another rainy day at the print shop


Print shop à la mud­pie, that is. It’s an exper­i­ment. And it’s per­fect­ly accept­able to print in flan­nel pants.

Unlike the Macken­zie’s print shop, there are no machines here. No press. Just me, some cut-up plas­tic bags, some torn up Sty­ro­foam trays (washed and san­i­tized), some card­boards, and the trusty PVA glue.


I was hop­ing to make a back­ground for the plarn bet­ta fish, and what would be bet­ter than mak­ing it with plas­tic bags? :D I’ve print­ed with bags before, at school, on a press. Actu­al­ly, print­ing with found mate­ri­als (i.e. things that peo­ple con­sid­er trash, like plas­tic bags, bread tags, and pop tabs) was my favourite thing to do in print­mak­ing class.

I don’t have any of that equip­ment at home, but I do have a plan. I start­ed by cut­ting up the bags and glu­ing them onto a piece of card­board. That’s plate #1.

For plate #2, I tore up Sty­ro­foam trays (again, washed and san­i­tized) and glued them onto anoth­er piece of card­board, to resem­ble riv­er stones.


I don’t have block print­ing ink, but I thought acrylic would be fine. I brushed it on so it can get into all the crevices.


I always like the test prints on newsprint the best. The feath­ery details were mes­mer­iz­ing, like frost.

How­ev­er, this makes too busy of a back­ground for the del­i­cate plarn fish. So I sprayed water on it to dis­perse the paint a bit before it dries. But then I got car­ried away and it got too wet. So rather than patient­ly wait for it to dry, I laid anoth­er piece of paper on it, hop­ing that if it does­n’t make a half-inter­est­ing print, it would at least soak up the watery mess. Kind of like a ghost print, and out came this…

Isn’t that so love­ly? Well, at least I think so. Has a kind of smoky qual­i­ty to it. Reminds me of aquatint

The lay­ered prints did­n’t come out so great. But I did sal­vage this one after rework­ing it sev­er­al times.

I’m not in love with it. I thought it need­ed some red. So when it was all dried I added some watercolour…

Like leaves car­ried by the cur­rent or a school of fish. Still not lik­ing it too much, to be hon­est, but I think it’s look­ing a bit better.

I end­ed up print­ing the back­ground for the fish on a piece of canvas.


I trimmed it a bit, pinned on the fish (so I can move them to a new back­ground if I ever want to), and hot glued a strip of card­board on the back so it can stick on the mir­ror (because one large wall in our apart­ment is a mir­ror, and we’ve run out of reg­u­lar wall space).



I hope they’re hap­py in their new habitat.

A cou­ple of things I learned from print­ing with recy­cled materials:

1) Must invest in block print­ing ink! I keep putting it off, but acrylic is real­ly too run­ny for printing.

2) Sty­ro­foam does not stick to white glue! The pieces kept falling off when I rolled paint on it. Next time I’ll use the glue gun.


Will def­i­nite­ly try doing this again. Thank you so much for stop­ping by!

3 thoughts on “another rainy day at the print shop

Comments are closed.