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!

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