Block printing with Linoleum

Block printing with Linoleum

The visually rich language of printmaking takes many forms, from bold and expressive semi-abstract pieces, mixed media and collagraphic, silkscreen, to fine line etching and illustrative narratives. 

Printing to express ones ideas and feelings can be such a diverse medium where there is a play on manipulating images, and a tension between control and serendipity! Your choice of printing methods and processes, tools and techniques will certainly dictate your outcome.

If you have never tried Relief printmaking as an Art form,  printing with a  linoleum block is a great place to start. The process is incredibly simple from start to finish. Images and motifs can be hand drawn directly onto the lino or can be transferred onto the linoleum by tracing over a drawing or photocopied image and carbon paper. Using the right cutting tools made specifically for the job will also ensure a great end result.

Relief Printing

The raised up areas on the block are the areas that are inked and  printed. Removing the negative space around the shape will allow these areas to be printed onto cloth or paper; creating your design or image. This form of printing dates back to antiquity and was widely used in East Asia.

Woodblock/woodcut printing

Is considered one of the oldest types of relief printmaking, where a design is carved into a wooden block and printed onto fabric or paper. Several  wooden blocks or stamps of various sizes may be used for a single design or one block can be used multiple times!

Block printing at home

There are a multitude of ways to create a block for Relief printing other than just out of wood.   Blocks can be made out of linoleum, or styrofoam, rubber or even potatoes! Any block with cut out shapes or incised lines will stamp your design onto paper, cloth or other surfaces using a block printing ink.

Lino printing

Linocuts are very similar to woodcuts, however cutting a pattern or design into linoleum is much, much easier! A subtractive cutting method is used with special cutting tools to take away the parts of linoleum where you want to leave the white of the paper or fabric, the raised parts that are left are inked! Removing the negative space around the shapes will allow these areas to be printed, creating your design or image. Once you have cut your design or motif you have a linocut that can reproduce the same image over and over again. Easy and fun printing technique for both children and adults.

Once your design is complete you ink your block/lino using a roller or brayer (small hand roller) for even coverage, it can then be pressed either by hand onto the fabric or paper, or printed by using a flatbed printing press.

Hand printing tips, what paper can I print onto?

Acid free Lighter weight papers 80 -120gsm.

If you are going to use a lighter weight paper such as Japanese Rice papers, which are beautifully soft and light, you can carefully lay your paper on top of your lino block and use a roller, rolling in the same direction a couple of times or if using a baren to burnish a print use in circular motions to transfer the ink from the lino block onto the paper.  It is a little more tricky using the lighter version papers as they can easily be creased and you need to use a lighter pressure when pressing down, but for that special piece of art it is worth the effort.

Acid free Medium weight papers 120gsm to 160gsm

If printing by hand, a clean roller can be used on the back of the lino block, pressing the lino block down onto your secured paper or secured fabric. When using this method you need to keep your block very still to avoid blurring. Working the roller in one direction will help you to keep the block still. Aim to keep the pressure even whilst pressing down. Any medium smooth paper can be used if you are pressing your inked block down onto your paper. A smooth paper will ensure your prints are crisp, rather than a textured paper.

Acid free Heavier weight papers for flatbed press 180gsm - 300gsm

Heavier papers may be used if you are using a flat bed printing press. A heavier or textured paper can be used, as the pressure of the rollers on the flat bed press will ensure your print and inked lino block have made good contact with each other, resulting in a strong printed image.

Printing Materials available at ARTdiscount

Water based Block printing inks

Brian Clegg Printing Inks

Brian Clegg 300ml Block/Lino Printing Inks

These water-based inks are perfect for lino, potato and stick printing techniques, ensuring maximum working time whilst still maintaining excellent transfer properties.

FEATURES:

  • Great lightfastness
  • Special Water-based resoluble formulation
  • Wheat and gluten free
  • Comes in a 300ml bottle with flow control cap
  • Vegan 
  • Child friendly

Brian Clegg 300ml Block/Lino Printing Inks - Fluorescent Set of 6

These water-based inks are perfect for lino, potato and stick printing techniques, ensuring maximum working time whilst still maintaining excellent transfer properties.

COLOURS:Fluorescent Orange, Fluorescent Green, Fluorescent Blue, Fluorescent Pink, Fluorescent Red, Fluorescent Yellow.

FEATURES:

  • Great lightfastness
  • Special Water-based resoluble formulation
  • Wheat and gluten free
  • Comes in a 300ml bottle with flow control cap
  • Vegan
  • Child friendly

Essdee Premium Waterbased Block Printing Ink Set of 5

5 tubes of 100ml premium block printing ink. Black, white, red, yellow and blue.

