Printing Labels with Thermofax

We have just launched our Ready Made Thermofaxes in a
smaller size. The designs are the same as the Medium Ready Mades – just smaller (most images are about 6cm square). Thermofaxes are like a light weight
screen and are great for printing your own textiles or papers. If you don’t know what a Thermofax is hop over to our earlier blog here

We get lots of enquiries from customer’s wanting to create their own labels and brand their products. There are a couple of options we recommend for this
depending on the product and what kind of image the branding is, some people carve a stamp from Speedy Carve or MasterCut and use this with Versacraft ink pads, others send us their designs and order an exposed screen. The alternative to an exposed screen would be a Thermofax. A Thermofax is not as hard wearing as a screen but is
more lightweight and cheaper. The designs are little less accurate as a Thermofax screen is made by hand so the tension of the mesh is not so tight. 

The great thing about Thermofax screens is that they can be used for printing on paper or on textiles. We recommend using either fabric screen printing inks or fabric paints for printing on textiles and acrylic screen printing inks for paper or card. 

If printing on paper is is recommended that you use a light squirt of something like Spray Mount to keep the paper in place when printing. 

If you are printing on fabric it is always recommended that you pin your fabric to your padded print surface – to ensure you get a sharp print. 

We have also made Thermofax screens for customers fed up of sewing name tags into uniforms – what a time saving idea!

A weekend with LinocutBoy

This past weekend we had Nick Morley AKA LinocutBoy come to our studio to teach a weekend course in Multi Block Lino.

On the Friday evening he came and gave an illustrated talk and demonstration. Nick is softly spoken but his dry sense of humour was obvious in both his
talk and his prints.

We were very lucky that at the end of the evening he printed some Tea Towels for our WaterAid print exchange – click here for further details – who knows if you participate you might be lucky enough to receive one of his printed Tea Towels? 

The weekend course focused on multi-block linocuts. The participants learnt how to design, carve and print multi-blocks by hand and using a press.

In addition Nick also taught how to sharpen tools, transfer designs to the lino, mix transparent and opaque colours, ghost printing, process colours and
their interactions, and how to register designs accurately. 

We put together a video that we hope captures the essence of the weekend (please excuse the cheesy music!).


We are very to happy to report that we have two further weekend courses with Nick Morley the dates are 21st and 22nd April 2018 and 24th and 25th November 2018

Here are a selection of the final prints.

Meet the Maker: Laura Danby

Hello! My name is Laura Danby and I am an illustrator / designer / print maker and creator from sunny Brighton! Inspired by simple iconic Scandi folk artwork
and retro styling from the 50s, I love taking a form and simplifying it into a bold design which can be printed, patterned, made into jewellery and

Describe your printmaking process.

I generally use Adobe illustrator to create my artwork in, unless its a paper cut stencil. When the design is ready. I print my separations onto acetate
and expose my screens for each colour. Once the screens are prepped and dry, I tape over the edges and any bits I don’t want to print. Mix my ink up
and print away!

How and where did you learn to print?

I was given a gift to do a weekend’s screen printing course at West Dean College. I absolutely loved it and totally got the bug. I met my lovely tutor
Jane Sampson, who I discovered ran a studio 10 mins walk away from my home in Brighton. So not only did I learn a new skill, I came home knowing it
was totally possible to carry on my new passion!

Why printmaking?

I am originally a designer, so I do love a sharp line! I love how screen printing gives me a slick, sharp edge in perfect flat coverage but still using
thick ink. It gave me the finish I was looking for. Plus I find printing is really therapeutic… once all the setup is done, I really enjoy the
process of squeegeeing! I get into a rhythm with it. There is always that added excitement when you lift the screen to see if it has come out right!

Where do you work?

I recently gave up my day job to do my illustrating and print making which I am absolutely loving. So I can say I now work for Laura Danby Enterprises!!!

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I have recently moved into the One Girl Band studio space in the North Laines in Brighton, which is filled with inspiring entrepreneurial women following
their own path. So my typical day would be first coffee, nothing can happen without coffee! Then my next job is to package up yesterday’s orders and
answer my emails. Each day differs but general jobs would be to make stock for my shops, work on new pieces and prototypes, photograph products, list
items and keep my online shops up to date and running smoothly. I also do graphic design / branding work and this week I’ve been working on an illustration
for a magazine. To screen print I use local studios Ink Spot Press and Tidy Print, I tend to wait till I have a few designs, then go and blitz them
in a day or two. All this squeezed into between 9.30 and 2.30pm… my to do list is never ending!!

How long have you been printmaking?

About 5 years now.

What inspires you?

Nature, Scandinavian folk art, interior design, geometrics, travel and tropical wildlife inspire me to name a few!

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Hmmm tricky one, I love them all! I have been prototyping some new metallic patterned purses recently and they were simple patterns printed in metallic
ink (gold, silver and copper) onto a thick black linen. They were such a pleasure to print! Single colour and so simple, yet really rewarding! They
were then cut up and made into purses, backed with a crushed glitter fabric. So the result is luxurious and super shiny!

