Make A Lino Cut Paw Print [A DIY Tutorial]

Here’s a fun idea for a simple lino cutting project – perfect for welcoming a new four legged friend into your home. You’ll start by taking your cat or dog’s paw print and then transfer the print onto lino before carving away the negative space, leaving your pet’s unique signature! You’ll end up with a beautiful keepsake that you can frame – and a lino cut that you can use to make more prints, sign holiday greetings, print onto fabric and more.

I have included instructions for printing with real printing ink as this yields the best result but if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge just yet, you can print your lino cutting with the same ink pad that you’ll use to take the initial paw print (and could always re-visit the printing process at a later time when you’re ready).

Those who follow me on Instagram may know that we welcomed Finnbar to our family 9 weeks ago – as he’s a German Shepherd/Boxer mix I knew his delightfully small, puppy-sized paw wouldn’t last for long so I really wanted to capture it, in all it’s cuteness and so, this project was born. Im going to make another print in a years time and am looking forward to seeing how much he’s grown!

Materials and Equipment:

  1. Soft rubber brayer
  2. Printing ink in black – I used Caligo safe wash relief ink
  3. Palette knife
  4. Wooden Spoon
  5. Ink pad
  6. Soft pencil (8B is ideal)
  7. Sharpie or any chunky marker with a rounded end
  8. Small piece of unmounted linoleum – size will vary depending on your pet
  9. Carving tool
  10. And of course, a four legged friend!

Not pictured here (well actually the first one is pictured, it just didn’t show up in the photo) printmaking paper (I use this one) and a smooth, flat surface for spreading your printing ink onto if using.

Step 1: Print

Start by taking your pets paw print, then washing it gently in soapy water to remove all the ink. Notice how there are some areas of the paw pads that haven’t transferred the ink so well and there are also a few tufty bits of hair in between – it’s these details that will give your finished print it’s unique characteristics!

Step 2: Draw

Carefully draw around the paw print, staying true to the shape of each pad to make sure the print is as accurate as can be. Then shade the areas that will appear solid and shade over any additional markings such as tufts of hair or claws.

Step 3: Transfer

Place your paper face down onto you lino and hold carefully in place while you rub the back of the paper firmly with the butt of your marker. When you remove the paper, your pencil marks should have transferred to the lino.

Step 4: Carve

Carve out your design using your tool of choice. If you’re new to lino carving it can take a moment to get into the right frame of mind as you have to remember that you’re ‘drawing’ with the lino that is left untouched, not the lino that you carve away. So for example, to make the little tufts of hair in the print below, I had to plan ahead and leave these delicate lines of lino untouched whilst carving away the surrounding areas, rather than making these marks on the lino with my carving tool. You can use the ink pad to take test prints at various stages of the carving process which will help to keep you on the right track and can be especially useful for making sure that you have carved out the background area sufficiently.

Step 6: Print

If you already own printing ink and equipment then you probably don’t need me to tell you how this is done but I will aim to break down the process here for anyone trying this for the first time.

You’ll take a little ink on your palette knife and spread it onto a smooth, flat surface. Work the ink back and forth with the palette knife to warm it up then take your brayer and roll it back and forth until it is evenly coated. Roll the brayer back and forth across your lino, varying the angle with each stroke to make sure that it is evenly coated. Place your paper on top and hold in place while you firmly rub the back of the paper with a wooden spoon. Peel the paper away and experience the thrill of seeing your design in print form for the first time!

Check out the quick video I made below to see the process from start to finish.

What do you think? Are you tempted to give this project a try? Let me know in the comments. If you try it I hope you’ll come and share the results over on Instagram (don’t forget to tag me!). And as always, if you need any help or words of encouragement along the way I am only a DM away.

A Cosy Mountain Cabin Scheme…

We spent a few days up in Big Bear earlier this month and it left me daydreaming of A-frame wooden cabins, cosy fires, beaten up old leather couches and plaid blankets. Driving up the winding canyon roads to our Airbnb I loved how no two cabins were alike – some were shaped like little gingerbread cottages with icicles lining the pitched front porch while others had these high, wooden boarded fronts with (every so slightly creepy) wooden stairs winding up to the front door…

Anyway it only took me one evening spent browsing Zillow to get me dreaming of decorating my own slice of mountain life and so I made this moodboard as a creative outlet. My choice of rug will provide a clue that this is something of a fantasy interior – one where snow boots and muddy paws fear to tread. I have a soft spot for mural wallpapers and thought this one by Pierre Frey would be perfect for a holiday home where you don’t have to live with it day in, day out. It would be such a surprising touch for guests in a rental too!

