CRE­ATE YOUR OWN CHRIST­MAS CARDS

Rather than buy­ing bun­dles of gift cards and wrap­ping pa­per, why not cre­ate your own coun­try­side-in­spired fes­tive de­signs and send your fam­ily and friends hand-crafted greet­ings this Christ­mas?

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

Fol­low th­ese easy steps to pro­duce your own beau­ti­ful coun­try­side-in­spired fes­tive cards and giftwrap.

LEAF-PRINT CARD

This sim­ple print­ing tech­nique pro­duces great re­sults and re­quires very lit­tle equip­ment (all of which can be bought from any high-street craft shop – see ‘Sup­pli­ers’ on p57). The fern used here makes a good Christ­mas tree but feel free to ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent leaves.

You will need:

Acrylic or block print­ing ink (gold) A6 cards with en­velopes 20mm flat paint­brush A leaf Scrap pa­per Kitchen roll A gold pen 1 Lay your leaf on a piece of scrap pa­per and care­fully paint the ink over one side. 2 Place the leaf ink-side down onto your card. Lay a piece of scrap pa­per or kitchen roll over the leaf and ap­ply even pres­sure all over. 3 Care­fully re­move the pa­per and peel the leaf off to ex­pose the print. It’s worth test­ing this on some scrap pa­per be­fore you start on your cards to gauge how much ink and pres­sure works best. 4 When your card is dry, you can draw the star on us­ing the gold pen.

Once you mas­ter the tech­nique, lino cut­ting is easy and is ideal for cards and gift wrap.

You will need:

De­sign tem­plates and trac­ing pa­per A pen­cil with rub­ber on top Lino (two 70 x 70mm; one 70 x 30mm) and lino cut­ting tools A tray/piece of glass, a hard roller and a foam roller Block-print­ing ink (green, red and white) Cards (100 x 100mm and 150 x 150mm) Op­tional: wooden blocks, hot-glue gun 1 TRANS­FER THE DE­SIGN Go to www.coun­try­file.com/make-yourown-christ­mas-card-1 to print your de­sign tem­plate. Place trac­ing pa­per over it. With a medium pen­cil, trace the de­sign. Turn the trac­ing pa­per over so you’re work­ing on the back and re­trace the de­sign. Then turn it face down, lie it on the lino and re­trace the de­sign again. Re­move the trac­ing pa­per, and you should find the pat­tern trans­ferred to the lino. 2 CUT OUT THE LINO If you’ve not cut lino be­fore, try cut­ting a de­sign on a spare piece to see how much pres­sure is needed. (Note: it’s the ar­eas you leave un­cut that cre­ate your print. Lino tools are sharp, so take care and su­per­vise chil­dren.) To cut a line, drive the tool away from you, chis­elling the lino out. To re­move larger ar­eas, use a wider tool. Turn the block so you’re al­ways cut­ting away from you. To make the lino eas­ier to hold when print­ing, cut a wooden block to the size of the lino then at­tach it us­ing a hot-glue gun.

3 AP­PLY THE INK

Squeeze a small amount of ink onto the glass. Take the hard roller and spread it across the sur­face thinly and evenly. Roll the foam roller over the glass to pick up a sup­ply of ink then ap­ply the ink to your lino block by run­ning the foam roller over it a few times. Now you’re ready to print.

4 PRINT YOUR CARD

Hold the lino by the edges and gen­tly place it ink-side down onto the first card. Press down firmly all over the back of the lino. With prac­tise you’ll work out how much ink and pres­sure to use to get the best re­sults. For the small cards (100 x 100mm), po­si­tion the leaf de­sign to leave space for the ‘NOËL’ mes­sage. For the large cards (150 x 150mm), print the leaf de­sign four times. 5 FIN­ISH­ING TOUCHES When the ink is dry, dip the pen­cil’s rub­ber into the red or white ink, then dab it on the cards to cre­ate the berries.

This sim­ple but ef­fec­tive de­sign works well on dif­fer­ent coloured cards. As an added ex­tra touch, you could dec­o­rate coloured en­velopes with the snow pat­tern too.

You will need:

Sten­cil tem­plate printed on A4 card (down­load from www.coun­try­file. com/make-your-own-christ­mas­card-2) A6 cards with en­velopes Scis­sors A scalpel and cut­ting mat A metal ruler Punch pli­ers (leather hole puncher) Acrylic paint – blue and white A sponge and dish Trac­ing pa­per A pen­cil A white pen (plus dark blue pen if you are do­ing the de­sign on a lighter back­ground) 1 1 Print the sten­cil tem­plate on A4 card and cut it out. You will find the cut­ting in­struc­tions on the tem­plate. 2 Po­si­tion the rein­deer sten­cil on your card and hold down firmly. Ap­ply the blue paint over the sten­cil us­ing the sponge. 3 Cut and hole punch the snow sten­cil. If you don’t have any punch pli­ers, you can draw in the snow dots us­ing the white pen. 3 When rein­deer print is dry, po­si­tion the snow sten­cil on your card and ap­ply white paint in the same way with a clean sponge. Then leave it to dry. 4 Use the pen­cil and trac­ing pa­per to copy the let­ter­ing. Re­trace it on the re­verse then place it on the card face down to re­trace the let­ters for a third time to trans­fer them to your card. 5 Use the white or blue pen to draw over the let­ters. Draw in the rein­deers’ antlers and eyes to fin­ish.

