Block Printing Ink – Linocut printing

Linocut printing is a great technique and lots of fun. Once you've cut the design in the lino, you're ready to print.  This tutorial takes you through the process step by step.

Step 1

For an accurate print firstly plan your design on a piece of paper, remembering that the printed image will be a mirror image of the printing block. Keep the components of the design in close proximity to minimize ink being rolled onto the backing card.

A border will help define the edges of the print. Trace over the design with a ball point pen to impress the image onto the backing card. This will give clear guide lines for mounting the cut design. Cut out the design and glue the pieces into place.
Step 2

Use a smooth, flat sheet of plastic or metal (an old baking tray will do) or a lino tile as an ink bed. Place a small amount of water based printing ink onto the bed and roll it out thinly and evenly.

Step 3

The roller will now have a thin, even layer of ink on it ready to roll onto the printing block. Use a smooth forward and backward action to cover the block. (If some ink is transferred to the backing card simply tear a small piece of newsprint and mask this area to prevent the unwanted ink from being printed.)

Step 4
Place a sheet of paper on the inked block taking care not to move it and firmly roll over the back of it with a clean roller. Alternately burnish with the back of a spoon or the heel of your hand. Before peeling the paper away, lift one corner to ensure the design has been transferred and no areas missed.

Step 5
Carefully peel the paper away to reveal your print. As an alternative:

For a more colourful print try rolling more than one colour onto the block, overprint with a second colour, print onto coloured paper or prepare your own coloured paper by sponging the surface with contrasting paints. 

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Tony Parker
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