1. ‘Les Rocheuses’ wallpaper by Pierre Frey. The Rockies represent nature in all its untamed glory. Although dramatic there is also something about this design that I find peaceful – the style reminds me of the kind of black and white etchings you find in old books.

2. Giant Ram Head Taxidermy Kit by Sincerely Louise. I have only recently got onboard with faux animal heads (having avoided them until now as they made me feel sad and sorry for the animal). After reading a little more about Louise Walker’s inspiration behind her designs on Instagram I changed my mind – the real animal is replaced with a knitted one as Louise explains ‘to me, faux taxidermy was always a representation of the animal’s freedom rather than replicating the cruelty of hunting and trophy heads.’ With that in mind I’m going to be casting on my own knitted lion head later this month – keep an eye on Instagram for updates!

3. Global Printed Poof – Pottery Barn. Old Persian rugs make me think of cosy country cottages with flagstone floors, Aga ranges and labradors. I would want to sprinkle some of that on any home but particularly one up a mountain.

4. Rivoli Velvet Decorative Pillows – Designer’s Guild. Velvet fabric brings depth and texture to any room. I love these two shades together for Autum/Winter – I would maybe swap them out for a moss green during the Spring/Summer months.

5. Bear Side Table – Kare. This side table lives rent free in my mind at all times. I may not be a cabin owner but if I had this table in my living room at home it would at least remind me of log cabin cafes with neon signs, cold beers and pool tables – and all the wilderness beyond.

6. Plaid Amanda Throw in Paprika – Nobilis A beautiful throw is a must – I would hide this one away when the cabin was being rented out and save it for myself.

7. Prete-Moi Ta Plume! Round Rug by Christian Lacroix Okay so this rug is maybe slightly too beautiful for the main living-space in a fully functional cabin, but just imagine it for a moment, wouldn’t it be beautiful?

8. Small Meteor Lamp by Porta Romana – There is something so otherworldly about this lamp. Handmade from blown glass which is then hand-painted, each lamp is unique. I find Porta Romana designs are like catchy songs – the shapes stick in my mind and I keep circling back to them.

9. Double Old Fashioned Rock Glasses by Michael Aram – I really like how masculine these glasses are, I think they would look great on top of a bar cart. Definitely too good to be hidden away in a cupboard!

I hope you liked my cosy cabin ideas! These photos are a mixture of Big Bear in the Winter and Sweden in the Summer (I meant to take some photos of the interior of our Big Bear rental but as usual, life got in the way). Thank you for reading – let me know what you think in the comments on on Insta!

Lockdown Life: Dolls House Renovation – Part 1

Well, I didn’t see that coming. We’re now in week 6 of lockdown here in California and the girls have adjusted to our new normal fairly well considering the parks and beaches here are closed and they are now confined to the house and back garden. During the first two weeks I felt this strange sense of optimism and enthusiasm for our new life at home and threw myself into homeschooling and planning all the craft projects I would now (surely?) get around to. I kind of knew at the back of my mind though that this was maybe a coping mechanism and perhaps not sustainable for the long term and sure enough, fast-forward to today and those positive vibes have evaporated, I suspect never to return. I don’t know about you but Im having to work a little bit harder just to do the basics. It’s the same feeling I used to get pre-children if I read too many gossip magazines in one sitting or stayed in my pyjamas until 3pm. There is an undercurrent of heaviness which runs through the days – and especially the evenings – at the moment.

During the early days of the lockdown I began a project which I had wanted to tackle for a long time but kind of accepted I would never get around to. This dolls house belonged to my younger sisters and I was beyond thrilled when they passed it on to my girls a few years ago. It is handmade and definitely not something you would find in a toy shop, with the odd jagged edge and surprise nail protruding. There are pencil marks and wobbly windows and it is just so imperfect and handmade, I absolutely love it. It looked as though it had undergone a restoration at some point prior to coming to us – as well as the original victorian style dollhouse-scale wallpaper there were a some 1990’s paint effects which had to go. Overall the dollshouse had been well loved and looked ready for a fresh start.

