Project #89 – Lino Block Initials

I learned how to carve linoleum blocks in high school, and I’ve made a new one every year since. I used last year’s to print our post-wedding thank you cards. Linoleum takes a little more muscle to carve than rubber blocks, but you can put a lot more detail into a smaller space. The result looks a lot like a wood block print and the overall effect can be textured and rustic looking.

There are a few ways to plan out the carving. It’s possible to draw directly onto the block. In this case, because I’m using text and it will need to be reversed I printed the letters into cardstock and cut them out with an x-acto knife. I used to write everything backwards as a kid, but these days I’ll just screw it up if I try to write in reverse.

Next, using the v-shaped cutting attachment carve a border around your figure. You’ll want to have something to lean against as it’s really easy to slip and cut yourself if your holding the block in your hand. I managed to cut myself twice before remembering this.

Then using the rounded cutting attachment cut away the larger areas that you don’t want to print.

Once you’re done cutting dust the stray bits off of your block to prepare it for inking. Roll out the block printing ink onto a smooth, flat surface like a piece of glass using a brayer. You’ll know if you’ve used the right amount of ink when it makes a sizzling noise as you run the roller over it. Now, run the roller over your stamp, making sure the ink is even.

Press your stamp onto your paper. The paper will stick so that you can turn the whole thing over. If you want thorough ink coverage rub your design with a spoon. Peel off the paper and you’ll have your design.

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