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Probably my toucan sitting on a big monstera leaf. I was so pleased with the design the way it came out when printed. It was a five colour screen print,
which tested my patience with the registration! I printed it on a thick watercolour paper, so the texture shows through the ink.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

Online I sell on Etsy and Not On The High Street.

I am starting work with a few hand picked stockists, but as I am only a one woman company, I have to be realistic about what I can achieve in the time
frame I have. My big task in the next few months is to get my own website into an e-commerce site.

What will we be seeing from you next?

Good question! I have a few products prototyping that I plan to launch in the next few months. More illustration work, more series of images, more patterns
and definitely more screen printing. I have a dream to produce a set of enamel picnic ware, which has been a goal for a while. Watch this space!

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Follow your dreams! I feel so lucky that I am now making a living from my hobby. Its so refreshing to get off the computer and roll your sleeves up and
get mucky and covered in ink!

There are lots of ways to see more of Laura’s wonderful work:





Collagraph Printing


Collagraphy is a really versatile printing process in which a textured plate is inked up and put through a press. Different textures hold varying amounts
of ink and print different tones. Anything with a low relief texture can be stuck down and used: wallpaper, leaves, fabrics, tapes and threads etc.
The collagraph plate is then varnished and can be printed intaglio or relief. This is our method of creating and printing collagraph plates intaglio.

If you would like to start with something a little quicker that does not require varnishing your plates, try our Easy Cardcut Collagraph project featured earlier on our blog.

Start with a piece of mount board cut to size. Begin choosing and cutting down the pieces to stick on top. We started with some thin cotton. Stick your
fabric down with PVA glue. Take care where you paste your glue as areas of PVA will print differently when inked up.

Drizzled PVA glue creates a raised area that can be wiped clean whilst holding ink around the edges.

Use carborundum sprinkled over PVA glue to create a rough texture that holds lots of ink.

Try open weave fabrics such as scrim.

Threads will hold ink too – experiment with gluey threads dropped onto the surface.

Another way of creating a textured collagraph plate is by using filler. Use a palette knife to spread a thin layer of paste onto the block. The edges of
the filler will create the most contrast in your print so use them creatively.

Pressing and drawing textures in the block will create more areas for the ink to be held.

Pressing objects and fabrics into the filler will change the texture of the plate.

When your plate is completely dry (this usually takes a couple of hours) it is ready to be varnished. Shellac works very well at protecting and strengthening
the plate and making it wipe-able.

Again, allow your plate to dry completely (another few hours) and then you are ready for inking. Prepare your paper by soaking it in a tray of water. We
are using a 300gsm paper stock as it needs to be strong enough to be strong when wet and not tear when embossed with the raised areas of the plate.

We are using Hawthorn Stay Open Oil Based Inks mixed with Linseed Reducing Jelly – this reduces the ink to a more workable consistency for intaglio printing. You only need a little linseed jelly to dramatically change the consistency
of the ink. The Dense Black ink that we used is particularly sticky so we used the quantities shown below.

Work the ink into the plate with a stiff brush – a toothbrush works perfectly. Pay particular attention the the areas that you want to hold the ink.

Work the ink into the plate using a piece of scrim. Use the scrim
to begin to clean the ink of the mount board ground and any other areas that you want pale.

Use a flat piece of tissue paper to polish the plate, concentrating on the pale areas. Finish by using a clean piece of fabric to clean the edges and any
areas that you would like to print as close to white as possible.

When your plate is inked up, place it on the press bed. Use a registration sheet like the one shown below to ensure your print is centred and straight.

Remove your paper from the tray using paper fingers as seen below to keep it clean. Blot between pieces of blotting paper. You want the paper to be damp
but not wet. This way it will draw the ink out of the recessed areas of the plate.

Put your paper on top of the plate and through the press. Remove your print to see the result! If the pressure is correct, you should see an embossing
on the back of the paper but none of the areas should have pushed all the way through! If your print is very pale there may not be enough pressure.
If your print is too dark and sticky there is too much ink and your plate needs more cleaning before printing. You will need to re-ink your plate before
printing again.

For plates made with filler, ink up and print in the same way.

You can print your plate in different colours by printing a la poupée – using a wad of fabric to ink different parts of the plate separately. You can also
use a brush as before, concentrating on each area at a time in your desired colour. The colours will blend a little when cleaning the plate with scrim
and tissue.

Clean up the your plates, inking slab and tools with Zest-it – a more environmentally friendly alternative to white spirit.

To make your own collagraph you will need:

  • Mount board
  • PVA glue
  • Fabrics, papers etc. to create texture
  • Carborundum
  • Wall filler
  • Shellac
  • Paper to print on
  • Tray in which to soak paper
  • Inking tray or glass slab
  • Palette knife
  • Hawthorn Stay Open Ink
  • Linseed Reducing Jelly
  • Stiff brush or toothbrush
  • Scrim
  • Tissue paper
  • Fabric for cleaning plate
  • Zest-it,
    white spirit or oil for cleaning up ink
  • Etching Printing Press (e.g. Xcut Xpress)


Meet the Maker: Pragya Agarwal

I’m Pragya, an architect, designer, linocut printmaker, and now the creative force behind Hedge and Hog Prints.
After working in academia for several years, I was inspired to create something caring, as well as socially and environmentally aware. As a Mum to
three girls, I am passionate about creating beauty in our lives through my designs, while also creating products that inspire them and others to think,
dream and smile.

