Easy Blockprinting for Beginners: Japanese Wave Greeting Card | Marie Le Moal | Skillshare

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Easy Blockprinting for Beginners: Japanese Wave Greeting Card

teacher avatar Marie Le Moal

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Your Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Process Overview

    • 5. Japanese Waves: Trace the Template

    • 6. Transfer the Sketch to the Block

    • 7. Stamp Carving

    • 8. Test Print - Let Go of Perfectionism

    • 9. Print 1: Classic Monochrome

    • 10. Print 2: Upside Down Two Colors

    • 11. Print 3: Greeting card with Hand Lettered Message

    • 12. Bonus: Matching Enveloppe

    • 13. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Learn how to carve a rubber stamp to print unique japanese wave greeting cards.


Block printing is easy and mess free when using soft rubber block and inkpads. 

Carve once, use and re-use your stamp again and again! This class is a perfect fit for creative short on time, as you can use your stamp for many creative and DIY projects : greeting cards, giftwrap, framable pritns etc.

What you'll get from this class:

  • Japanese wave template (no drawing skill required)
  • Step by step guidance to carve your stamp
  • Step by step guidance to print greeting cards
  • Hand lettered messages templates to add to your cards


During the class you will learn:

  • what materials are needed (lincutting tool, soft rubber block, inkpad, tracing paper)
  • how to transfer a design on the rubber block
  • technique & tips to carve the stamp
  • how to embrace imperfections of hand-made prints
  • how to explore different ways of printing with a single stamp
  • how to easily add a hand lettered message to your cards

Beginners welcome! You don't need any previous carving exprience, I'll guide you along each step of the process.


By the end of this class, you will have started your own stamp collection you can use for your future creative and DIY projects.

Hope over on my website or Instagram if you'd like to see more of my work! You can suscribe to my newsletter if you'd like to stay tuned!

Meet Your Teacher


I love blockprinting, hand lettering and snail mail! I carve stamps on soft rubber blocks and use inkpads to print patterns and greeting cards. It's perfect for creating even when you're short on time and makes playing with colours ! I like the fact that you can re-use as many time as you want a stamp, on its own or combining it with others. In no time you can create greting cards, gift wrap, customise your bullet journal and so much more!

 I am the happiest when combining the vintage, inky texture of handcarved stamps with calligraphy or handlettering to illustrate meaningfull or fun messages. To complement them, I also work build coordinating seamless patterns which preserve the imperfection and uniqu... See full profile