Essdee premium block printing ink is a high quality water-based ink made with specialist ingredients for smooth, vibrant prints.

This non-permanent ink has enhanced tack and excellent transfer properties, with a perfectly balanced working and drying time making it easy to use and clean up.

Essdee premium block printing ink prints well onto all grades of paper and card, and can be intermixed to create a full pallet of colours, tints, tones and shades.

Premium Quality Block Printing Ink - 100ml

Essdee premium block printing ink is a high quality water-based ink made with specialist ingredients for smooth, vibrant prints.

Thisnon-permanent ink has enhanced tack and excellent transfer properties, with a perfectly balanced working and drying time making it easy to use and clean up.

Essdee premium block printing ink prints well onto all grades of paper and card, and can be intermixed to create a full pallet of colours, tints, tones and shades.

Daler-Rowney Block Printing Colours 250ml Pots

Water soluble block printing colours are available in 13 colours.

They are intermixable and an enhanced drying medium is available. Quick drying, these colours are extremely easy to use and equipment is simply cleaned with soap and water.

Lino Blocks and Cutting tools

Lino Blocks

A selection of lino carving blocks available in 4 sizes. Excellent value and easy to cut up for smaller projects.

lino

Softcut Natural Lino Block (Individual Block) - 3mm thick

Softcut Natural Lino Block, the new material for use in block cutting and printing.

Softcut is the new material for use in block cutting and printing. The super-smooth surface makes cutting so easy, the cutter just glides through with minimum effort. It has a matt side and a gloss side and can be cut on either. The near white surface allows you to draw and clearly see your design before you start cutting. The finished block can be displayed as a work of art in its own right.

RGM Student Lino Set of 5 tools + 1 Dual Sharpening Stone Coarse and Fine

  • Excellent quality Linoleum Chisels. Set 315.
  • Hardened steel blades
  • Shock resistant fiberglass handle
  • Extremely sharp blades
  • 1 dual sharpening stone coarse and fine
  • Contains 5 tools: No’s 301, 304, 306, 308 & 309 plus dual sharpening stone.

RGM Professional Lino Cutting Chisels

Lino Printing Cutting Tools

These tools are highly regarded in the field of engraving for linoleum and wood.

These chisels are considered to be excellent in the field of engraving for linoleum and wood. Through the use of high quality materials with excellent sharpness of the blade and a solid grip of the handle, this RGM tool allows a 'careful precision in engraving facilitating the manual and safety in processing.

Features:tempered steel blade and manually sharpened. The particular "bent" form of the blade facilitates the carving allowing  greater precision. The strong grip of the handle gives more manual support during carving,  maintaining security in the process.

Strengths: produced by RGM with high quality materials, great sharpening blade with a particular "bent" form of the blade that facilitates the carving. Secure grip on the handle is indicated for use in the education and professional used elegant packaging with window and euro hole for exposure

RGM-L-332: 8cm in length, 10mm wide at base, 8mm wide at tip.  This blade is a flat chisel

RGM-L-337: 8cm in length, 10mm wide at base, 4mm wide at tip

RGM-L-338: 8cm in length, 10mm wide at base, 5mm wide at tip

RGM-L-342: 8cm in length, 10mm wide at base, 5mm wide at tip

Purchase sharpening stoneshere.

Essdee Lino Cutters and Handle Set

This Essdee Lino Carving Tool Set includes one handle and ten high-carbon steel blades which will fit it. The blades include several U and V Gouges, as well as a blade for precision work and a flat-bottomed gouge for clearing large areas of white.

Baren Lino Cutting Tools - 3 in One

Create and carve your own design stamps Ideal for beginners, crafter or artist  Ideal for group projects Suitable for schools, college and workshops.

Brayer and Rollers

Traditionally Brayers are small or large rollers used in the printmaking process.   They allow inks or paint to be thinly applied to a substrate or printing block. Rollers are commonly made out of rubber or a synthetic substitute and come in a range of sizes and stiffnesses. A softer roller provides more flexibility and coverage on uneven surfaces, whilst a harder roller works best for inking fine details.  They also have several uses within an Art and Design studio, for example a useful tool for bookbinding, or useful for applying watercolour paintings onto a cradled panel, or for spreading acrylic paint or glue to large areas, laying down base colours for abstract paintings or for embossing and burnishing, and much more...

Essdee Ink Roller 8"

200ml/8" Essdee Ink Roller. Perfect for printmaking, Lino printing, scrapbooking, stamping, laminating and gluing.

