I love getting a card with a hand-made touch, don’t you? There’s nothing like opening the Jewish New Year with a unique card made just for you.
If you don’t have the energy to hand-draw cards (and let’s face it, who does) using a printmaking technique is the best way to make multiple cards with that personal feel. I use a reductive (that means whatever you carve away is the white space on your paper) printing technique called linocut, because honestly? The carving process is really relaxing after a long day. And it’s easy, so if your kids are old enough to handle scissors, they can join along.
For a simple Rosh Hashanah card, I decided to carve linoleum stamps of an apple and a pomegranate. Festive and sweet.
Now, you may not want your kids anywhere near a sharp object. That’s fine. Have them prep the paper by coloring it with some nice watercolors while you’re getting your stamp ready. A trick that watercolor artists use and that is great for craft time: tape your nice paper to the table with some artist tape. That way, it won’t crinkle or move!
I use easy-cut linoleum for the stamp. You don’t want mounted linoleum, because it’s harder to cut. I’m a grown woman and I’ve cut myself plenty of times using mounted linoleum, so keep your kids safe and don’t use it.
You want to draw an apple or a pomegranate on your linoleum, and then carve around it with this cutter. If you don’t feel comfortable drawing, print out a drawing of an apple or a pomegranate, trace its outline on tracing paper with a pencil, then turn the tracing paper on top of the linoleum and rub it on with a barren or the back of a wooden spoon. It should transfer on easily.
Use a thin blade at first to carve around the shape, then remove the rest of the linoleum around with a thicker blade. You want to carve away from your body and not towards you (accidents happen!).
You can also let your kids cut the shape out with small scissors, if you’re weary about the cutter.
To print your stamp, roll some paint on with a brayer (it’s a fancy name for a printmaking roller). There’s special ink for block printing, but you can basically use any type of water-based paint. Then you put some nice paper on top of your stamp and gently rub it with a barren or the back of a wooden spoon. Voila! Re-apply ink and repeat until you have all those beautiful cards ready. You can even use an inking pad if you prefer!
Another cool thing about these stamps is that they last FOREVER. And you can print them on fabric, too. Just get oil-based inks and you can print these on t-shirts or tote bags and give them away as holiday presents!
Watch me demonstrate this technique bellow: