Letter Press Printing with Kids at Home!

by Rashmie on December 7, 2011 · 25 comments

in Art & Craft

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Every year, starting October, Delhi transforms into an art and culture lover's paradise! This is the time of the year we thank our stars to be living in a place like this. I'm saying this beause, at other times of the year – especially Summers – it's a living nightmare. Yes it is – because temperature soar to a sizzling 40 – 45 degrees or centigrade and even more – turning us into perpetual grumblers…!

But then, now is not the time to vent negative thoughts. Let's focus on the positive. And the positives, like I said, are galore – at this time of the year.

The weather is worth honey-mooning – again! We have all kinds of fairs and festivals going on – national and international – showcasing art, culture, music, cinema, books. In the past one month, we got to attend three prolific festivals. One – Delhi International Art Festival, which provided us an opportunity to listen to music of varied genres – Sufi, fusion, Russian, Indian  classical, folk, ghazal, instrumental!

We also attended the Bookaroo Children's Book festival, which was an extraordinary gathering of the best literary minds from across the world – in the genre of Children's literature. The festival was packed with storytelling sessions, art and craft workshops and so much more! I also met a lovely friend from Pratham Books, who I had  only known online so far.

And, this past weekend, we had the previlege of meeting a bunch of Award-winning National artists – contemporary and folk – demonstrating their art and technique to a gathering of school kids, parents and teachers. 

We participated in many workshops including pottery, drawing mandalas, Warli painting, Tie and Dye and more. The thrill of seeing the artists working live on their art/craft is inexplicable! It's an experience every kid must be provided.

Letter Press Printing

At one of the workshops, we got to learn and delve into one of the oldest methods of printing – Letter Press Printing – using the raw material that are actually used. There were no machines – the Flat Bed cylinder or the Rotary Printing. But, we got a good idea of how this printing works.

Actually, we have done this before at home  – using styrofoam plates and regular paint. But, the results were not as gorgeous as when we used these raw materials – Sun Boards – as they are called in the printing lingo, and, the Letter Press Ink.

The method is super easy. We engraved our designs on the Sun board – with the help of pointed object. We used the wooden tools lying there that were of the potter's (from a nearby workshop). You can use a bluntly sharpened pencil, ball pen, a spoon end, or anything that will give deep impressions on the board. Note – you can get the sun board at any printing shops. Or, in a big departmental store in the paints section may be.

Once the design was done, we applied a nice, uniform coat of the Letter Press ink all over the board. We used rollers/brayers to do this.

In the next step, we placed a thick sheet of paper (white, yellow or any colour that you prefer) and pressed it firmly down on the board. Rolled a clean, dry brayer on it so that the colour sticks properly. Make sure the paper does not move from its place.

Then, gently and slowly, we lifted the paper from one end toward the other and admired the result!

Make sure you let it dry thorougly before you choose to frame it, use it as a greeting card or as a book cover!

More of Pari's and some mine (below):

A Perfect Halloween Card, don't you think so?

Few more made by other participants:

What do you think? :)

Printing is so much fun, no matter what the technique.

Check out a dozen printing/stamping ideas that kids can do on their own.