Printing with a Hammer

Hammered floral prints make beautiful cards and marvelous gifts. With just a few supplies, you can try this method of printing without a press for yourself. One note: It’s best to hammer on a hard surface like a cement floor—you don’t want to ruin a table.

What you need:

  • a hammer
  • 140 lb., cold-press watercolor paper, torn to the size you want it
  • flowers, leaves or stems—anything organic that has a lot of color
  • sturdy paper to use as a cover sheet, such as wax paper or more watercolor paper
  • a piece of felt or other cushioning material
  • strong paper to use as backing for your print

How to proceed:

1. Place the organic material in a pleasing design on the watercolor paper, which should be resting on the felt or other cushioning material. If you want a background color, do a light underpainting on the watercolor paper you intend to hammer and let dry before printing.

2. Cover the objects with wax paper or watercolor paper. Using wax paper lets you see your arrangement as you work, which can be helpful.

3. Hammer thoroughly, beating out all the color in your organic arrangement. You’ll be left with a beautiful stain on your paper.

4. After you’ve finished, cut the paper down to size and glue the print onto a backing such as the Mexican bark paper seen in the photo at right.

Cindy Iverson, of The Paper Studio in Tempe, Arizona, created the above hammered print of a flower on watercolor paper on Mexican bark paper. Read more about printing without a press in the September 2008 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

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