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Hi. My name is [inaudible] and I'm a Creative based in the South of France. My work combines block printing with calligraphy or hand lettering. Creating beautiful stem made is one of my very favorite thing to do. Block printing makes it very easy. During this class, I will teach you how to carve a rubber stamp and how to create several different greeting cards with it. We will cover Japanese wave stem from the template provided and print three different cards with it. The scale shape is easy to curve and yet offers many printing possibilities. This class is designed to all beginners and there is no previous carving experience needed. All you need to complete the class is a lino cutting tool, some soft rubber block, an ink-pad, and some paper to print on. I love block printing for its versatility and playfulness and the fact that you can use again and again those stamps you've carved. It really is a medium that led me to regular creative practice despite being short on time. The materials needed are not expensive and I find these very freeing as well. Carving in a soft block and printing with ink pads makes a whole process very easy and mess free. Block printing is a perfect fit for creatives short on time and wanting to expand them by zone as it offers so many possibilities. You can implement the techniques learned in class in all your future creative or do-it-yourself projects, whether it is sketch booking, scrap-booking, creating greeting cards, gift wrap, and so much more. By the end of the class, you will be able to cover rubber stamp from a template or from your own design, and use it to create very different patterns to create cards and so much more. Almost one years old that curving is highly addictive and before you know it, you'll have a wall stamp collection. I hope you'll join me in the class. [MUSIC] 2. Your Project: [MUSIC] Class project is a Japanese wave print or greeting count. You recreate this print with a stamp, we will curve in a soft rubber block. Depending on your personal preference, you can also have a hand-written message to complement your greeting card. You will learn how to transfer the Japanese wave design from the template provided to the rubber block, and how to curve actual stamp or block we will use to prints the greeting cards. Then we will see how to create at least two different patterns arrangements with different code of shades using only warning pad and the stamp curved in the glass. First, you will print two different patterns arrangements, and then you will create a greeting card with a message complementing your card by preserving some whitespace when you print. To add a warmer effect and make your greeting card even more spatial, there is always bonus lesson so that you can learn how to quickly create a matching envelope as well. To complete the project, you would need a lino cutting tool, a soft rubber block, an ink pad, some tracing paper, as well as cards or paper to print on. Upload your project in the project gallery, whether it is a picture of your stamp or work in progress seen, or once you've completed your project. Once you're familiar with the skills teaching of class, you will be able to create one of a kind paper goods such as greeting cards or gift wrap in no time. You can use again and again the stamps you curve, and you can start combining them when you got your own collection. If you've got any questions, feel free to reach out in the discussion section. To get started, you need to follow the link in the project and resources section to download this template. [MUSIC] 3. Materials: Here is what you need to complete your class. First, align your cutting tool such as the Essdee beginner set, for instance. Beginner sets are budget-friendly options. They come with several blades and one handle. You will also need a soft hover block. The most common ones are Speedy carve by Speedball or the Factis artist carving block by the Factis brand. They both are very similar and of great quality. Depending on where you live, you can find some other brands as well. You will also need an ink pad of your favorite color. My favorite ink pads are VersaFine Clair and VersaFine, by the brand Tsukineko, which is widely distributed. They are offered on many vibrant colors. Today, I will be using the blue belle color by VersaFine Clair. But of course, you can pick any color you would like. Don't feel like you have to use that particular brand. Any ink pad from the craft department or store will do just as good. Of course, you'll also need some paper to print on. I like using the Clairefontaine paper paint on, which is both very thick and quite cheap, and is available in many different formats. But today, I will be using the A5 smooth surface paint on paper by Clairefontaine. You can print on any paper that you've got at home as long as it's not too thin. That said, I always run test prints on printer paper and I get decent results with it as well. The texture of the paper you will use will affect the stamp prints and it's really a matter of personal preference, whether you'd like to work with a smooth or textured surface. Feel free to test different paper options so that you can pick the one you prefer. You will also need a pencil, a pen, a ruler, and one eraser to complete the project. While you can complete your class with only these items, I would really recommend having some washi tape or painter tape, as well as some tracing paper as it would make the wall project much easier. You would also need envelopes matching the size of the paper you're using if you want to complement your greeting cards with an eye-catching and printed envelope. If you have a cutting mat to protect your desk or table when carving, go ahead and grab it. But don't worry if you don't, any piece of cardboard will do. Gather your materials and I'll see you in the next video. 