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San Francisco, CA


Monica Loos

art / design / paper goods

selling original art, art prints and paper goods based on paintings and designs made my monica in san francisco, california.

for commission availability, please contact me directly.



little bits from my studio, my home, my life, and my brain

Filtering by Tag: block print

block printing with little peeps

Monica Loos

this year for valentine's day, my boys made bookmarks for their classmates. i know, i hope they don't get booed out of the class! but, really, they are adorable and with block printing on paper, you can make many things: cards, gift tags, framed art, gift wrap, garland... the beauty of this method is that it's safe for little guys and girls who aren't quite ready for working with a sharp carving tool as used on wood, linoleum, or an easy-carve block. we used a 9 x 12 foam board purchased from a local art supply store, flax. they were 12 for $6.99, which i thought was pretty reasonable. ok, here we go.

supplies: foam board marker small paintbrush or dull pencil block printing ink brayer printing paper wooden spoon / roller / your hand

to make bookmarks or tags, you will also need: paper cutter hole puncher ribbon

block printing

using a marker, my 5-yr old, let's call him mr. j, filled his foam board with heart shapes (1). we knew we'd be cutting these down into our desired bookmark size, so we needed a design that would make sense as pieces, versus a whole. next, we used the end of a fine paintbrush to press down over the lines, more or less (2). we also tried using a dull pencil, which was easier, as it slid more smoothly across the foam. any foam that is pressed down, will not get ink and therefore will be the color of your paper. mr. j only did the outline of each heart.

time for inking! we prepared our ink as described in the earlier post, mr. o makes a block print. once ready, an even-ish layer of ink was spread across the entire board using the brayer (3). i placed the paper, also 9" x 12", over the board and mr. j used a rolling pin to apply pressure (4). the back of a spoon works, as does your hand. then, mr. j hid under the table in nervous excitement for the end result (5). i slowly but steadily removed the paper from the board. so cute! we made enough sheets for all the bookmarks we needed, plus one extra for framing.

the next day, i trimmed the sheet down to bookmark size, which i scientifically concluded was 2" x 6". i used a guillotine cutter. you can use a paper trimmer, scissors, whatever you have available. giving credit where credit is due, it was mr. j that pulled out the 3-whole punch. talk about efficiency (6)!

punching & stamping

in lieu of signing each one by hand, i taped together little letter stamps to form the words "from jack" - now we know his name. this worked well (7). i had on hand, a beautiful cotton ribbon that was used to top off the bookmark and voila!

bookmarks & tags

i think they are adorable! i punched a smaller whole into the scraps and made gift tags using red and white baker's twine. so cute.

happy printing! and happy valentine's day!

mr. o makes a block print

Monica Loos

my oldest child, 7, heretofore to be referred to as mr. o, strolled into  my studio and made his way right over to a carving tool and speedy-carve block on my desk. picking up the carver with the confidence of a master, he dug right into the block.  i stopped what i was doing in order to harness his momentum and interest. if i were to wait 5 minutes, he could be knee-deep into Lego work and it could be hard to get him back. i suggested he use a pencil (then traced over with a sharpie) to make a simple line drawing. he opted for a motor vehicle at a light. this being his first block print project, I also suggested he carve the line, rather than the negative space. he decided that adding his name in the corner would be a nice touch. he didn't much mind that a print would read backwards. we often try to speak backwards, so really it was all the better to him.

ready to print! we rolled out a dab of pewter block printing ink onto a glass baking dish - fancy!  mr. o patiently rolled the ink back and forth with the brayer until it was just right - you know it's ready with the sound of the brayer across the ink sounds like velcro.  i did my very best to not be a control freak as mr. o rolled a (mostly) even layer of ink on the block. next, the paper is placed on the block, and using a wooden spoon as our baren to apply pressure on the paper and (hopefully -- ok, i helped a little here!) make a nice inked print.


the end result: a very limited edition. cute!

car print

my five year old, let's call him 'loo, REALLY wants to make one too, though he is not quite ready for the carving tool. i'm thinking their vday cards will involve some type of peewee-friendly print making, so do stay tuned...