Easy Block Printed Easter Cards

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Easter is very early this year and if you are looking for Easter cards that also happen to look really good look no further than these easy block printed Easter cards.  They also have the added bonus of being fun to make for pretty much any age group!

Block printing is a quick and easy way to get a stunning result. There are a lot of different ways to make a block and the method used in this project can be done by young and old alike. A really good excuse to get your fingers messy!

There are two versions of these cards, one is more traditional, the other a bit funky.


Family Friendly: Yes, with small adaptations can be done by all ages.

Skill Level: Easy. (Some accuracy with scissors needed).

Time Needed: One and a half hours (one hour to make the stamps, half an hour to print)

Approximate Cost: Around £5.00, including the card blanks.


Materials Needed:

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

  • 2 A4 Craft Foam Sheets (if working with young children pre cut foam stickers may be better)
  • Ink Pads (Stamp Pads) in colours of your choice
  • Washi Tapes (optional)
  • Blank Cards and Envelopes (I used these, but many places sell similar).
  • Paper to practice on.
  • Double Sided Tape

Kit Needed:

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

  • Flat Bottomed drinking glasses
  • Ball point pens (one each)
  • Scissors
  • A Hole Punch (optional)

How To Make Easy Block Printed Easter Cards

Step One:

Using double sided tape stick your two pieces of craft foam together to make a double layer. Don’t use glue as it takes DAYS to dry due to the non-porous nature of the foam!

(If you have young children and are using pre-cut foam stickers pick two the same shape as each other and stick one on top the other)

This helps you to have a clearer outline and results in a better print.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Two:

Print out the Easter designs I have drawn up on a piece of paper and cut them out. Draw around them onto the craft foam with a ball point pen. Click here to download.  Block Printed Easter Card Templates

When adding detail you can do it in two ways:

  1. Use the ball point pen to draw the detail (like the zig zag lines) onto the foam shape. Press hard and go over it several times this indent will give you the pattern when you print.
  2. Use scissors and a hole punch to cut the detail out of the two layers. This shows up more clearly when printed with but is more tricky.

Step Three:

Use double sided tape to stick the cut images to the bottom of the drinking glasses. They will come off again with soap and water but you could also use any flat, hard surface that will take a bit of pressure while you print (bits of scrap wood or empty jam jars would also work well). The advantage of using glass is that you can see exactly where you are positioning the stamp!

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Four:

Choose what colour stamp pad you want to use. It works best if you press the pad onto the foam, moving it around as necessary to make sure the whole design is covered in a good layer.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Five:

Print onto your practice paper. Play with different layouts and find some you like. If you want to overlap two stamps in different colours it is best to wait until the paint from the first one is dry.  Always start with paler colours and stamp darker ones over those if you want overlapping designs.

Step Five A (Optional):

If you want to make the funkier version of these cards. Choose five or six designs of washi tape (or alternatively alternate two or three) and stick lengths  from the outer edge of the card. Don’t be afraid to tear the ends at an angle. That slightly ragged finish looks really good. Use scissors at the edge of the card to cut the tape to fit. Then proceed to step six.

Step Six:

Stamp your cards. You will have a good  instinct now for how often to add more ink to the stamp and how to position it. Feel free to use mine as inspiration or a starting point. At this point you will really understand how easy block printed Easter cards are to make. Using glasses as your blocks should make it easier to line up your stamps as you want them.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Seven:

Once your cards are dry, add personalised messages (I often cheat and print out my greeting in a handwritten style font I like, copy it in pencil and then go over it in pen!) You could even add a personalised stamp to the envelopes as well.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

 

Final Thoughts…

I hope that you enjoy making these easy block printed Easter cards. I had fun coming up with them. I would really love it if you would share pictures of your block printing adventures on the Il Magpie Facebook Page.

All things print and printmaking have been on my mind recently. I have been on a fantastic Letterpress printing workshop with Inky and the Beast (more to follow about that!) and I am leading a workshop on the 25th where attendees design, make and print cushion covers with their own blocks. I particularly love this workshop as the students always come up with new and exciting ways to use blocks that I would never have thought of! If you are in the Hampshire area and want to build on your knowledge of block printing from these easy block printed Easter cards you can find more information here.