4. Process Overview: In this lesson, I will detail the process step by step from scratch to finish so that you can visualize it before starting. It's really helpful to know the different steps we will be taking before even starting the project. First, you will need to print the class resource documents that features the template. To do so, just click on the link of the project in resources tab. You will immediately receive an email with document you can then print. Once you've got the document printed, you can use some tracing paper to trace over the template. We will then use our designs sketch on the tracing paper to transfer it onto the rubber block. Why you can't sketch directly on the rubber block? It is much easier to have a sketch beforehand. By then, your stamp would be ready to be curved. There will be a lesson focusing on how to easily curve your stamp and make sure you are happy with your result. Once you've got your stamp, we can start having fun testing out different printing layouts to create prints and greeting cards. To test and combine different printing techniques, first, we will print a classic monochrome layout arrangement of our Japanese waves. Then, we will print an upside down overall pattern with two shades of blue using only one ink pad. We can then move on to create greeting cards. To do so, we will use paper masks to preserve white space where we can add a message in. In this example, we will print a pattern on the wall card accepted in the central circle part. There are also in-written messages included in the class households document that you can trace if you'd like to. There is a bonus lesson where we will see how to create a matching envelope if you want to send beautiful snail mail to friends or family. If you haven't downloaded the template yet, follow the link in the project and resources section and print the stamp template so that we can get started. 5. Japanese Waves: Trace the Template: [MUSIC] Now that you've got your template printed, it's time to trace over it. The easiest would be to cut a piece of tracing paper slightly bigger than the design. Place the tracing paper on top of the design and make sure to hold it properly. You can even add a piece of washing tape to maintain it in position when you're tracing, if you find it helpful. I recommend filling in with pencil all the areas that are black on the template. By doing so, carving will be much more easier. Indeed, you won't have any doubt regarding which areas of the design needs to be carved away and which we need to stay. In short, all the black and colored lines of your sketch will stay and will carve everything that is of the block coral. [MUSIC] Trace the template and you're ready to move on to the next lesson. 6. Transfer the Sketch to the Block: [MUSIC] Once you have the template twist, it's time to actually transfer it onto the block so that we can start carving. Flip the tracing paper onto the block so that the pencil sketch is in contact with a block. At this point, it really doesn't matter if the design is not aligned or anything. The only key thing is to hold it firmly so that it wants more. You can add a piece of washing tape to help you keep it in position. While holding the tracing paper, you can start verbing with your firm the tracing paper to transfer the sketch on the block. Make sure you verb the entire scale shape before we moving the tracing paper forms a block. You can lift a corner of the tracing paper to check that you wrote over the wall design. If for some reason, the design has not transferred properly, I would recommend you to just start over again. Having a neat and clean transfer is essential to cover stamp that you will be happy with. We are now ready to carve. Join me in the next lesson so that we can start carving. 7. Stamp Carving: [MUSIC] For this lesson, you will need your liner cutting tool. So design you have just transferred to the block and a cutting mat or piece of cardboard to protect your desk. First, there's a couple of safety rules to follow to make sure curving remains an enjoyable moment. The end of the blade of the cutting tool is very sharp, so make sure not to touch it. The most important safety rule is to always carve away from you. Cutting tool to never be pointed towards you no matter what position you're in. As a matter of fact, holding the block instead of your hand is both safer and easier when carving. The hand holding the block must be kept away from the cutting tool trajectory as well. So that you don't injure yourself in case of slip. To make your curving easier, use Exacto knife or pair of scissors to cut a piece of rubber block that is slightly bigger than your design. It will allow you to rotate the block freely when carving. To carve the stamp, we will first choose the smallest blade size of the kit. So number of the blade is carved on its back. First, screw the fair hole of the handle, but don't tight it completely. Then insert your blade and tighten the fair hole. Your tool is now ready. Before jumping into curving your stamp, it's worth taking a few minutes to test your tool on these copies of soft block. Place the one hand of the handle in your palm and your index on the [inaudible] It is important to have deep enough for the designed to show on the print, but not too deep either. The line width depends on the pressure you exert on the cutting tool. So more pressure you exert the wider the line will be. It's important to keep the angle between the cutting tool and the table as steady as possible and the angle would be 130 degrees. By doing so, the width of your line won't change. Try carving a straight line as well as some curves. Notice, Oh, I not only adjust my hand but also the block position so that I always feel comfortable and not end up in an awkward position. You can see here how much of pressure affects the line width. The first one is much wider, while I use here is the exact same blade. Once you feel ready, grab your Japanese Wave Design. We will carve everything that is of with the block color. So in my case, all blue will go away and we'll keep the dark pencil lines. Start carving the outer edge of the scale shape. I'm left-handed and I find it easier to rotate my block clockwise. If you're right-handed, you may feel more comfortable to rotate it counterclockwise. You