Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Project: Lino-cut Prints

I am always on the lookout for new crafty projects. I like to hop from one thing to the next. Currently I am doing some metal stamping, crocheting, sewing and most recently I taught myself how to lino-cut, which is just a form of block printing. I am an artist, but somehow I missed the basic class on lino-cutting. Just never happened for me. I had a pretty good idea of how it was done, but I'd never tried it until yesterday. Turns out it was a lot of fun!

This was a bit advanced for my 2 year old, but I think if you aren't too concerned with the end results it would be super easy to include a child. I think you could let an older child do the drawing (Cordelia is still in the line and dot phase which doesn't translate) and the stamping as well. If you have an even older child they could quickly learn the entire process on their own.

Linocut 6

You will probably need a few things to get started. I am including an approximation of the cost so you can see this won't be a big financial investment. I also saw starter kits for around $15 if you want to keep it simple. I found all of this at a craft store, but it's readily available online as well.

To get rolling (pun intended) you will need:
  • Lino-cutter set with handle (I think mine cost about $4.50)
  • Water soluble block printing ink (also a couple of bucks)
  • Lino block ($1.50)
  • Rubber brayer, which is just a roller to roll out the ink ($3ish)
  • Something to roll out the ink on. You can use a piece of plexiglass or whatever you have laying around that you don't mind getting dirty. It just needs to be flat and firm.
  • Something to print on. I chose blank greeting cards, but you can do your own thing.
  • Optional: I also used some letter stamps that I had laying around, but it isn't necessary at all--you'll see.

Here is how it is done:

Linocut 1 Start with a blank lino block. Try and think of a simple design or shape.

Linocut 2 Next you will draw onto the block your simple design. I went for a leafy look. I figured that I could be a little more free with a natural form. A lot of straight lines might be difficult if this is your first time. I recommend a curvilinear form...simple is best!

Linocut 3 You will now have to use your lino-cutter to carve away the excess. Just experiment with the different heads to get the effect you are looking for. Totally a trial and error. Overall you want to make sure to cut away from yourself. Ultimately you will want to have a stamp of the original drawing.

Linocut 4 Once you have your design completed and cut out you are ready to print. Put a squirt of ink on your chosen surface. Take your brayer (the roller) and coat it in the ink. Note that the ink is thick like paint, not runny like normal ink. Roll the brayer evenly over your lino-cut, only the highest points will be covered in ink if you've done this correctly. If you haven't just wash everything off and go carve until you've got it right.

Linocut 5 Carefully set the lino-cut, face down, on the paper (or whatever you have chosen to print on) and put a little even pressure on the back. Gently remove the lino-cut, careful not to smear, and voila you have made a print!

Be sure and wash your tools off with soap and water. Easy clean up! You can reuse your lino-cut again and again!

Linocut 7 You could call it a day there, but I was planning to make some thank you cards. So I pulled out some regular ink and letter stamps to print out the words.


Victoria said...

You know, I have never gotten into printing. Mike has, of course, but last year I bought a giant book about it is still in the wrapper! Thanks for this make it look easy breezy. I am so doing this!

Susan said...

Cool! Next, I think you need to make card sets for Wyoming Rose!

sara said...

very pretty cards!

Rachel said...

you explain is so easily.

Emily said...

You do make it look easy! And I saw tons of handmade card sets selling like hot cakes at an arts & crafts fair not too long ago. I think these are beautiful!

Kate W. said...

You make things look, and sound, so easy, Maria!! Very cool cards with such a unique touch. :) TFS!

Anonymous said...

Sounds easy and fun to do, I saw some at my mom's hairdressers, and they were okay, not as sharp as yours here, and cost almost $5.00 a card!

I still love to see Cordelia's muffin pajamas! I know she'll eventually outgrow them :(

singlemama said...


Kirsten Taggart said...

I made a lino-cut in art class back in high school. I cut myself pretty bad, it left a scar.
I do like your thank you cards!

Maria Rose said...

Kristen. Yikes! The lino-cutters I have aren't very to be careful if using sharp ones with kids.

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