 

The Handmade Fair 2015: A Crafter’s Dream Volunteer Job

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair last year changed everything for me.  This year I wanted to share a little of why it is such an amazing experience.

The Basics of Being a Volunteer

You volunteer for part or all of the three days of the fair (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and you roll up on Thursday afternoon for the staff briefing and to help set up if possible.  You get your (thankfully shower proof) wristband to allow you to get around the site.

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

I volunteered for the whole three days again this year and I definitely recommend doing that as you get to know people, they get to know you, and you get to be involved with a greater variety of activities.

Be warned it is a very busy three days! One of the reasons that the photos for this post are not top quality is because I was much too busy to carry around and use a DSLR whilst my iPhone was quick, easy and pocket sized!

I spent two days manning (or should that be womanning?) the Information Point and one day helping with the Skills Workshops. Other volunteers helped in the Super Theatre where Kirstie Allsopp introduced and often interviewed famous crafty names such as Charis Williams, Emma Bridgewater, Annie Sloan and Lauren Child.  More volunteers helped out with the “Grand Makes” and Skill Workshops (of which there were 6 themes).

You wear smartish clothes for the days of the fair.

Comfortable shoes are a MUST at the Handmade Fair as you will probably be on your feet from arrival at 8am… Click To Tweet

Be prepared to work really hard and follow the instructions of your expert or the Brand Events staff (they are the organisers).  Volunteers get two tea breaks (although when tends to be a bit hit and miss because of reacting to events) and lunch provided. You also get issued with the obligatory and “glamorous” Hi-Vis vest.

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

The Pay Offs

One of the top benefits of volunteering for me is that you get to help set up and run the workshops.  This means expanding the range of crafts that you understand and at least know the principles of doing.  At worst you get to help the workshop attendees with their pieces, at best you sometimes get to start a piece yourself.

Admittedly there is rarely time for a volunteer to finish a piece to the standard you would like as you have a job to do but you can try new crafts without spending money for the kit and take home your piece.  With crafts that are expensive on the initial outlay (like needle felting or lampshade making) you have a perfect opportunity to see if they hold any joy for you.

Before the workshops start you layout all the materials for that activity ready for the public, you then collect tickets. The experts will tell you what kit to lay out (I had the great joy of working with Rosy Nicholas, Riannon Selcuk, Ellie Jarvis, Jayne Emerson, Claire Gould, Hester Van Overbeek, Georgie Kirby and Sonia Bownes all of which were lovely and very happy to talk to you about their craft, offering tips and inspiration).

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

Once the public are in you get to watch the demonstration and listen to the tips from the experts (all of which you can hear and see because they have microphones and video cameras focussed on their table as they work. There is a bit of background noise (hey, you are in a tent after all!) but generally not enough to cause a problem.

Once the demo is over the experts wander and help the public and so do you.  I met some really amazing people doing this and the atmosphere is wonderful because nearly everybody is doing something they love and there to “have a go”.

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

Workshops this year included Modern Cross Stitch, Clothes Upcycling, Knitting at three levels, Marbling, Calligraphy, Fascinator Making, Cake Pops, Flower Crowns, Gift Wrapping, Papercutting, Origami, Lino Printing, Biscuit Icing, Willow Weaving, Upholstery, Lampshade Making, Stencilling, Shibori Tie Dye, Needle Felting, and of course the obligatory Pom Pom’s!  There is a HUGE range of things to see and do and you get access to that knowledge without buying a ticket!

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

As a volunteer you are quite likely to see the workshops that you are assigned to more than once and I found that a bonus because I really got to see what worked, what the common mistakes were and how to sort them out. No two workshops were the same and I got a huge boost from talking to all the like minded people. Ideas and inspiration were bouncing around like Tigger and I came away with a phone full of notes and ideas which was the quickest way I could record things over the weekend without being distracted from my job.  If I was helping with a workshop I had seen before it was pretty easy to get the public settled and then pop into whatever was going on next door and see what they were up to for ten minutes or so. I was lucky enough to be next door to the Annie Sloan upcycling workshops and picked up a lot of tips. Their Lampshades were particularly beautiful but I didn’t get to take a picture of one 🙁

One expert, who runs workshops herself was even good enough to give me marketing advice for my own business,… Click To Tweet

The next “perk” I found was the shopping!

