Earlier this year I spotted a tutorial for making a repeat print by using a rolling pin. As Christmas began to sneak its way into the human atmosphere in about September, I decided I would like to give this technique a try. I haven't published any new books of my own to sell this year, so I thought I would Christmassify my already existing instruction books with some homemade wrapping paper.
I bought some cork, thinking this would make the ideal surface to cut into shapes to create a raised design. I love how some hobbiest products feel the need to tell you how useful they are with diagrams illustrating the many vital ways they can be put into practice. Come to think of it, I don't know how I previously lived without thin sheets of cork in my life.
I printed out some of my illustrations of the clothing that can be made using my very large (in content, not size) DIY Couture book, cut them out and drew around them on the cork.
I cut out my shapes and arranged them roughly in a pattern to get an idea of the print I would be creating.
Then I got out the tape measure and pencil and started to do a lot of maths. I was attempting to spread the shapes evenly around my cardboard tube, which I was using as a substitute for a rolling pin. This was not as easy as it may sound. I utilized the torn off cover of an old Vogue magazine to create a make-shift circular ruler and scribbled down a lot of fractions. I found that my positioning had to be very precise in order for the last piece of cork clothing not to bump into the first one.
Finally, all my cork clothing was stuck to the roll and I was ready to... roll.
For someone reason, I thought it sensible to roll paint onto the roll using a roller. As I put this into practice, I discovered that rolling paint onto each tiny shape took up a lot of time, and the paint on the first shape was almost dry by the time I got to the last.
I watered down the paint in an attempt to overcome this problem, with disastrous consequences. The first sheet of paper I printed can only be labelled F.A.I.L.
At this stage, I searched on the internet for the original tutorial that had inspired me many months ago. Here it is - a very useful, sensible, intelligent tutorial explaining how to make your own rolling block print.
Sofie, who created the tutorial, obviously exercises a larger number of neural networks in her brain than I, for she thought of a way of producing her block print that cut out the need for complicated maths. She also applied colour to her block by rolling the roll itself into her ink. What a genius! I quickly adopted her methods.
And quickly made a very big mess.
After a lot of experimenting with ink consistency, I produced some sheets of wrapping paper that I am fairly happy with.
These have now been wrapped around bundles of DIYcouture instruction books, tied up with ribbons and are ready to bring people wintry fashion freedom.