The joy in making your own wrap­ping pa­per is that you can go wild with ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. The de­signs shown here are all in­ter­change­able and there­fore pro­vide end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties for pat­terns. You’ll need quite a bit of space to cre­ate a mini pro­duc­tion line of pa­per print­ing and a wash­ing line to peg them up to dry.

You will need:

A roll of brown kraft pa­per or coloured kraft pa­per sheets Gift tags (pre-cut or make your own) Block-print­ing ink (green and white) A hard ink roller A foam ink roller A tray/piece of glass (for spread­ing ink) Magic tape A scalpel/scis­sors Which­ever de­sign you choose to print, first you’ll need to pre­pare your pa­per. Cut the brown kraft pa­per roll into sec­tions of the size you need (I made mine 500 x 600mm). Spread your first piece out on a flat sur­face and tape the cor­ners down to hold it flat and steady. Once you have made your print­ing blocks – string, lino or both – or pre­pared your bub­blewrap, you’re ready to start print­ing. Spread your ink thinly and evenly onto your tray/glass us­ing the hard ink roller.

STRING-BLOCK PRINT­ING

You will also need:

String Square wooden block (45 x 45mm) Tri­an­gu­lar wooden block 1 Leav­ing a few inches spare, wind the string tightly around the wooden block and then tie the two ends at the back to se­cure it. If you’re making the tri­an­gu­lar block, be aware that the string has a ten­dancy to slip due to the block’s shape, so keep nudg­ing it down as you print to make sure you get neat stripes. 2 Dip the block in the ink and make sure it’s cov­ered. Some ink ab­sorbs into the string so the first dip needs to be thor­ough. 3 Po­si­tion it on your pa­per and press down. Re­peat ink­ing be­tween each print. 4 If you’re print­ing the tri­an­gu­lar block to make the tree shapes, fin­ish th­ese when they are dry by draw­ing the trunk and branches with ei­ther a sil­ver or black pen.

LINO-BLOCK PRINT­ING

You will also need:

Lino (50 x 50mm for each de­sign) Lino-cut­ting tools A pen­cil Trac­ing pa­per Star and/or snowflake-shape tem­plate (printed from www.coun­try­file.com/ make-your-own-christ­mas-card-1) A star-shaped cookie cut­ter (60mm dia) Op­tional: wooden block to mount lino plus hot-glue gun to stick it to block) 1 Fol­low the steps for lino block print­ing on p54. 2 To com­plete the star de­sign use the cookie cut­ter to cre­ate the out­line. Dip your cookie cut­ter into the ink and place it over your pre-printed stars. As al­ways, re-ink the cookie cut­ter in be­tween each print. Why not alternate colours to cre­ate a fun pat­tern?

BUB­BLE-WRAP PRINT­ING

You will also need:

A sheet of bub­ble wrap Scrap pa­per A sil­ver or black thick-nib pen 1 Lie your sheet of bub­ble wrap on some scrap pa­per with the bub­bles fac­ing up. Us­ing the hard ink roller, gen­tly roller the ink over the bub­bles. 2 Place the bub­ble wrap ink-side down upon the pa­per and ap­ply gen­tle and even pres­sure. Peel off the bub­ble wrap, re-ink it and re­peat. 3 When your bub­ble-wrap print­ing is dry, you can start to print on top of it with your tri­an­gu­lar string block to make your tree shapes (as pre­vi­ously de­scribed).

Jenny Price is a de­signer and print­maker based in Som­er­set. When she’s not print­ing, she ex­plores the coun­try­side on her bike. See her work at www.dandylion­jack.com

This card re­quires no paint­ing or draw­ing . Sim­ply down­load the tem­plate from www.coun­try­file.com/make-your-ownchrist­mas-card-3 and print it onto thick card to cre­ate two cards per A4 sheet. Write your Christ­mas mes­sage on the back and then you can fold it to fit in a small square en­ve­lope. The re­cip­i­ent will be sur­prised to re­ceive this un­usual 3D card.

You will need:

Thick A4 card A colour printer A scalpel/scis­sors and a metal ruler Dou­ble-sided tape 100 x 100mm en­velopes 1 Print the de­sign from the web­site onto your card us­ing a colour printer. 2 Cut and fold the card fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions on the print out.

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