When I printed gift bags last year, most were experiments with different styles of bags and especially inks/paints and other media to print the image onto the bag. Some worked, some really did not, but some fell in between. I held them back because they didn’t meet my specifications for printing, but I’ve learned to show others the items I’ve made that weren’t what I envisioned. I’ve found that often others see something entirely different in what I see are flaws, and that’s what happened with these bags.
I typically print my “Tabbies” and “Kelly’s Morning Bath” block prints in black or earth-tones, “kitty-tones” as I call them, but I’d long wanted to see them in whimsical colors and in various combinations. Using colored bags opened up the possibilities, printing tone on tone with a darker pink on a lighter pink, a darker blue on a lighter blue and a rich purple on violet, or contrast or complementary colors.
Like many of my hand-printed items, these were a one-of-a-kind project using styles of bags I had found in wholesale and retail shops. They inspired the ink colors which I mixed on the spot from acrylic paints and printed in an effort to get away from oil-based ink, which smells like tar, in printing in surfaces like this.
Unfortunately, the gloss surface resisted the ink, causing puddling in some areas and striations in the coverage where it’s supposed to be solid. That’s what I thought was a failure, but I still liked the overall look of the bag.
But others, not concerned with the printing, liked the overall look.
Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.
That’s fine when printing on plain old flat paper, but when it comes to other surfaces, as I am fond of printing on, I always meet up with some challenges.
But these bags are available. The six pictured above are uniques and I don’t think I could even find these any more! But I have six more in the style pictured at left, just a simple bag style in a solid color or white, printed with a “tone one tone” such as pink with red or blue with nave, or a color contrast, such as purple with black or white with purple.
You can find all of these bags in my Etsy shop under “Gift Bags”.