Monday, May 21, 2012

Testing out new material: soft linoleum

Greetings everyone! Hope you are having a fantastic Victoria Day long weekend, full of letterboxing goodness!

Thin soft grey linoleum on the left, largest size of Speedy Carve on the right.
I've been doing some excellent letterboxing myself, which I will likely recount here later, but I just wanted to check in and tell you how happy I am with a new carving material I tried out recently.

The short story is this: all in all, I would definitely use it again.  It carves really, really well with both knife and gouge.  The stamping registrations are the best of any material I've used, by FAR, and the price certainly can't be beat.
There are some definite downsides with this stuff - I think the dark colour will make xylene transfers hard, if not impossible, for detailed carves, and the stuff has to be mounted - it is far too thin to be just put in a box by itself.

I have no idea what it is really called, but it is a dark grey, thin, flexible, linoleum that I bought at DeSerres for super cheap ($7 with no coupon for a size comparable to the $30 sized pink stuff from Michael's).

Anyways, see the pictures below for my comments.  I'm going to try with some transfers - I'm wondering whether my colour laser printer that transfers nicely might not work if I print in yellow rather than black... stay tuned!

Trying to free hand draw - you can see how thin this stuff is and how hard it is to see the pencil lines.

I went over my drawing with black Sharpie - much easier to see.  Carving with the gouge was an absolute pleasure.

You can see how thin it is here - I could actually cut the material with a standard pair of scissors.

Cut out and outlined - probably less than 30 seconds after I started.

Done carving - just have to cut the image out to get rid of the background.  I did this with a hobby knife, was super easy.

Mounted it up just like I would any other stamp.

Show time: absolute flawless registration.  I literally gasped when I saw it: the stamp registration dark areas are completely coloured in when using ColorBox pigment ink, hardly having to press at all. The areas in the lower left are lighter only because of the shine from the wet ink - the whole dark area was inked really nicely.

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