can notice my snail pace. I think it's really worth taking your time and at patience of process. Not only it's really relaxing, but it will also allow your lines to be really smooth and consistent. You can carry on by carving the interior lines. If you start feeling any tension on your hand or waist, just take your break. Don't fully issue, don't carve perfectly along the lines. [MUSIC] Once you're done carvings into your lines carve along those K borders. Now it's time to carve a wider area along the scale shape. To do so, insert a larger blade and go along the lines of code. You can then use the Exacto knife to trim the block. Try to trim as closer the design as possible without damaging it. It will make printing and aligning the stamps easier. [inaudible] our stamp is ready, and I can't wait to test it. I hope you're happy with your stamp and are ready to test. Don't worry if you think that your stamp is a way too imperfect or that you've messed up some of the areas because it's the next lesson we will look at how we can fix that. 8. Test Print - Let Go of Perfectionism: [MUSIC] You can now grab an inkpad and some draft paper. We will test our stack. Let's see how it turns out. Don't feel like you can't adjust anything. Of course, there's no way to bring back any excess materials that you've carved away accidentally. But you can refine your carving again and again until you are happy with all it prints. For instance, you may want to keep or note any bad pronouns that prints out. Tabs, a stamp pad until it's fully covered with. Top you stamp with confidence on the paper. It's important not to move it once it does touch a paper, if you don't want the ink to smudge or hand up with a double print. Here, for instance, I'm not really happy about this wonky line which gets senior here, and I will try to improve it. Test print once again and repeat the process until you are happy with the result. I'd like now to show you some close-ups of my prints and stand so that you can see all imperfect they are. I'm pretty happy about OSes thinking of your card turned out. But if you look closely there just so many imperfections. Here, for instance, I didn't her lines systems properly and he handed up with a gap between the two elements printed. On the top here that's the opposite and there is an overlap between two elements printed. There you can see some inconsistency in zinc in column. I actually really like it, but I think it's just a matter of personal preference. I use masking tape to preserve the white border, and you can see that some of the edges are not very crisp. In that corner here, the print fades away before the border and I'll stop here. But I really could go on and on regarding how many imperfections I could spot. Let's have a look at this one now. I can't see any big gaps or overlaps as I showed you on the previous piece. But if you look closely, the alignment is just really far from perfect. You can especially see that's the bottom, for instance, there's also quite a lot of texture, and here for some reason some parts didn't really print and I've got some white how we apps. I like this look with a lot of texture. But if you prefer a cleaner, neater print, it's also something you can easily achieve. Small size of paper, so less texture you'd get. It's also important to make sure that your inkpad has enough ink, and here I think mine, I would have needed beefy. These two example and are really far from perfect. But I don't think it makes them less beautiful. They've gotten and made feeling of similar designs that would be drawn digitally, will lose and actually think it makes them even more special. I really hope this close-up will make you relax, let go of perfectionism, and just have fun when printing. 9. Print 1: Classic Monochrome: [MUSIC] I hope you're ready to print. For this first pattern, we'll go for a classic monochrome layout. I've chosen to print it on a portrait format, but really it would work just as good on a landscape format. Choose whichever you prefer. Here is our first pattern that we'll print. There's only one card on and the stamp will be printed in only one direction; the tip pointing towards the bottom. We'll start by printing the bottom rows and the second one and so on. In terms of composition, you could go for an overhaul pattern that fills the card or keep some white space. If you do so, I think the best would be to print either 2/3 of the card like me or 1/3, but I don't recommend to print half the card. I've got a piece of paper I'll print on already in position. Below, I've taped this card piece of paper that is larger than my card to protect my desk. Let's ink our stamp and print the bottom-left corner. To make the alignment easier, I've aligned the left and right edges of the stamp with the bottom of the paper. Carry on, placing next to the first print the second. Try to stay as horizontal as possible. If you find it easier, you can also trace a guideline with pencils that you'd erase later. For the second row, place your stamp as close to the first one as possible. Don't worry too much if there are some tiny overlaps of gaps between two prints. Beware of inky fingers that could ruin your print. Having baby wipes close by comes in very handy. [MUSIC]. There we have our first Japanese waves print. Now that you have printed the first pattern, we will explore how we can arrange the stamps differently to obtain a very different look in the print. We'll also see how to create different shades of the same code on only using one ink pad. 10. Print 2: Upside Down Two Colors: [MUSIC] We're going to print another whole patterns with two tones of blue. To do so, we will print two times without re-inking. By doing this, the second stamp will be of a lighter blue color than the first one. I think it add depth and interest to your print without needing to use several ink pads and have to clean the stamps in between using different colors. Here is what we'll print in this lesson, an upside down overhaul pattern with two shades of blue. To achieve this with a single ink pad, we'll print try stamps without re-inking. First, we'll