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. 

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

maryanne @ mamasmiles December 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

These are lovely! I love the range of images they created!


Phyllis December 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I have tried to do this, but I did not have nearly the same beautiful results! I am so impressed with these. Makes me want to try again!


Roopa December 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm

These all are beautiful, loved all the lovely designs made!! We too have done it with tempera paint and styrofoam, but nothing close to these. You have now inspired me to buy some inks for ourselves and try it:)

The first i visited Delhi, it was in peak summer and I hated it and me love my bengaluru more:-). But now, in florida its almost the same temp + humidity which I still hate, but would prefer it to shoveling snow first thing in the morning…. 


Esther December 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm

The prints are amazing!  I love all the images created!


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:35 am

@0d18557dc5be4ebb9ad554354f050d11:disqus Glad you liked the Letter press prints!


Pritam December 8, 2011 at 4:02 am

Amazing designs made by Pari!!
Indeed a very good idea…..
Rashmie, thanks a ton…..giving us sooo many unique ideas to work with kids


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:34 am

@16b1fb5115c82f3a6258533578908f77:disqus So happy you liked our letter press printing. Thank you for stopping by!


The Iowa Farmer's Wife December 8, 2011 at 4:10 am

These are amazing! I loved print making in art class when I was in high school. What fun!


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:33 am

  Thank you for stopping by to share a comment. Nice to know about your love for printing and that you did it in your high school! 


Melissa December 8, 2011 at 4:22 am

These are terrific! Thanks for sharing! A wonderful process!


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:32 am

Thanks, @twitter-255659366:disqus glad you liked our Letter Press printing project :) You’re right – its ‘process’ is so much fun…


Cribbermom December 8, 2011 at 8:56 am

This is a great idea..I’ve been scouting around for activities for my son to do these winter evenings, and I love this one. Thanks a ton for sharing the how-to in pictures!


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:31 am

@83c11c7f83b17552dadb4ccc77520a8c:disqus Glad you liked our Letter Press Project to do with your son these winter evenings. I look forward to having you often on Mommy Labs :) Thank you for your lovely comment!


maggy, red ted art December 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

This look FANTASTIC! I can’t wait for my two to be a little older to have a go!
 Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty! Maggy


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:28 am

@95a54dbc1c8f5c3e303f9e7999adce52:disqus Glad you liked our letter press printing efforts. Yeah, being a super creative/crafty mommy, I’m sure your kids are going to have so much fun with all sorts of projects once they get a little older… :)


Anu Shankar December 9, 2011 at 10:08 am

fantastic!!!!! now i really envy u delhi ites!!! we hardly have such opportunities in bbay and when they do come, they are too far for me :( i guess u did this at the workshop.. but do u know if we get these materials  easily?


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:27 am

@anushankarn:disqus Haha – so one BIG reason for you Mumbai-ites to envy us Dilliwalas :) Yeah, you’re right – commuting from one end to the other is such a hassle in Mumbai. Despite being huge, we have the metro connecting the whole city so well that traveling has become easier as compared to a few years back when we had to risk our lives with the notorious ‘Blue’ buses of Delhi..!
The ‘Buzz in Town’ website is something you should subscribe to – to keep track of musical and art events in your city. I follow it all the time…


Rebekah Patel December 10, 2011 at 1:58 am

These are gorgeous.  I hope they are gracing the walls of your home.  I want to try this with my daughter when she gets older.  


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:22 am

@google-480808cad0197bc9ad682b1572119e4a:disqus Thank you for your lovely words. Yeah, I think I’m going to frame these…!Not found the time yet..so they are still lying in the folder…


Katepickle December 15, 2011 at 3:35 am

oh these are way cool!


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:21 am

@fc2a73c66368a1143d6424a68d927432:disqus Thanks, Kate :) So glad to see you here!


Beth December 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm

What a CREATIVE idea!!  LOVE it! I am your newest liker. I’d love for you to follow me back, if you want to =-) I also wanted to invite you to come over and link up to our TGIF LInky Party!!Beth


Rashmie Jaaju December 16, 2011 at 6:20 am

@LivingLifeIntentionally:disqus Thank you for stopping by and following my blog. I’m already following your blog page on Facebook. Looking forward to connecting with you more often :)


Jacqui January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm

What a great idea! Would live to do it with my little art class of 5 kids for a printing lesson. Do you know if sunboard is the same as foamcore or foam board? Thanks!


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