Thursday, 17 April 2014

Air Dry Clays from George Weil

Air dry clay is a versatile product that can be used in many craft projects. It dries solid, and yet allows additional clay to be added even after drying. The clay's nylon reinforcing fibres are an excellent bonding agent which reduces brittleness. This means it does not need to be heated, unlike traditional clays that need to be fired in a kiln at a high temperature, or polymer clays that need to be heated in an oven to cure. Air dry clay hardens and cures at normal room temperature and can take between a couple of days and a week to dry completely. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the item, moisture in the atmosphere and room temperature.

George Weil offer the following air dry clays:

Cork Clay for Silver Clay cores
Cork Clay
You can use cork clay to make hollow core silver pieces. Model the cork clay, allow to dry overnight, then cover with rolled out sheets of Art Clay Silver or extruded lines from a syringe. The cork clay burns away in the kiln to leave the hollow core. Cork clay can also be used to make cork coasters, cork boards, and to cover wire work in sculptures. It is lightweight and can be sanded when dry.

Newclay Modelling Clay
Newclay air dry clayNewclay is an off-white reinforced air-drying modelling clay. It is an unique product, providing the attributes of clay with the convenience of other modelling materials, yet it is characterised by being non-sticky and with slow shrinkage during drying. We recommend painting with acrylic based paints once the clay has dried. The clay can also be fired in the range of 1000-1250°C.

Air dry clay from Makin's
Makins Clay
Makin's clay is a smooth and soft air drying modelling clay with a finish comparable to polymer clay and the advantage of not needing to be conditioned before use. The clay dries with normal exposure to air after approximately 24 hours and drying time will vary depending on thickness of clay. After the clay has dried, it can be sanded and painted. To keep work moist, the clay can be covered with a wet towel and unused clay can be stored in an airtight container. Available in a selection of colours.

Air dry clay from DAS
DAS Modelling Clay
DAS moist modelling clay is ready to use and air dries to a hard durable matt finish. It has a smoother finish than standard air drying earthen clays. It is packed and sealed in foil and can be kept fresh in an air tight container. When dry the clay can be painted with acrylic paints and then varnished. Available in white or terracotta.
Air drying epoxy putty
Milliput Epoxy Putty
Milliput is a two-part, cold setting, non shrinking epoxy putty which can be used for repairs and restoration on many types of materials including metals, plastics, masonry, wood, glass and ceramics and can be used in places where welding is impractical.  It is an exceptional modelling medium as once fully cured it can be machined, drilled, tapped, turned, filed, sawn, sandpapered and painted. It will bond to wood, brick, cement, metals, concrete, plastics, glass etc and will set under water and is heat resistant up to 130°C. Available in a selection of colours.

Visit the Model Making section of the George Weil website to learn more about these clays.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Lino Printing Basics

Lino printing is a subtractive process, meaning you cut away the areas you do not want to print. The remaining raised areas are inked with a roller (called a brayer) and a sheet of paper or fabric is placed over the inked lino block. The back of the paper is then either burnished (smoothed) by hand, with a baren tool or with the back of a spoon to evenly transfer the ink onto the paper.

The primary ingredient of lino (or linoleum) is linseed oil, plus other natural ingredients including resins, limestone, powdered cork and wood powder. Lino blocks have either a hessian back or are mounted on fibre-board to give a more sturdy surface to work on.

Lino Printing Blocks
Lino block with hessian backing (left) and fibre board backing

An alternative to lino are the Speedball Speedy-Carve Carving Blocks. These latex-free rubber blocks are easily carved with a lino cutter. They are also very flexible and can be bent around curved objects for printing onto flower pots or jars. The dense rubber also makes the cut blocks ideal for creating imprints on polymer or silver clay.

Carving Blocks from Speedball
Cut Speedy-Carve Blocks

Our Fact File page Block Printing with Speedball Speedy Stamps takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a two colour print using these rubber blocks. The same principles of this process apply to prints created with lino blocks.

The other tools required for creating a lino printing block and print include a lino cutter, a brayer and an inking plate.

Lino cutters usually include a handle and a choice of interchangeable blades.

Lino Cutting Tool
The Speedball Lino-zips Safety Cutter
Brayers for transferring ink onto lino blocks
Brayers in 2 widths
A brayer is used to apply ink evenly onto the block. Ink is squeezed onto an inking tray (a smooth surface such as a large ceramic tile is a good alternative) and the brayer is rolled across the ink until the entire roller is covered with a thin layer of ink.  The brayer is then rolled across the surface of the block to distribute the ink across the surface.

There are a number of methods for transferring the inked block to the surface of the paper or fabric.  Lightweight papers tend to print more easily than heavier weight papers although slightly dampening the surface of the paper will help with transfer.

A baren or burnisher for transferring ink from block to paper
Speedball Baren
The surface of the paper needs to be smoothed (burnished) against the block beneath to ensure all the ink prints onto the paper.  This can be done by hand although it is difficult to apply the correct pressure, with another tool called a baren or with the back of a spoon.  Placing a sheet of acetate or glassine may help to protect the surface of the paper and will also reduce friction.

In addition to the lino printing tools offered on the George Weil website we also offer a large selection of block printing inks.