The Fair has two shopping villages. Being there for all three days gave me ample time to browse all of the stalls.  I admit that the recce was in short bursts in between grabbing a cup of tea or setting up workshops but I managed to get a thorough understanding of what was on offer and make wise decisions in my purchases.

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

When shopping the Fair I fell it that it has a lovely balance of artisans to inspire you (and adorn your person and home!) and craft supplies to play with.  There is no pressure or scrum to buy and the artisans are happy to answer questions and give out cards for your Christmas shopping! I am currently drooling over sewing patterns, lino printing kit, books, and a tapestry kit amongst other things.

I have to be honest and say that what really makes volunteering at the Fair for me is the atmosphere. Yes, you will work hard, yes your feet will be killing you but you will also be relaxed and energised.  Working on the information point just inside the main gate for two days I met a LOT of the people who came to the show, on the Saturday that was roughly 3,000 people. Most people didn’t know each other but they were happy to chat, share experiences and have a laugh.  I ended up with face ache from smiling too much.

The same goes with the other volunteers. A number of us had kept in touch throughout the year via a Facebook group and it was like catching up with old friend.  It also meant that instead of camping this year I had a lovely comfy bed in the home of one of the more local volunteers and since last year a friend.

We were invited to attend the Saturday night drinks with all the stall holders and experts where Kirstie herself was in attendance and happy to mingle and chat.  This took place in the central “foodie” area and the atmosphere was almost like a cocktail party. The event didn’t last the full evening and going out to dinner with a fellow volunteer and one of the experts  afterwards was a really easy walk to a number of great restaurants.

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

Looking at that picture you can see we were having a good time.  That was my friend, fellow volunteer and erstwhile landlady, Dorinda and Origami expert Caroline Preston.

The last of the reliable “perks” is the parking. I know it is shallow but you are guaranteed a free parking space everyday!  At the end of a long day on your feet that is an incredible boon to be able to stagger only a few hundred metres to your car.

I won’t lie there are other things that crop up that give you a huge thrill.

Being a volunteer at the Handmade Fair is the one of the best experiences a crafter can have. Want to know why? Click through to find out.

Last year I helped to count the Pom Poms in the world record attempt for the longest unbroken chain of pom poms.  That meant I got champagne and to meet Kirstie in person.  This year I held one end of the opening ribbon for the Fair two days running and had a front row seat as Kirstie opened the Fair.  The first year volunteers were given a VIP goodie bag as a thank you and I know of volunteers who have been able to request tickets to the event for a friend or family member.

My advice would be not to rely on anything but to relax and enjoy the experience.  In my view it is a really enjoyable and valuable one.

If you are interested in volunteering at next year's Handmade Fair follow their Facebook Page as requests for volunteers are put out via that, usually 3-4 weeks before the event. If you have any questions about being a volunteer I am happy to answer them via the comments on this page or one of my social media channels.

 

 

My Strategy For Framing Clothing

I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it but…

I brought my “attractive” pink  hi-vis jacket from the stint I did volunteering at the Handmade Fair home with me.  The whole event made SUCH an impression on me. I wanted a connection to it as a permanent reminder how much it had inspired and motivated me (after all I would not be embarking on the adventure that I am now if not for that weekend!)

Framing Clothing- Me wearing the Hi Vis Vest Alongside Kirsty Allsopp

 

I decided to frame the jacket and display it in my office/craft room.  This was a bit daunting. Framing clothing looked awkward and I wanted it to hang flat and level.

It seemed sensible to be able to remove the jacket with minimal damage if I ever wanted to, so this ruled out glue or tape.

The easiest option seemed to be using “stitches” at strategic points around the jacket. The jacket could then “hang” from these whilst remaining in situ.

Framing Clothing - Close up of tools used to make holes in the mount board.

 

I used a sharp point to make holes in the mount board where I wanted to put stitches (I think this is some sort of modeller’s tool that I got at Hobbycraft a while ago but cannot find on their website now!)

I then used sewing thread (doubled) to “sew” single large stitches, tied off behind the mount board.

You can see on the image below where I located the “stitches”.

Image showing the location of the stitches put to hold the vest in place.

 

It worked a treat, but  I think heavier weight fabrics would need  more “stitches” to support the weight and possibly heavier thread.

It is amazing to have such a constant reminder of why I do what I do whilst I work and evokes such happy memories.

