A guest post by TJ Goerlitz
In this third of three posts in this series on Book Arts I’d like to have some fun with you and share some cool materials from Speedball. The first is called Flexi-Cut. Flexi-Cut is a substrate that is intended to be printed from. It can be cut, carved or poked and has an adhesive backing. It feels like a very thin sheet of rubber. You basically turn it into any shape you want, stick it down, ink it up and print it. It’s like a stamp laying on it’s back that won’t wiggle on you because it’s also a sticker. YAY. Easy peasy. My experience with Flexi-Cut has been on a printing press, so I wondered what it would be like to work with it at home. I also tested Speedball’s Polyprint which is a more affordable version of the Flexi-Cut. Polyprint is a sheet of foam with an adhesive backing. Let’s play!
What you will need:
- Card stock cut to size
- Glass Plate
- Flexi-Cut or Polyprint
- Printing Inks or Acrylic Paint
- Brayer or Brush
Start by laying your card stock underneath your sheet of glass. I am using little ATCs that already have a background layer on them.
Tape off the print area by following the edge of your card beneath.
If you’re really fly, you only need one corner to line your paper up.
I try to keep myself from having as many problems as possible so I taped up a frame to make sure I knew where to lay the cards down straight.
Remove your card from under the glass.
Cut a piece of the Flexi-Cut or Polyprint to the size of your card. This will be your “printing plate.”
Take your plate and make a design. I cut mine into two triangles. I took the first triangle and used the handle of a paintbrush to rub lines in it. Then I took a cutting knife and hacked out little sections of the plate.
Remove the adhesive from your plate and stick it down onto your glass within the print frame you previously taped off.
Now ink up the plate. I decided to use orange paint and applied it with a sponge brush. It doesn’t matter if you make a mess on the glass or the tape.
Lay your card over the inked plate and gently rub the backside of it.
If you are making something really precious, you could use a tool called a baron. I however chose the fancy tool called my finger.
I printed all 8 of my cards since I wanted to make a small edition. I re-inked the plate with my painted sponge between every print.
Lay the card(s) out to dry and clean the plate.
Cleaning up between layers is easier if you use Flexi-Cut which is reusable. Simply wipe the Flexi-Cut clean and pull it off the glass.
Find the protective backing for the adhesive and match them back up.
Store in a baggie. If you’re using the Polyprint, (like I am in these photos) it’s not reusable. It’s also harder to pick off the glass.
Let’s work on the plate for the next layer. This time I took the other triangle and tore an edge. Then I took a pin and carved “stitches” into the styrofoam.
Line your plate up in the taped off area again, remove the backing and stick it down.
When you’re sure your card(s) are dry from your first layer, start making your prints. Here is a place to experiment. You’re not a robot. If you want to flip your paper around and try printing it upside down, do it. If you want to make partial prints off the edge, ignore your taped lines and try it.
The last part of this tutorial is for placing smaller pieces that don’t have a side or edge to line up on against your taped frame. One of the tricks printers have is to take what they want to print and use one of their cards to deliver it down onto the printing surface.
You do this by making a little loop of blue tape rolled over on itself. Stick the tape to the side of the plate you print from (not the sticker side). Tape the backwards plate to the card exactly where you want it to print. Now gently remove the adhesive backing from the plate. At this point you have a card that has a plate taped to it, sticky side up like an ant on it’s back. Flip your card over and pretend to print it in your taped frame. You have just stuck the plate exactly where it needs to be.
Gently pull the card up and pull it away from the blue tape. Pick the blue tape off your plate. You are ready to print!
TJ Goerlitz is a mixed-media artist whose book art will be featured in the premier edition of Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media to be published by North Light in September 2013. You can find out more about TJ by visiting her website, studiomailbox.com.
You might also enjoy the Book + Art eBook by Dorothy Simpson Krause.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS