Saturday, March 28, 2009

My First Linoleum Block Print

Saturday morning. Papa cooked breakfast. Children happily occupied. I could have been ________ (insert one of the following: working, cleaning, washing clothes, doing taxes). Instead, I sat in our backyard on a sunny and surpisingly windy day, developing a new obsession. Linoleum Block Printing.

I recently dusted off the blockprinting supplies Papa gave me a few birthdays ago. I have been a sucker for a nice block print ever since our honeymoon, when we visited Nashville's Hatch Show Print. Just look at these:Inspired, I sketched a simple design for an Easter card. I transferred it to the linoleum by flipping it over and tracing it, applying enough pressure to lightly transfer the design, then darkened the lines with pencil. I used a Speedball cutting handle fitted with the #3 blade (for wide, deep outline cuts) and began carving away. I finished the design with the v-shaped #2 blade and the fine #6 knife for detailing.Papa then cut me a chunk of wood to mount the finished piece, so I'd have a nice handle to apply even pressure.I put block printing ink (water soluble) onto a piece of cardstock and used a brayer to evenly distribute the ink onto the linoleum.Then, I crossed my fingers. Ta-da! It worked!
I washed the block and the brayer and tried the design with silver ink (which I love) and green ink, on all manner of paper colors and textures. The prints aren't perfect, by any means, but they are each unique and I am proud of my first attempt.

LESSONS LEARNED: The detail knife should only be used for the finest of details, no scooping. Text is tricky and next time I'll transfer the letters more accurately, and with a more uniform thickness. Toothbrushes make fabulous block cleaners. And the second print off of a fresh brayer of ink is the nicest, I think.

For a great tutorial and other posts about stampmaking with and without kids, visit Gennine's Art Blog. Simply gorgeous.


Erin said...

You go girl! It's hard working backwards like that, but yours turned out great - very beautiful :)

Mothering Two said...

I love it! Block printing, stamps, screen printing, are visually my favorite kinds of art. You did a great job, L!

Mama Bird said...

Fantastic! You are so crafty, girl. A real inspiration.

Rose said...


amandajean said...

wow! you did a great job! i can't imagine the time that must have taken!

Lina said...

I think that's pretty impressive for your first time!