Friday, April 05, 2013

B Printed: DIY Block printed tote bag

There are few things I will cancel scheduled plans for and craft night at West Elm is one of them. As an avid DIYer from an early age I've been to craft camps in a variety of locations. Anywhere from parks to that awkward employee break room that resembles a sterile hospital so planting for a block printing lesson in the middle of a West Elm store was welcomed with open arms and served as the best kind of creative fuel.

Block printing has the ability to sound intimidating but was simple and achievable with the direction of Phoebe from El Sage Designs. A small group of us sat in the middle of West Elm we were provided a block print kit providing all the tools to create a one of a kind project.

When brainstorming pattern ideas it was shared that geometric shapes work best. My inspiration was classic herringbone pattern and all intentions to make it look perfect. It took me less than a few minutes to drop my flat edge and give up on receiving straight lines. Soon I learned that fine lines and carving accidents made the best prints.

  • Linoleum (the material used to carve out your design, rubber like substance)
  • Plastic linoleum cutter (comes with multiple sizes to work on large pieces to small detail)
  • Paint with foam brush (foam brush is Phoebe's pro tip for printing on fabric)
  • Tote bag (or other desired material to print)
  • pencil and paper 
Things I would do differently:
  • Print another row to make the design a bit more uneven. Looking back at it it appears to be a tire track rather than the herringbone design I desired.
  • Carve smaller imperfect detail into my linoleum. The beauty of block printing is that each block is unique and sometimes the imperfect cuts are waht creates texture and interest to your print!
  • Print on a different medium: I plan on doing this! I'm going to use my block print to create a large piece of artwork for my new apartment. Stay tuned.

This night was exactly what I needed to spark inspiration for my new place. And of course, if you don't consider yourself a craft enthusiast then feel free to shop West Elm's hand-block print collection (paint and tool kit free!).


Anonymous said...

I'm going to try and not come off as a major freak .. but I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog! I've been following it for years! I especially love your DIY posts!


Francesca said...

i love this! xx will definitely try to make one soon!

xx Francesca of

Anonymous said...

Great idea!! I luv these diy videos. the printed canvas bag is a great concept. I want to make stencils for everything now. LOL! I LOVE the spiked clutch idea too! Im so doing that one!! To see more info please visit

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

I love pairing my printed denim with my maroon boots and camel color leather jacket~ so great for this time of year!! custom made carrier bags

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