Cardboard `printing press' you can make yourself

Christmas presents you make yourself are fun, and everyone loves to receive them. On Monday and Tuesday, we showed you how to make marbled paper and candlesticks. Today, let's try our hand at cardboard printing. Printing by hand is a way to easily duplicate images to make a pattern. And one of the simplest kinds of printing is with cardboard. It's inexpensive, too. You can repeat a print over and over on tissue to make wrapping paper. Or, using a tablet from the dime store, cut and fold individual sheets to greeting-card size, putting your print on the cover. Inside, write a message or poem in script. Make note paper, borders on stationery, or just frame a print to hang on a wall. What you'll need

Thin cardboard, about 5-by-7 inches or 8-by-10 inches. The back of a tablet, shirt cardboards, and old shoe boxes are good sources.

Thick, cardboard. This must be much thicker than your thin sheet. If you don't have any old cardboard cartons around the house, ask for throw-away boxes at a grocery store.


Rubber cement.

Tempera paint. A jar costs about 50 cents.

A small brush. Both paint and brushes are available in dime stores, drugstores, or chain stores.

Paper to print on: tablet, tissue, or construction paper. Here's how

1.Draw a simple figure (snowman, tree, flower, dog, cat, profile, etc.) on your thick cardboard. (Use a paper punch to make holes for eyes.) Instead of figures, you also can draw shapes - circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, hearts. A word of caution: keep all your drawings simple.

2.Cut out the drawings and paste them onto the thin cardboard. If you're using shapes, combine several to make a design. Let the glue dry thoroughly.

3.With a brush, apply paint to the raised cutouts. Work quickly so the paint doesn't dry.

4.Lay paper over all. With your hand, press only on the raised areas. Lift the paper. Your print probably won't be a solid color. This is what you want because little ``imperfections'' and light areas add variety and texture. If you use thick corrugated cardboard (the kind with ridges in it), some of the low areas may not print. That doesn't matter, just fill in these vacant spots with a few brush strokes.

5.Clean up. Don't leave that job for mom and dad.

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