A baren is often used in relief printing to make a crisp even transfer of ink to the paper.
You can find barens made of bamboo and more modern materials at online stores and big chain art stores.
I like to use what I have before I go buy a new art tool, so I have tried:
- medium sized jars with flat bottoms
- a nearby paint bottles
- and a porcelain door knob
Some folks recommend a wooden spoon. But I like to have a bigger surface.
I made a simple baren with some simple tools that I had in the studio. You will need:
- clothesline rope
- double sided carpet tape
- scissors, knife
- an old tube sock
- small piece of sticky vinyl
- maybe duct tape
- 5″ circle of rigid foam core
You may be able to substitute some of the supplies with things that you have in your studio. Look around and think outside the box.
The goal is to make a hand held tool that will slide evenly over the paper and help to apply even pressure to the paper. And help you make beautiful prints!
This is what I did to make a homemade baren for printmaking:
- Cut a circle of stiff foam core
- Cover the foam core with 2 sided carpet tape
- Tightly coil clothesline rope on top of the tape
- Craft a cover. I used an old tube sock, put the base about 1/2 way through, stretch tight and tie the ends together to create a handle
- Finally, I added a sticky vinyl to the bottom, so it would slide more smoothly.
Interested in more history about barens then check out McClain’s. They have some great info.
If you are interested in relief printing and want to learn more then join us in the Soft Block Relief Printing workshop that starts on July 11th. Check out the details and register today!