inking a piece of cut lino

An A – Z of Creative Actitivies (Part Two)

More creative activities, projects and ideas for your to try as part of the Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge.

JELLY PRINTING

Jelly printing is a bit like Marmite. If you love experimenting and don’t like spending ages planning then jelly printing may suit you well. On the other hand, people who like to meticulously plan their printing and produce perfect prints tend to hate the randomness of jelly printing.

You can compose pictures with stencils but I think jelly printing’s strength is is making prints with leaves and flowers, from bold outlines to beautifully detailed prints.

Learn how to make your own printing plate from gelatine powder and make beautiful botanical prints with leaves and flowers.  

KNIT

Knit or crochet? People tend to fall into one camp or the other. Knitting seems a bit more useful to me than crochet, but you may disagree!

The problem with knitting (or crochet) is knowing what to do with the odds and ends of yarn that you have left over from projects or when you couldn’t resist buying some yarn but then don’t know what to knit with it.

Here are two useful projects to reduce your yarn surplus. One for a large surplus and the other for a more modest over-abundance. Knit a blanket (useful if we have to meet up outside on autumn evenings) or use Celia’s instructions to knit your own dishcloths (useful for all that extra wiping down and disinfecting).

LINO PRINTING

You may have memories trying to cut hard lino with blunt tools, but nowadays you can buy soft cut lino and a variety of cutting tools. You don’t need a printing press for lino printing as you can use a baren or even the back of a spoon to apply pressure.

Print your own greetings cards, print drawer liners or make beautiful prints to hang on the wall.

Follow these instructions to make multi-coloured lino prints using the reduction method of cutting.

MINI SCREEN PRINTING

Screen printing can be a bit of a performance: make a stencil, painstakingly paint on screen block or apply and cure photo emulsion. Then, when you’ve finished printing you have to scrub it all off. It’s fine in a print studio where everything is set up for using unpleasant liquids, but not particularly easy in a domestic setting.

Lifting a Mini Screen to reveal the screen print

The easy alternative is to buy a mini screen which is ready to print! Mini screens can be used to personalise clothes, print fabric or paper on a small scale instead of grappling with clamps and large screens.

Have your own design made into a mini screen or buy from the design library. Read how to use mini screens to see how easy they are to use.

MEND

Clothes that are worth wearing are worth mending.

According to Love Your Clothes, every year an estitmated 336,000 tonnes of used clothing is thrown in the bin in the UK and in the average UK household, nearly a third of clothes haven’t been worn in the last year. We’re all being encourged not just to buy fewer clothes and to buy ethically but to care for the clothes we already have.

Elevate what could be a mundane task to an art form by using Flora’s tutorials for darning knitwear and give your clothes a new lease of life. Print your fabric patches, master the art of sashiko or (bearing in mind that a stitch in time saves nine) mend the tiniest of holes promptly and invisibly so that nobody can even tell there was a hole. Look at this Art of Mending Clothes Pinterest board if you need any inspiration.

NEEDLES

Do you knit a test swatch when you’re knitting from a pattern or do you just plough ahead using the suggested needle size and end up with something too small or too large?

Read this piece by knitting designer Kate Davies on why your knitting needle size is immaterial.

ORGANISE YOUR CRAFT SPACE

Good organisation makes life so much easier. Find out how to organise a craft room and set yourself up to be creative

PASTE PAPERS

Paste papers were originally used in book binding as end papers or covers, but they’re also ideal for collage, mixed media work and cardmaking.

Paste paper

They’re fun to make, even if you don’t have an immediate use for them. The paste (made with flour, water and paint or ink) is applied to the paper and then patterns made with tools or fingers. Layers of colour build complex patterns though single colours can look very effective too. Use these instructions to make your own paste papers.  

POM-POMS

Pom-poms make me smile. Hang pom-poms from the ceiling inside or dangle from the trees outside. Use them for summer gatherings or get ahead and make them for later in the year. Make tissue paper pom-poms bright and garish or subtle and sophisticated.

QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA

Quit social media and do something more exciting. Try it.

RUBBER STAMPS

Use any size eraser to make simple rubber stamps, even the tiny eraser on the end of a pencil if the shape is simple and your cutting skills are good. If you only need a tiny circle, then you don’t even need to do any cutting. It’s also an excellent use for offcuts of easy carve lino.

To make your stamp, draw your image (or text) onto the eraser and then carve out the design with a craft knife. It really is that simple.

Use as you would any rubber stamp with an ink pad or printing ink. Make greetings cards, personalise writing paper or use them on labels or gift tags. I particularly like using these tiny stamps for mark making in a new sketchbook.

Drop by on Friday for Part Three.

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