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Swedish Dala Horse Block Print

I love dala horses. My grandfather's family originated from Sweden and when I was little I received these Swedish handcrafted wooden horses as gifts. I thought a block print of a dala horse would be so cute to use for notecards, clothing and garland.

I decided on a simple image to use on both paper products and clothing:

To make a block print, you'll need:
Speedy-carve block
Basic carving tool set
Brayer
Screen printing ink or fabric paint for printing on fabric or craft paints if printing on paper
Small piece of glass (I took mine from an discarded photo frame)

Step 1: Print off your image in reverse and make sure it fits onto your carving block:


Step 2: Transferring the image to the block. Use a warm iron to transfer your image from a freshly printed laser or ink jet image. Just press firmly, make sure not to melt your block and burnish the back of the paper periodically until you start to see the image left behind on the block.

The transferred image will be fairly light but you can see it more clearly by tilting it in different light.

Use a pen or pencil to draw in your image more clearly:

Step 3: Carving out the image. Using your carving tools carefully carve out the outline of the image and all the "negative" areas:

Carefully carve out the area around the image:

And finally, cut out around the image as shown below:

Step 4: Applying ink to your print. Apply a small amount of ink or paint to your piece of glass. Using the brayer, roll a small area out to a thin even layer:

Using the brayer, apply a thin, even coat of ink to the block carving:

Place the carving face down on fabric or paper and press firmly. Carefull lift up to reveal the printed image.

Your first print will be a test to see which areas of the block you still need to carve out....you can tell in the image below that some areas were left outside of the horse image that needed to be carved out:

With a little practice you will get a perfect print:

I used this particular dala horse print as an applique for a shirt. Make sure to heat set your prints if you are printing on fabric.

Some ideas? You could print a pillow, a t-shirt or the bottom border of a dress. You could also print on paper to make some simple artwork, notecards, garland, or a notebook cover for a gift!

Shopping list:

Speedy-carve block

Basic carving tool set

Brayer

Screen printing ink or fabric paint for printing on fabric or craft paints if printing on paper

Small piece of glass (I took mine from an discarded photo frame)

Dala Horse (Feel free to use my dala horse image to make your own print!)


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