baren

Making a $3 Baren

A baren is a handy alternative to my printing press from time to time. Usually I use the back of a spoon or a plastic baren for the job. I use it to burnish the back of the paper to pick up the ink from the linoleum or wood block underneath. For a while, though, I've wanted to make my own based on a design I saw during a Kala Art Institute relief printmaking workshop last year. It fits better in my hand and produces more pressure with less strain. This is how I made mine this week for under $3.

1. Bought two 2.5" diameter wood drawer knobs.

2. Glued them end-to-end with wood glue and clamped them together for 24 hours.

3. Sanded the baren and applied a thin coat of linseed oil to one end (wiping off the excess). This is the end that comes in contact with the back of the paper.