Lino printing, also known as linocutting, is a printmaking technique that goes back to the early 20th century. It’s an effective method for creating multiple prints of an artistic piece using linoleum. Other printmaking techniques, such as etching and lithographs, use a similar technique.
Lino printing, however, is an excellent introduction to the world of etching for beginners. To start lino printing, you’ll need:
- A lino block
- Cutting tools
- Printing paper
We sell a number of Linocut Kits to get you started if you’d like to find everything in one place.
Essentially, when creating a lino print, you draw your image on the lino and then carve areas away. When your carving is finished, you roll ink over the remaining portions before pressing onto paper, making as many prints as you like. Think of it as a giant stamp that you make yourself!
Lino prints are fantastic for making cards, gifts and many other keepsakes. Lino printing is also a respected form of fine art, so this is an incredibly versatile medium to work in for artists looking to flex their creative muscles and try something new. You can create any number of styles when working with lino.
If you want to get started with lino printing, all you have to do is follow the steps below:
1. Get sketching: Begin by drawing your design onto the lino block. The first rule is to always remember that your lino print will be a reverse image to what you draw, so bear this in mind. For beginners, it’s best if you start with a simple design without too many layers or too much texture. Think one-dimensional and bold. This will help you in the next step.
2. Get carving: Using your cutting tools, carve away the negative space of your drawing. You should have a few tools to hand in a variety of sizes, some thick, some thin, and some in between to accommodate the various lines and areas of negative space. Begin by making shallow cuts so that you can make sure not to carve away too much at first. It’s best to carve away little by little.
3. Get inky: Once your carving is all done, brush away any debris left from carving and begin prepping the block for pressing. Begin by pouring your ink onto a clean surface (a paper plate will do for beginners) and run your roller through it until the ink is evenly coated across the surface of your roller. Then, roll a layer of ink across your lino block, making sure to distribute the ink thinly and evenly.
4. Get pressing: Once your block is prepped with an even spread of ink, you can start pressing! There are a variety of methods you can use for pressing, but the two simplest are to use your hands or another clean roller. Begin by carefully placing your paper or card over the block and gently laying it down. You can then use your roller to complete the press, your you can turn the block over and press it down over the paper onto your desk or table to complete the process.
5. Get dry: Next, remove the paper from the block carefully. Leave your print somewhere safe to dry. Once you’re done making as many prints with your block as you want, you should rinse the ink away from the block to let it dry, ready to use another time!