This sturdy ink roller is perfect for many art & craft techniques like printmaking, scrapbooking, stamping, laminating, gluing and even the application of window films and vehicle graphics. It has a perfectly concentric, machine-ground, EPDM rubber roller surface at 70 shore hardness that gives excellent pickup and deposit of all types of ink. It benefits from sturdy construction with an aluminium roller core, a continuous steel shaft, self-lubricating nylon bearings, steel brackets and a tough polypropylene handle with a hanging slot. The roller is designed so that it can be turned over when wet with the handle doubling as a stand for cleaner working. Suitable for use with both water based and oil based ink, and also resistant to solvents. This is a hard-working and versatile tool.

Essdee Lino Rollers;  2.5”, 4”, 6”.

The Essdee Ink Roller is a strong, sturdy and versatile hard-rubber ink roller ideal for printmaking. Features a perfect machine ground 70 shore EPDM rubber roller, with an aluminium core, self-lubricating nylon bearings, a continuous steel shaft and rigid steel brackets making this a tough and dependable tool. The unbreakable polypropylene handle features a useful hanging slot and doubles as a stand when turned over for clean working when printing. Can be used with both water and oil-based inks and is strong enough to be used for industrial purposes like the application of window films and vehicle graphics.

Essdee Professional Ink Roller (Black Handle) - 15cm

This professional roller has a perfectly smooth, machine-ground surface with a 122mm (4.5") circumference which can hold a greater quantity of ink allowing greater coverage and a perfect result every time. The fully concentric EPDM rubber surface is a medium hard 60 shore and gives excellent pickup and deposit of all types of ink. Perfect for printmaking with a variety of different materials, scrapbooking, stamping, laminating and even the application of films. The roller is designed so that it can be turned over when wet with the handle doubling as a stand for cleaner working or hung up to dry with its handy hanging slot. Suitable for use with both water based and oil based ink, and also resistant to solvents.

Inking Trays

Essdee Ink Tray

A rigid polypropylene, easy, clean tray.

  • 243mm x 202mm
  • Useful 16mm depth.

Complete with Euro hanger for planogram merchandising or convenient storage at home, this tray is for use with roller sizes up to 200mm. Ideal for mixing paint, PVA & other water based materials, it's slightly angled walls make it useful for all types of crafts that have runaway items such as bead making.

Lino Cutting Bench Hook and hand Guards

Lino Cutting Bench Hook

Lino Cutting Bench Hook 300 x 200mm

Keep your lino work steady with these sturdy lino cutting bench hooks. Simply place the cutting bench on the edge of your desk or work surface for tidy, safe working. Bench hooks are ideal for schools and colleges, and also provide protection for desks and work surfaces.

Lino Cutting Safety Hand Guard

Lino Cutting Safety Hand Guard

An essential guide to lino cutting, affording protection for the user when cutting towards the hand. Suitable for left and right-handed users. A must for classrooms.

All you need Printing sets and kits!

Lino Printing Sets

Essdee Lino Cutting & Printing Kit

You can experiment with artisan printing techniques and compare traditional lino and the new Softcut™ materials, which add new possibilities for beginners and experienced users alike.The 6 different lino cutters allow varied carving styles, whilst the safety cutter and hand guard  ensure safe working for younger or less experienced users.

The 3-in-1 Baren is a tool for transfering ink from your lino block to paper, but can also be used as a desk tidy for your cutters and as a stamping tool when used with the self-adhesive Softcut™ discs.

You can make many prints with the water-based ink whilst keeping your workspace clean with the handy ink tray. All the items mentioned are included in the kit.

Recommended age:10 years and upwards with adult supervision.

Essdee Block Printing Kits For Kids

Have a great time and educate yourself about relief printing without the need for sharp tools with this kit just for kids. Includes 6 sheets of Printfoam ideal to indent, emboss and cut to shape. High quality water-based block printing ink to create posters, decorations, cards, scrapbooking and much more.

Contains: 

  • 100ml printing ink
  • Ink roller
  • Ink tray
  • Pencil
  • 6 sheets 
  • Print-foam and instructions

Ellie Jakeman
Ellie Jakeman

I have had a strong interest in the visual and creative arts since a very early age. I completed with great success ‘A’ level Fine Art, Textile and Embroidery City and Guilds, Foundation Diploma in Fine Art, (BA hons) Degree in Embroidery and Textiles from Manchester Metropolitan University and a PGCE from the University of Huddersfield. I have taught Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, Textile design and Fine Art print and Illustration for over 20 years. I have also instigated and program managed many projects for the local community. Before teaching I was a freelance artist and illustrator and decided 4 years ago I would return to freelance and commissioned work. I have created many domestic and commercial murals for hospitals and hospices. I work part time for Artdiscount as a content creator and product tester.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.