Image of the final framed item of clothing in situ

 

Home Made Planner Dividers – Getting Organised Step One

I’ve been slowly chipping away at getting organised. and one of the things I am doing is putting together my own diary for next year.  I have purchased a “Dodo PersonalPOD” folder that is the same size as a personal filofax.

Image of "Dodo Pod" Personal Organiser Case

I am in the process of working out what sections I want the planner to have but I have settled on a few planner dividers already;

  • Separate sections for each month with a monthly planner in.
  • More detailed pages for each month that can be put in and removed so that there are no more than three months in there in detail.
  • Bright, cheerful and inspiring.
  • Hard-wearing.

Image of whole filofax with dividers on top of "Mollie Makes" magazine where some papers were sourced

“Molly Makes” issue number 45 had some really lovely free papers in it and I had seen to pictures of American planners that had a lot of inspirational quotes in them (I’m a sucker for a prettily presented inspiring quote) and I wanted to copy that.

I decided to make my own monthly dividers with pretty backgrounds that I would find cheerful and inspiring.  I found some inspirational quotes on Pinterest and printed them out onto photo paper.

I used a computer graphics programme to draw out simple divider shapes and I used a font that I liked to write in the name of the months.  I then cut the papers to fit my printer and printed straight onto them.

Month by month dividers in a filofax folder

Gluing the quotes onto the front, cutting the dividers out, laminating them and hole punching them gave me tough and cheerful dividers.  The whole process took about three hours and I now have a computer file for the dividers that I can use to make dividers for other areas of the planner.

A win/win in my book 😉  Mollie Makes #46 is out now with more free papers.  Time to get my thinking cap on!

The 10 Best Things About The Handmade Fair 2014

As regular readers will know I spent last weekend as a volunteer at the first ever “Handmade Fair”.  The idea was to offer a huge crafty “get together” for crafters and non-crafters alike to learn from each other, share ideas and embrace the amazing feeling that crafting gives you.

What were the best things about this amazing event? It is very hard to even know where to start. In no particular order…

(Please excuse the photo quality but the iPhone was the most practical thing to carry with me as I dashed around!)

#One – The People

There were the most amazing people in attendance.  I was manning the information point inside the front gate for most of the weekend and people were (almost without exception) lovely.  Easy to talk to, friendly and interested.  The staff from the events company (Brand Events), the exhibitors and teachers, everyone.

IMG_0576-0

The queue eagerly waiting to get in on the final morning.

As for my fellow volunteers… words fail me.  They were an AMAZING bunch.  Hugely talented, great fun and we were all united by the sisterhood of the Pink Hi-Vis Vest!

The prestigious Hi-Vis Vest!

The prestigious Hi-Vis Vest!

 #Two – All Crafts Were Embraced

There were workshops on cake decorating, sewing, needle felting, furniture upcycling, crochet, origami, printing, jewellery making, calligraphy, decoupage, knitting, embroidery, making bath salts, gift wrapping, the list goes on… (No wonder Il Magpie loved it!)

Chalk Paint Workshop with Annie Sloane

Chalk Paint Workshop with Annie Sloane

#Three- The Food

There were loads of amazing food vendors to suit almost every taste.  French, Indian, Gluten Free, Mexican, I could go on and on!  There were amazing mobile bars with clever mixologists and to put the icing on the cake they all seemed to have the most amazingly cute transport!

Cake bar anyone?!

Cake bar anyone?!

A touch of Gallic charm.

A touch of Gallic charm.

#Four – The Venue

Where else can you come to work in the morning and be greeted by two bewigged gentleman taking the morning air, or make a new avian friend on the way home?  Hampton Court was a truly beautiful and inspiring.

Hampton Court in all it's glory.

Hampton Court in all it’s glory.

A morning constitutional!

A morning constitutional!

My new friend.

My new friend.

#Five – The Decor

There was bunting galore,

Custom made, beautiful bunting.

Custom made, beautiful bunting.

There was washi tape,

Washi tape cutting table

Washi tape cutting table

And there was origami!

Origami door curtain.

Origami door curtain.

They even thought about how to divide up work stations and protect the surfaces (brown paper and butcher’s twine anyone?!)

One of the "Grand Make" tents ready for action.

One of the “Grand Make” tents ready for action.

