A fine print

TRY YOUR HAND AT A LITTLE HOME LINOCUTTING.

Frankie - - CRAFTY - Words and project Richelle Ber­gen

MA­TE­RI­ALS

pa­per / soft lead pen­cil / ezy cut print­ing block or artist’s linoleum block / linoleum cut­ters / piece of glass or plas­tic ink­ing plate / a brayer (a roller made for print­mak­ing) / print­mak­ing ink (we used black and yel­low ochre) / print­mak­ing pa­per / baren or wooden spoon

HOW TO

Start by draw­ing your de­sign onto a piece of pa­per with a soft lead pen­cil. Your draw­ing should be the same size you want your fi­nal print to be. (We used an 18x18cm cir­cle.)

Once your draw­ing is com­plete, lay it pen­cil-side down onto your lino or ezy cut block. Then, care­fully rub your fingers across the back of the pa­per to trans­fer the draw­ing to the block. (A soft lead pen­cil and dark lines help the draw­ing to trans­fer bet­ter.) You could also skip this step en­tirely and care­fully draw right onto the block – just be sure not to dent it with your pen­cil tip, as it will show up in your fi­nal print!

Once your draw­ing is trans­ferred, it’s time to be­gin carv­ing. The ba­sic prin­ci­ple of block-print­ing is that any­thing you carve away will be white (or the colour of your pa­per) and any­thing left will be the colour of your ink. If you’re mak­ing your own de­sign, re­mem­ber the fi­nal prod­uct will be flipped and mir­rored, which is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant if you’re print­ing words!

Start with a 20x20cm square block and cut out the main 18x18cm cir­cle, keep­ing the ex­tra lino for the next step. Then, carve out all the lines, as well as four cir­cles where the coloured flow­ers will go. Feel free to ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent tips on your lino cut­ter. Some have small tips for tiny de­tails, and oth­ers have wider tips for carv­ing out big­ger ar­eas.

Af­ter the main de­sign is carved, grab four smaller pieces of lino (the bits left over from the be­gin­ning should do). These will be­come the coloured flow­ers. Choose a sim­ple flower shape and carve four of them, the same sizes as the small cir­cles in your main block.

Next, place a few blobs of black ink onto a smooth piece of glass or plas­tic (the front of an old pic­ture frame works well). Us­ing your brayer, roll the ink out un­til it’s evenly spread on the glass. Then, with your inked brayer, roll the black onto your carved block. Make sure to cover ev­ery part of the block evenly. You don’t need a lot of ink – in fact, less is more!

Take a piece of print­mak­ing pa­per and care­fully lay it over the top of your inked block. Us­ing the back of a wooden spoon, a baren or your fist, ap­ply even pres­sure to the back of the pa­per. Then, care­fully lift up the pa­per to see your print!

Wait till the black ink is dry to do the flow­ers. Get your ac­cent colour ready us­ing the same process as with the black – dab it on the glass, then spread it out with the brayer. (You can use the same brayer as be­fore, just make sure to prop­erly wash and dry it first.) There’s just one dif­fer­ence while print­ing the flow­ers: in­stead of plac­ing the pa­per onto the block, you should press the block onto the pa­per like a stamp. This al­lows you to place the flow­ers per­fectly.

Once carved, your lino blocks can be used to make as many prints as you want. You could even gift them to fam­ily and friends so they can get their own craft on!

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