Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tessellations - How I do it

I've been having a lot of fun this month creating tessellations and carving stamps for #CarveDecember.  Since I have been asked several times how I created them, it seems it would be nice to share :).

I hope these steps help you!  Enjoy!

Step 1.  Go to a website where you can create your own tessellations

A couple of my favorite sites:

  • You can create tessellations right on your browser - no software to download or buy -
  • Software that allows you to create curved tessellations - you can download a demo version and get a screenshot of your tessellation - TesselManiac 
       NOTE:  This is the best one I have tried so far and I love it

Step 2.  Play around with the shapes, until you see something you like 

You can try making something specific or just play - use your imagination very much like seeing images in the clouds.  I just go for the outlines and work out the inside of the tiles afterwards.

Step 3.  Save the tessellation or tile 

I would recommend saving the tessellated screen for sure - it will help you figure out how to print it later.

This is a simple one... pretty easy to figure out how to print.

Others can be a bit more complicated, like this one.

Step 4.  Print the tile the size you want

Be careful that you don't skew the image when you scale it to print - the proportions have to be exactly the same or it won't work.

Step 5. Using Tracing paper, go over the outline of your tile with pencil

You want to trace it as accurately as you can so the tiles will fit together as expected.

Step 6.  Design the inside of your tile

You can do it different ways - you can draw directly on the tile you outlined on the tracing paper (if you are really confident), or you can use another piece of tracing paper or transparency over the tile, until you get something you like.

This is where your creativity and imagination will come in.  For instance, the bird above in step 3 turned into this - not much different, but the details help:

Step 7.  Transfer the tile with the complete design to the carving material

Step 8.  Carve the stamp - be really attentive to the edges of the stamp

I always start with the edges as if I mess up, there is no point in going further - it won't work.

There is another option - you can carve inside the edge, and then leave a little border when printing.  This makes it a bit easier to print, and it can give  quite a nice effect.  So, don't throw your stamp away if you mess up on the outside edge - you can still use it :)  
See the space between the trees?
I carved inside the line.
Compare to the print of the bird in step 6
where I carved against the outside line.

Step 9.  Print your awesome tessellation tile 

Refer back to your tessellated printout (step 3) to figure out how to print it :)

Have fun!!!  

And do let me know if you have any questions.  I'd love to see what you come up with, so feel free to share :).