#Six – Kirstie Allsopp

The amazing Ms Allsopp was around all weekend.  She was warm, funny, friendly and inspirational.  She always had enough time for people (much to her assistant’s dismay at times!) and may have the world record for the most number of “selfies” taken with her in one weekend.

She hosted the “Super Theatre” all weekend in conversation with many famous crafters (Annie Sloane, Cath Kidston and Kaffe Fassett amongst others) and  refereeing “mash ups” where different crafts competed for supremacy.

Despite this busy schedule she still managed pop up everywhere and even ran a surprise workshop (which I happened to be taking as one of my “perks” for volunteering!)

Kirstie's Surprise Glitter Bauble Workshop.

Kirstie’s Surprise Glitter Bauble Workshop.

Me getting in on the act, photo by Sheree Green - Molloy

Me getting in on the act, photo by Sheree Green – Molloy

#Seven – The Exhibitors and Shopping

There were the most amazing range of exhibitors in the “Shopping Villages”.  Etsy were there and even ran some craft entrepreneur workshops.  There were craft supplies of almost every type and a huge range of very talented crafter selling amazing works that took your breath away.

The thing that impressed me most for a show with the motto “Everyone has a craft they can do”, there were lots of crafters who had made up kits of their designs for those just starting out to buy and follow instructions until they got comfortable with their own crafting “skin”.

#Eight – The “Annual”

As I was selling show guides (or “Annuals”) I was really relieved that they were a publication I could really endorse.

They were half show guide, half “Molly Makes” magazine.  There were the usual maps but I really liked the alphabetical list of exhibitors (with their contact details) which meant I could put a star by the ones I wanted to get Christmas presents from and not have to carry lots of things!

The cutest "Annuals" ever!

The cutest “Annuals” ever!

Not only was there that but there were some very stylish “makes” in there.  A knitting pattern, a cross stitch chart, a paper craft mobile and other items.  There was something worth taking away and keeping to remember the day by.

#Nine – The Experts

Almost all my heroes were there; Annie Sloane, Zeena Shah, Mr X Stitch, Kaffe Fassett, Jane Means.  I even got to meet some of them they were generous with their time and expertise, many of them even ran workshops to let you into some of their secrets!

Experts pitching in and sharing their secrets.

Experts pitching in and sharing their secrets.

#Ten – World Pomination!

The event saw a world record attempt for the most woolly Pom Poms strung together in a continuous row.

They were everywhere all weekend and you couldn’t help but smile as you saw them.  It was even fun being part of the the team sewing them all into one long string.

Sewing up the Pom Poms, does that make me the Pominator?

Sewing up the Pom Poms, does that make me the Pominator?

I was one of a two person team counting them with another amazing volunteer because we were “independent” (i.e. not employed by the organisers) and we counted THOUSANDS of them!

Ready for count off!

Ready for count off!

One, Two, Three...

One, Two, Three…

and because I cannot resist…

#Eleven – The Atmosphere

The whole weekend was so inspirational, positive and buzzing! I made crafty friends I hope to keep for life. I got to experience many new things, see how a large show like this works behind the scenes.  I had more fun than I have had in ages and even better I got to craft!

IMG_0578

 

Displaying My Wares…

I have butterflies in my tummy this week because I am taking the plunge and finally offering some organised crafting evenings to paying customers (gulp!)

I order to do that I wanted to show off a display of the kind of things they could make if they came along.  I needed a display of some sort and it had to meet quite a few criteria:

  • Portable
  • Robust
  • Quick and easy to set up.
  • Attractive (of course), but not take attention away from the product.
  • Flexible
  • Cheap or free!

A couple of months ago I rescued a wooden wine crate from the bin of the wine warehouse next door to where I work (I know, lucky girl on both counts!) and I have been saving it until inspiration hit me.

After a quick trawl of Pinterest (Any excuse ;-)) inspiration struck in combining a number of the things I had seen in my travels.

I waxed the crate using Annie Sloan clear wax and drilled holes at appropriate intervals to hold dowel rod and…

Wine Crate Display Collage

I cut a back board from left over mount board (used during making my “Typographic Kitchen Wall Art”) so the colour of that can be changed whenever I like and voilà!  Total cost £3.65 (for the dowel rod)!

Linking this up to The Turquoise Home’s “Work it Wednesday”.

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