I am roped in to help Rebecca and Li-Ann clean up the lino. I feel that this is the most time consuming part of the printing process as we need to completely clean the lino if we want to change the colour combinations. As a result, we may spend 4 hours printing cards, but 1 hour out of those 4 are spent cleaning paint off the linos when we change colours.
Li-Ann: I like mixing colours. I like flowers very much. That’s why I have a design called “Sun and Flowers”. I like to mix colours to make an ink pad. I roll the roller in the ink pad and put it on my lino. I will need my brother’s help to position the paper on the lino. But I can use the baren to print the design on the card by myself with my brother helping me to hold the card in position. I like to wash the lino plates in oil. First, I will scrub the lino plate with an old toothbrush. Next, I will put the plate onto the newspaper so the newspaper can soak up the oil. Then, I will use a paper napkin to wipe the plate. Finally, I will show it to my brother so he can help me check that the plate is clean.
Rebecca: When we do printing together, I prefer to mix the colours and ink up the linos. Even though it is a lot of hard work, I find the experience very fun. In addition, the feeling of mixing the paints and then rolling the roller over the linos is very therapeutic and satisfying.
Dad: I first got involved because the kids had problems with the paint getting stuck in the recessions in the lino. So I helped them to solve it by getting them to use old toothbrushes to scrub the linos while they were soaking in oil. After that I decided to help them print so they could produce the cards a little bit faster. Printing the cards was tricky because I need to make sure I don’t get paints on my hands so that I wouldn’t smudge the cards. I also won’t want to go to work with colourful hands the next day. The whole process was tiring, but it wasn’t so bad because I got “high” from the paint fumes😂
Mom: When the art teacher suggested that I try my hand at designing and carving the lino, I was reluctant coz I am usually busy with chores and stuff when the kids are having lessons. One day, I decided to be bold and try out my design. John and Rebecca gave me great tips on how I can make my design nicer. So it was a team effort! Carving it took skill too. I needed to be able to visualize how it would look like when printed, know which part I wanted to carve out and made sure parts that I didn’t want to show are dug out well. Dear Rebecca was my mentor – giving me specific things to look out for. During printing, my role is supportive – preparing the paper for printing, offering snacks, cold drinks, napkins , rags, plus mediating when sparks fly in the air.
Printing IS laborious and hard work. I could see them all tired out at the end of at least 6h of printing and cleaning up! But they persevered! It is an excellent learning process – how to work together as a team, how to handle cards that don’t turn out as well and how to celebrate little successes.