ink the stamp as in the previous video, print and get the darker blue shade. Then we'll put a second time to get a lighter blue. Let's have a look at the composition now. The dark blue waves are printed vertically. Once, the pointed tip points towards the top, and once it points towards the bottom. The row just above our stamps have the light blue color, and they are printed always entirely. Once the tip is on the left, and once it is on the right. It's important to remember this when printing, and the easiest is to keep your reference picture to prevent from messing up the pattern. Let's get started. First, I'll do guidelines with a pencil to make sure that my first stamp is properly aligned. As long as your lines are perpendicular to the edges of the card, it doesn't matter where you start printing. Grab a piece of draft paper as well because we'll need it when printing. I'll keep this one close-by for reference. I think I'm all set up, and I will start by printing the first dark blue stamp using my guideline to make sure it is well in position. If we don't re-ink this one, we'll have a light blue color. Hence, it has to be horizontal. Now I'm re-inking, and then we'll print a second dark blue stamp. If you're not sure what color is left on you ink pad, just re-ink it. You can use a scrap paper to remove the first layer of color if you need to print a lighter blue shade. You can keep going, keeping in mind which color goes where. [MUSIC] I hope you've enjoyed the second way of printing Japanese waves. I think the two patterns we've printed are very different and yet they use the same single stamp and color. It really gives you a taste of what is possible when you start combining stamps and colors. Block printing is very versatile and playful, and I know I completely lose sense of time when I start exploring other printing possibilities. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to easily preserve some white space so that you can add a hand-written message to your greeting cards. 11. Print 3: Greeting card with Hand Lettered Message: In this lesson, we are going to print a wave pattern using the techniques seen in your previous videos and use speaker masks to create whites pace where you can then had unwritten message in. I've included in the class resource several hand made written messages that you can trace over if you'd like to. I love this simple technique to mask some of your print because you can easily create one of a kind cards or post-sales featuring your favorite quotes or messages. To complete a project, you need to get in a draft piece of paper a circle of diameter 5.5 centimeters. First, I'll taste the diagonals to mark the center of my paper. Plus wash your tape on the circle cut-out and stick it in the center of your card. It is the same pattern that so one we've printed in the last video, but in a monochrome version. I will start by printing the bottom hole. Once again, I use a card edge as a reference to allowing in my block. Here, I have moved a little bit at standpoint. It was already on the paper, so the ink I've smudged. I hope it will be okay, and I'll just carry on. [MUSIC] When you get to the holes that will be printed both on the card and on the paper mask, make sure to apply enough pressure on the stamp so that it prints properly on the edges of the mask. [MUSIC] Now that we've got the overall pattern printed, let's remove the paper mask. Here is a blank circles where we can have the message. I would recommend to trace guidelines to make sure your text is centered and always on top. You can write your own message or use a template provided if you feel more comfortable doing so. I always write it first in pencil to make sure I'm happy with how it looks before moving on to inking. Let it dry for a few minutes. You obey your guidelines and your card is ready. Feel free to experiment with different shapes and sizes of the paper mask to create various cards. If you'd like to make just name made look even more special, you can apply the same techniques to create a matching envelope. So jumping in the next video for some beautiful name made inspiration. 12. Bonus: Matching Enveloppe: [MUSIC] Here are some matching envelopes I have printed. For the first one, I've printed an eight centimeters wide stripe of the monochrome classic layout pattern. Here is the same, but with two shades of blue. This one is more busy, and I don't like it as much. It features an overhaul pattern with only white rectangular preserved for writing down the address. For this lesson, I have decided to go for stripe on the left on the envelope with the same patterns and we've printed as a previous lesson. What I'll do first is trace a vertical line eight centimeters from the left edge of the envelope. All done. My line isn't straight. That's better. Place a piece of scrap paper along the line you've just traced to make sure not to print to rest of your envelope. You can tape it down with some washing tape to maintain it in position. I'll just keep our card close by for reference, and start printing [MUSIC]. Here is our beautiful snail mail set friends and family will be free to receive. 13. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] I hope you've enjoyed the class and are proud of your greeting cards and prints. Please show a picture of what you have created in the project section. I would love to see your cards and prints. I have included in the class resource document a blank template of the same scale shape we used to carve Japanese wave stamp of the class. If you'd like to get started with your own stamp collection, it is an easy way to do so. I very much like to record in this class to share about what I love. If you've enjoyed it, I would love if you could leave me a review in the review section. It is my first Skillshare class, but I will be creating new ones related to block printings, snail mail, and hand lettering. Follow me if you'd like to hear about them. We can also connect on Instagram. My handle is @marie.mindthegap. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me and happy block printing. [MUSIC]