Carving takes a long time, but painting stamped images takes me much longer, especially when I am planning to make quite a few cards. In these cases, a layered image seems to make sense.
I have only done two layered cards so far. One was my “nude” The other is my Poinsettia that you see above. This is what I am sending out to a small handful of people for Christmas.
To make this card, I first needed to pick an image. I looked online a bit, but felt uninspired. Then, I realized that I had a beautiful poinsettia sitting feet from me so I started snapping photos. I played with a few of these photos on my go-to photo editing app, Picassa, until I had a posterized image I liked. It took a little messing with cropping, contrast and posterizing before I got one I liked. Note that this one has 4 colors, not the three that I ended up with.
My next step was to isolate these colors into layers. For this, I used Paint.net (another free app). With some input from my creative consultant, Kudichan, and a little figuring it out I eventually figured out how to do it.
Paint.net has a magic wand feature that allows you to isolate a color. I usually do the darkest layer first. You can manipulate the “tolerance” while doing this to isolate everything that is exactly the same color or things that vary a bit from the spot you click to make sure you select everything you want in a layer. When I had my layer isolated, I went to “edit” and “invert selection” to delete everything I didn’t want in that layer. Then, I saved that layer.
For the next layer, you will need to isolate the darkest and the middle layer (black and red here). First, I used the undo button to go back to my original posterized image. Then, I selected the black with the magic wand and then I held down the “CTRL” key to use the magic wand to select the red layer too. When both layers were selected, I inverted the selection again and deleted the layers I didn’t want. I chose to bucket fill the layers I kept black so they would copy better for transfer. Then, save the second layer. Make sure you use “save as” to create a new file rather than erasing your first layer.
The final layer worked the same. I isolated the red, black and green. The green layer included the gray and tan from the original image so I only had 3 stamps to carve.
Here is what I created:
Next, came the printing, transfer and carving. When printing make sure that you print them all the same size (fit to page or not fit to page) and transfer and trim your stamps as precisely as possible. Carving took a little time, but I had them done in two days.
The next part was the hardest part. I don’t use a jig to line up my stamps to print. I used my eye and my precisely trimmed stamps to line up the layers. This method is rarely perfect, but I don’t mind. They ARE handmade after all. 🙂
These prints look more finished trimmed and framed on the greeting cards below, but I was making postcards so theasy prints above are what I sent most people. I like the way they turned out.
I do realize that I could have done these as a reduction and used one piece of rubber. If I did that I wouldn’t be able to make more later. 🙂