How To: Create A Roller Printed Background.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The other day I was making some backgrounds for a couple of project. My camera was right there so I decided to take a couple of pictures as I went along. Making roller prints is one of my favorites methods for adding colour/pattern/texture to a surface. I love the randomness and the fact that you can play with both the positive and negative image of a design is great. It is easy to create exciting results in very little time. The printing block can be almost anything as long as it has a leveled surface. Too bumpy and the paint/design will be picked up too unevenly. I often make great blocks from recycled Styrofoam pizza bases. Here I have used print blocks meant for texturing polymer clay.

On my printing plate, in this case a sheet of thick acetate, I put dollops of acrylic paint of the following colours: 2 blues, white and gold. I like using a selection of coordinated colours. I like the random mixing of the colours and small traces of colour showing here and there in the print.

Load the roller and roll it relatively dry on the acetate sheet. Roll over the print block. Lift the print block and use as a stamp. One can often at least two prints from one paint application. I like the shadow effect as the pattern fades. For my work I prefer to place the print block quite randomly, overlapping building up more or less dense areas.

Then take the roller and carefully roll the negative paint imprint that is left on the roller onto the surface.
When working with acrylic paint you have to work relatively quickly as the paint dries quickly. An extender can be added if one needs a longer opening time before the paint dries. This technique works just as well on paper as on fabric.

The finished sheet of paper. In this case I wanted to keep the white background, but in other cases I have painted the surface with a diluted, liquid dye. The acrylic paint will work as a resist and one can create very exciting results.

Have fun and most importantly PLAY :-)