I have always been something of a hoarder when it comes to craft materials so in my previous life working for an Interior Design company in London I used to quite often save discontinued fabric and wallpaper sample books from the wheelie bin. Although I whittled down my collection quite a lot in preparation for our move to the US, I did bring some wallpapers by Harlequin and GP&J Baker along for inspiration. Although I’m not an Interior Designer myself, I am in my element surrounded by wallpaper and fabric and I really enjoyed the process of choosing which wallpapers to use, then choosing which sections to use for which walls and sometimes having to carefully cut and paste motifs to trick the eye into thinking that the larger prints run seamlessly from one wall to the other. Progress was fairly slow as each wall had a slightly different shape so I had to make a paper template first to check for fit before cutting the actual wallpaper.

I began with the bedrooms, choosing fairly conservative polka dot prints (lockdown living must surely have had a subconscious hand in my choice of a restful, neutral taupe for the master bedroom!). As I moved downstairs though I realised that, rather than choosing the small-scale prints most suitable for a dolls house, I could make good use of some of the larger scale prints that I truly loved, giving a more modern feel – like a giant wall mural!

Nursery…
Master Bedroom
Living Room
Kitchen

The dolls house sits on top of a mid-century coffee table in the playroom and is visible from most angles of our main living space. Seeing these papered rooms makes me smile and I like to think of what future generations will make of my design choices. My next task is to repair the front of the dollshouse which broke off during our move and I’m planning one or two updates to the exterior – inspired partly by the painted surfaces in Charleston Farmhouse and partly by the Dorset farmhouses I was familiar with as a child. The dollhouse looks quite devoid of life when it’s not occupied by my old Sylvanian Families so I would like to add one or two hand-painted touches – a cat skulking along the side wall perhaps or a bird perched on top of the chimney.

I highly recommend dolls house tinkering as a quarentine activity (kids or no kids) – if you dont have one you could try Ebay or check out pinterest for cardboard dolls house ideas. However you spend these weeks I hope you stay safe and well.

HOW TO MAKE A QUILTED HOT WATER BOTTLE COVER [DIY TUTORIAL]

How-To-Make-A-Quilted-Hot-Water-Bottle-DIY-Tutorial-blog

Winter where I live can be pretty brutal – grey skies day after day, freezing temperatures (but seldom snow to make it pretty), rain, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark…

Rifle-Paper-Co-Quilted-Hot-Water-Bottle-DIY-Sewing-Tutorial-Chloe-Mullaney3

I can think of two things though that help make Winter better wherever you are – hot pyjamas straight off the radiator and going to bed with a hot water bottle! The pyjamas you can probably figure out for yourself but I’m excited to share my new and improved  Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover sewing tutorial today! Continue reading

LIBERTY PRINT TISSUE BOX COVERS [MY LATEST MAKE]

Chloe-Mullaney-Handmade-Liberty-Print-Tissue-Box-Cover-DIY-1

A few days before I went into full blown labour with Emily I was looking for a sewing project to keep my mind occupied and found this tutorial for a tissue box cover by Brett Bara on Design Sponge… Continue reading

HOW TO MAKE: ROLLED BEESWAX CANDLES [DIY TUTORIAL]

Rolled-Beeswax-Candles-DIY-Tutorial-W1500

How-To-Make-Rolled-Beeswax-Candles-DIY-Tutorial-Chloe-Mullaney

Beeswax candles have some pretty amazing properties – did you know they clean the air as they burn? They also smell amazing and best of all, are easy to make at home! Round about this time every year I make a pot of tea, dust off the record player and spend an evening making a big old batch of these DIY candles to see us through winter. There’s no hot wax involved so you can even do it with one eye on the TV! They’re easy to make at home and I’m going to show you how in today’s tutorial…

Continue reading

DECEMBER 2015

Chloe-Mullaney-Christmas-Tree-Vintage-Baubles-3

Chloe-Mullaney-Christmas-Tree-Vintage-Baubles-4

I hope your Christmas was merry and bright? Mine seemed to arrive all of a sudden and then was gone in a flash, leaving only a trail of chocolate in it’s wake. Here’s my little needle felted robin making himself at home on our tree! My Christmas decoration scheme is called All The Colours and it’s working out well.