This past November I bought myself a die press because my students and I love textured paper and the die press enables us to make our own. The machine was on sale at a significantly reduced price on Black Friday, and though I generally try to avoid shopping then, I did make a special trip to the scrapbooking store to buy one. I also bought a package of two of the plastic sleeves that are needed to make textured paper.
The die press sat in my bedroom until January when I finally brought it to school to test it out. After we tried the machine out for the first time I bought 4 more because it was such a hit, and I figured having six to choose from would give a nice variety. At about $12.00 for two, I figured I will gradually collect more over time.
The plastic texture sleeves are not very large, only about 3 1/2 inches X 5 inches, so we began by using small pieces of paper. Then one of my students folded a whole piece of paper in quarters and we discovered that an entire piece of paper could be textured at once!
The next discovery one of my students made was that if you color lightly on the textured paper the colored pencil or marker will only cover the raised bits thus making it possible to further play around with the texture or emphasize it even more. And then another student realized the plastic texture sleeves could be used without the die press as a textured rubbing plate.
Students of all ages have absolutely adored making their own textured papers and as the operation is simple even very young children can do it easily. About two weeks ago during a printmaking demo we discovered that we could put thin styrofoam sheets into the press and make textured impressions on that. Then I wondered if I might actually be able to use the die press like a printing press. With the right combination of cardboard height we were also able to use it like a press.
Yesterday I had some self adhesive craft foam which we were using in creating our collograph plates. We got the idea to try that and see if it would also take an impression. It did and the results were great! We also tried cardboard but sadly it didn’t take an impression at all.
So….I don’t know if you’ll really save all that much on purchasing pre-textured papers from art suppliers when you consider the initial purchase price and the price of plastic texture sleeves. I do know you can use this product in a lot more ways than I had first thought, and maybe we’ll discover more! But it’s sturdy, easy to operate, kid friendly, and most importantly fun! (And I’m not being paid by the manufacturer to tell this to you!)