How to Make a Semiphotorealistic Three-Shade Printcomments (7) December 1st, 2011
I am no stranger to the struggle of crafting gifts for guys, having grown up with three brothers, plus my dad and now my fiance, and it has not really gotten any easier with age and experience. I've been gifting handmade for the holidays since I could hold a pair of scissors, and I've come up with some pretty silly guy gifts over the years (a painted rock paperweight comes to mind), so when I started to get into printmaking, I was excited to make some gifts that I thought the guys in my life might really appreciate.
Freezer-paper stenciling was the method of printing that got me hooked—so simple, low cost, and with so much possibility! This unisex gift concept is completely customizable to any recipient's interests, since you can choose just about any image to turn into a stencil and then print it onto just about any fabric object! Basic stenciling how-to's can easily be found around the crafty Web, so I wanted to share with you this crazy three-shade technique I came up with, for something different. I'll make notes throughout for what you'd do differently if you want to do just a normal one-color print.
- Some kind of photo-editing computer program (and a printer)
- Freezer paper (which has wax on one side only, found in most grocery stores)
- X-Acto knife (with a fresh blade for easiest carving)
- Something colored to print on (shirt, bag, scrap of fabric, etc.)
- Black and white screen-printing ink (or another kind of fabric paint)
- Paintbrush or foam brush
Note about fabric color: This technique prints the image in black, white, and gray, so it must be printed on a fabric that is not black or white. If you want to do a normal one-color print, you can do black print on white fabric, or white print on black fabric. If you really want to print on a black or white fabric with the three-color method, you could do the print in color—for example, on black fabric, use blue, light blue, and white.
First, find your image. The easiest kinds of images to stencil are ones with well-defined lines, which are usually objects—musical instruments, cameras, video game gear, robots, etc. I am doing a face for this tutorial to demonstrate a more difficult image, in case that's what you want to do, but if you're new to this, I'd recommend not choosing a face!
For a print for my guy, I chose a photo of Christopher Walken, one of his favorite icons, so I found a photo online with a good, straight-on shape, with some shadow but not too much. Mine happened to be black and white already, but you can choose a color image, then just make it black and white in your photo-editing program.
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
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