Woodcut block printing for Kickstarter bonus reward

Test woodcut block print design
Test woodblock design added to wood using black ink

Spontaneous experiment for fun

One of the bonus options for the February Kickstarter will be woodcut print cards. The cards will be from an in-story game called Dok. Dok is the Allfield word for the struggle of good and evil as well as the name of the little card game. It was fun making cards for a game that only exists in a fictional world.

Start with wood

I grabbed some planks of wood and measured some long and narrow card areas. Using a pencil, I filled in a design which I then went over with black ink. That way, I could see it clearly while I hacked away with it with whatever carving tools I could find in the garage studio.

Wood shavings

Printing a few sheets

I made a few rounds of thick handmade paper to print on. Unfortunately, they turned out looking like bacon. My paper was so lumpy I decided to go with regular watercolor paper and let the designs and prints be rustic looking.

My first few sheets came out too ghosty and there was interesting texture. But the ink was not layed on right and too many areas didn’t show up. So I remixed inks for the next round with a better, even consistency. Black also came out as my favorite color ink to use.

Test print a woodcut block print sheet
Test printing woodblock prints (too light) on sheets of watercolor paper using different mixtures of ink and paint.

Cutting and waxing the woodcut cards

In my excitement I forgot to stain and age the cards after I cut them. I could have done it before I polished them with candle wax, but I forgot then too. Browning the paper a bit would have been great for the test, but at least I was pretty happy with the waxing stage. The cards felt smooth and interesting to hold, and no longer seemed just like paper.

Waxed woodcut block prints
After cutting sample prints, card corners are rounded and cards are hand polished with wax. Next round, darker ink and applying an aging stain before the wax polish.

As I get closer to finishing round two of the printing process, I will post official pictures of the final products. I can’t wait to show them.

Leave a Reply