The other day, I decided I wanted to try making my own wood block for block printing out of a photograph (I was inspired by a Kickstarter project).
I started with a photograph of the mountains I took on a hike. (In retrospect, this wasn’t the best photograph to choose, as you’ll see. Next time I’d choose a simpler photo with high contrast).
I converted it to black and white, posterized it, and inverted it, using Photoshop.
Then I took it in to Metrix Create Space in Seattle. They have a laser cutter and I knew they’d be able to make the block. They loaded the image into the LaserMate software to set up the laser cutter. We first made a small test image to make sure the whole thing was going to work.
Once we’d confirmed it would work, we made the real thing.
I took the block home and tried making some cards with it. The results are a bit mixed; the concept is great and part of the cards came out really well. But the photo is too complex, and too many of the lines just blur together with the ink, so there’s not enough detail.
Next time, I’m going to glue a rubber stamp material to the top of the wood and use the laser cutter on that instead. I’m also going to make the depth of the etching just a bit deeper – this one was set at 1mm and I want to try 2mm or possibly even 3mm.
Overall, I’m pleased with the result, and had a blast making it.