How and where did you learn to print?

I am trained as an Architect and have always drawn and painted since I was little. I also tried monoprinting while at college, and dabbled with collagraph.
I did a one day course just before Christmas in 2015 in linocut printmaking and was immediately hooked. I am largely a self-taught printmaker, and
have learnt a lot through experimentation and trialing different tools and techniques.

Why printing?

I haven’t thought about this but, on reflection, I would say that it is a combination of a few different things. The actual physicality of the process
is very satisfying and also very calming. The act of carving is therapeutic and mindful in itself. A slight lapse in attention can change the character
of the piece and also cause some injuries, so one has to completely focus on the task on hand! Also, I love how a variation in pressure and mark-making
can alter the texture and nature of the final print. I love the graphical nature of lino printing and how a single colour can be used in many interesting

Where do you work?

I work from my home studio which we converted from our garage a couple of years ago. A lot of my making also happens from the kitchen table (and any other
free surface in the house really!).

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I used to print all the time, at odd hours of night and first thing in the morning before breakfast. Since my twins were born last year, any routine has
completely gone out of the window, especially as they’ve had numerous health-problems and are very poor sleepers. So there isn’t a typical day right
now. I try and sketch and conceptualise a lot while I can during the day, and often print in the studio late at night once they are asleep. It is also
tricky to work with inks and paints during the day and although I work with environmentally friendly products as much as I can, I am wary of ink-stained
clothes and hands while carrying the babies. I also have a full-time academic job right now, so have to fit any printmaking around it.

How long have you been printmaking?

I only started printmaking at the end of 2015, but last year was a hugely productive year for me, and I created many interesting prints.

What inspires you?

I grew up in India, and traveled widely, and my experiences and travels have influenced my art and designs. I now live near the sea with my Scottish husband,
my three girls, my dog and my cat, and work from my home studio. Often my designs have Scottish motifs and landscapes, my pets feature widely in my
linocut prints, and I love creating art prints for children’s rooms. My designs also reflect my love for the British sense of humour, the quirky and
whimsical in language, celebrating local slang, literature and places around us.

Both classical and modern art and architecture is a huge source of inspiration.

What products do you use? What product/tool could you not be without?

I love my Pfeil carving tools and
couldn’t work without them. I also use Caligo inks, and although I’ve tried many others, I keep returning back to them. It is also more environmentally friendly which
resonates with the sustainable and eco-friendly ethos of my brand.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

There are several, from the very first print that I made of Belle on windowsill to a more recent ‘Surf’s Up’. I was pleased with the way I was able to
create movement and sense of freedom in this print, and also because I used my tool as a pencil and drew while I carved based on a very loose idea
at the start. This is something that I am experimenting with more in my work, and trying to bring more spontaneity in my designs, rather than starting
from a rigid sketch or photograph. I feel that it is more natural, and allows me to explore the potential of lino printing to its maximum.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell? 

I sell with Artfinder and most of my prints are on there. I have also recently set
up my own website which also has my other illustrations on it as well as some of my linocuts
which I am still populating. I also take personal commissions via my website or through my Facebook page.

What will we be seeing from you next?

This year should be exciting, once my twins are in nursery, and I have really interesting ideas that I am itching to get started on. I have recently created
some very comprehensive printmaking kits with extensive instruction booklets and tips and troubleshooting included that is an essence of all my experience
of trialing and experimenting and things that I wish I knew when it started. All tools and materials are included as well as design templates so all
you have to do is to open the box, and start! I am releasing many new designs, and so that is something I am very excited about. I have also have started
a Print Club which is a ‘mini print of the month’ subscription service for those who are keen to start or add to a linocut collection. There are

3 and 6 month packages and also gift cards available. Have a look at my website on

I also have dates and packages for printmaking workshops available in my home studio now, with the possibility to design a day around your needs, whether
individual or as a group session. Plenty of tea and cake included!

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

As creatives, we often doubt ourselves, and are reluctant to put anything out there unless we think that it is perfect. I think it is important to create
for the joy of it, and if it makes you happy, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t force yourself to be creative, as it is not easy to be original
and interesting all of the time. Use playfulness and doodling to be inspired and generate new ideas for yourself. I know that there is a lot of advice
on using Pinterest as inspiration but I am always wary of that. Try and find what inspires you in everyday life, and find something that is meaningful
to you. I would also advise strongly to think about plagiarism and copying, as this is something that more creatives should be aware of. Be careful
that you do not do this even unknowingly, and read any trademark and infringement laws carefully. But most importantly, enjoy the process, and not
just the final result.

For more of Pragya’s work, see her website, Facebook page and Instagram. You can also see more
work on Artfinder or sign up to Pragya’s Newsletter. Get 15% off your first purchase on the website. Plus, use the code HEDGE&HOG10 for a discount on the website’s
featured collection until the end of May 2017!