Monday, 28 January 2013

String Prints

Hi and welcome. Today I'm showing a very old method of printing, which I first used at Teacher's College, and then again with a number of students in classes during the years I was teaching. This string block method is also my entry for ABAC Challenge 11, where you were to feature anything that could be theoretically tied. Pop on over to to see the DT makes and other great entries.
Mark-making, as my friend Julie at often advocates, is a fantastic way to make a unique paper, and with printing marrying up with other techniques you truly will have something that cannot be replicated, even by yourself. It allows for experimentation using different mediums and is a great way to alter those 'unloved' papers that often languish around in our stash.
String block printing is a simple process. All you need are: blocks of wood (I've used pine off-cuts which have been lightly sanded to remove sharp edges), PVA glue and string (or any other fibre.... I've used some wools in different textures and thicknesses as well as string).
First, PVA is generously applied to the face of the wood, fibre put down in a pattern, or as in the case of one of the wools, just stretched out (it featured netting strips, bobbles and wisps of wool) and everything left to dry.

Wood blocks showing string and wool designs ready for printing and below, some of the prints using the above blocks.

Then the fun of printing. I experimented with Distress Ink, but found this needed frequent application to get a repetitive print. In the end I went with Distress Stains and had some great results. The best came from the wool. These, with just a small application of stain gave fantastic paper coverage. I ended up with two, 12x12 backgrounds and one A4, from the one application..... a little really did go a long way. I've made 7 print blocks so far but will make more, varying the sizes so I can vary the fibres being used. ( It's also a great way to recycle bits of string and other fibrous packaging, and bits of ribbon and lace that may be too small to use elsewhere).

This post leaves me thinking of everyone effected by yet another weekend of natural disasters in Australia, with the east coast of Qld and NSW being hit by torrential rain, cyclonic winds and severe flooding. Where I am, is safe from flooding, but we have certainly been feeling the force of the wind, the worst I have experienced in my 30 years here. Wherever you are, take care and be safe.

Thank you for stopping by. I love knowing if you have visited. Cheers, Di


  1. WOW I think this looks like fun. Imagine all the possibilities. Thanks for sharing..I am off to have a go.....
    Nelle #33

  2. Hi Diane, I have not seen this done before so thank you for showing it, the backgrounds you have created are gorgeous and are certainly unique. I have been hearing of the weather troubles and can only hope that winds and rain do not cause as many problems as those dreadful fires. Hope things improve soon.

  3. Oh Di what a great take on our challenge this time! I haven't done this for years but my daughter always loved doing this technique - thanks so much for the reminder!
    I hope you are safe and well over there, down there or simply where you are!
    Thanks for joining us again at Anything But A Card.

  4. What a clever idea! You art teachers are fonts of all knowledge and creativity. I'm wondering now whether the new Distress Paints would work with this technique too! Hugs, Jenny x

    1. Jenny, I always used to use acrylic paints at school, so I'm sure the new Distress Paints will work well. You may find you have to thin them down a little with water. Have fun experimenting, I know I will be trying some other mediums as well. Thanks for your comments. Cheers, Di

  5. What fabulous results you have achieved with your print blocks Di. I will have to give this technique a try and can't wait to see how you incorporate them into your beautiful work. TFS. xx

  6. How clever! I love the different textures you created! Thanks for joining us at Anything But a Card!!! :)