How to make a fish from a palm leaf

"If you don't have a palm tree nearby, try using long strips of paper instead," writes Grant Thompson, aka The King of Random.

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Guy restores a century-old letterpress to perfect condition

Jimmy DiResta kept passing by a 1911 Chandler & Price letterpress sitting out in the rain. After buying it from the neglectful owner, he spent several years lovingly restoring it, eventually learning how to print with it. Read the rest

Fun video of a steamroller as a printing press

YouTuber Dom P posted a lovely short video of Chicago Printmakers Collaborative's steamroller printing project over the summer. For year, printers have been experimenting with renting steamrollers for printing large letterpress works without incurring the costs of renting or buying a large letterpress. Some of the work turned out quite nice! Read the rest

Lovely exhibition of origami flora and fauna

Folded Transformations just opened at The Huntington. The exhibit features 25 beautiful works by origami master Robert J. Lang. Read the rest

Secret society curios: classic Masonic and Odd Fellows folk art

Allison Meier at Hyperallergic has a fascinating look at The American Folk Art Museum’s exhibit of classic secret society folk art. Read the rest

Japanese Hakone marquetry

This video depicts craftsman Tanegi Zukuri making extraordinarily beautiful and precise examples of Japanese marquetry. Read the rest

Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Wheelchair Costume

Ryan Scott Miller outdid himself with this terrific wheelchair costume that Jeremy will be sporting this Halloween: "This year we put it to a vote and our friends choose the Ghostbusters Ecto-1!" Well-played, sir! Read the rest

How to Make a Cardboard Raptor

IMGUrian Colo1 shared this wonderful series of images documenting a cardboard dinosaur creation.

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How to make origami dragonclaw gauntlets

Jeremy Shafer shows how to make flexible finger rings that look like reptilian claws by allowing joint movement. He also shows a handy way to maximize the number of squares you can make out of standard printer paper. Read the rest

Hand-Crafted Poké Ball May Be Peak Pokémon, But Is Still Totally Awesome

The artisan behind this Pokémon "Poké Ball" (aka Monster Ball) masterpiece is Jasper Hams.

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You probably need a mermaid tail blanket this fall

Now that fall is here, wouldn't it be nice to keep your legs warm while pretending you are a siren of the sea? The good folks at YARNutopia share how to make your own mermaid tail blanket, including a PDF of the pattern. Read the rest

Printed easter eggs: fore-edge paintings hidden in books

High-end printers began decorating the edges of books as the craft developed, including dyeing and gilding the edges, but in the 17th century, artisans began creating fore-edge paintings that could only be seen when books were fanned. Below is another example: Read the rest

Make your own Secret Wood Rings with these DIY tips

Secret Wood Rings are pretty cool-looking, so Peter Brown decided to experiment with making his own using some resin and hand-splintered wood. Not bad for the first try! Read the rest

Insanely detailed model tree made of wire

Luke Towan makes a lot of gorgeous model railroad items, but his tutorial on making tiny trees using wire, latex, glue, and paint is especially cool to watch from start to finish. Read the rest

Polishing 3D-printed bronze coins in a rock tumbler

Barnacules Nerdgasm used 3D printing medium with 80% bronze to make some physical bitcoins. The result was cool, but it got even cooler when he threw them in a rock tumbler. Read the rest

Print Workshop – Print up all kinds of fun stuff with this step-by-step handbook for the DIY artist

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects by Christine Schmidt Potter Craft 2010, 176 pages, 7.5 x 9 x 0.7 inches (softcover) $16 Buy a copy on Amazon

A year after moving, I am still finding miscellaneous books tucked into previously unpacked boxes. Luckily, that means I get to rediscover favorites like Christine Schmidt’s Print Workshop: Hand-printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects. With step-by-step instructions, project templates, and illustrated project and resource guides, this book serves as both an exhaustive guide for the DIY-er just starting out in printmaking, as well as a jumping-off point for artists who need a nudge toward new ideas.

Schmidt, the creative force behind San Francisco’s Yellow Owl Workshop, organizes the book into several helpful and easy-to-navigate sections. She opens with a brief but thorough introduction to the processes of printmaking, followed by a comprehensive guide, complete with photos and drawings, to setting up a home studio and choosing materials. These initial images of materials-for-making reappear in the technique chapters, plucked from the original grid shots to become part of each project, transformed into visual verbs for the printing process.

As someone who has no formal training in printmaking, I was especially interested in the breadth of the form. The “Relief Printing” chapter, for example, hosts a wax seal project, and “Image Transfer Printing” includes refreshingly simple pin-prick stationary. This book is full of fantastic gift ideas (I’ll be making the sweet-potato-printed picnic set for a wedding present, and my holiday preserves are about to get gussied-up with water-slide decal jars), and because printing is made for multiples, I plan to make a whole cache of go-to homemade presents to pull from throughout the year. Read the rest

Charcoal sketching is more fun

My kids and I like to sketch together on the weekends. My older daughter and I also frequently go to a weekly figure drawing session here in LA. For me, using charcoal sticks is more fun than pencils or pens, because it's faster and I can work on shading.

The Royal & Langnickel Small Tin Charcoal Drawing Art Set ($6 on Amazon) has a good selection of different kinds of charcoal for drawing. My daughters are starting to like charcoal, too, so I bought sets for them. If you enjoy charcoal drawing, you should also get a white stick for highlights.

Here are a couple of my sketches:

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