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Lino Block Prints - Making Linoleum Block Prints

Would you like to make your own rubber stamps?

 

Lino block prints are fantastic home made rubber stamps. I love making linoleum block prints of dolphins and fish. (But also out of any other cute animal or sea creature.)  Simple cute cartoon sketches or line drawings are perfect for linoleum block carvings.  It's fun because it gets you thinking shapes rather than contour outlines.  You also have to think in reverse patterns and mirror images.  They turn on my creativity because I can get into hands-on carving and shaping which stimulates my thinking in 3D.

 For making linoleum block prints you draw your design onto the block REVERSED.  You can use carbon paper to trace your design right on the block.  Make sure if there is any writing or logo that it is backwards.  Then you carve out slivers bit by bit from your block WHERE YOU WANT white (or the color of the paper you are using), or blank space, or no ink, or absense of paint.

Linoleum is a very hard substance so carving blocks of a softer rubbery material are also available (see below).  I like both. Each gives a different feel.  You have to try and see what feels best to you.  Both are inexpensive and easy to use. My hand slipped a few times with the harder linoleum block carving, so I switched to the master carve rubber blocks (also called softoleum).  There is less slipping, but the cuts are different and print pressure is different when you go to block print. You will get a feel for it as you practice.

linoleum block carvings of a dolphin for lino block prints

Here's the dolphin cut- carved out of master carve block.  

The funnest part is anticipating while you are carving.  I always am eager to see how it will turn out.  The great thing about lino printing is that each time you print, it comes out a bit different.

Making Linoleum Block Prints of a Dolphin

linoleum blok printing of a dolphin

For Linoleum Block Print Making:  This is a dolphin lino block print I made.  It is carved into a lino block (of master carve) with carving tools and then painted with inks, markers, or watercolor paints (used here) and STAMPED onto paper or fabric to print.  It's such a great way to make your own rubber stamps.  It's fun because you have to think backwards.  The design you cut out is where the white will be.  Here's the tools I use.  I discovered MisterArt online and they are really inexpensive.  These 5 carving tools only cost $4.20!  You can buy lino blocks or Master Carve (a softer rubbery block material ) for just a couple of dollars. Its sold by size.  (See products to the right.) You draw with a pen right on the rubber.  (You draw your design or fonts backwards!)  Then you use the tools to cut them out.  With master carve you can cut on both sides of the block. 

 

linoleum block carvings of a fish for lino block prints

Also here is another example of a fish design I carved.

Linoleum block carving tools to make lino block prints

Carving Tool Set set of 5 

Moo Carve Artist Carving Block 4 in. x 4 in. x 1 2 in. 

 

Linoleum Blocks for carving art designs

Economy Linoleum Block 4 in. x 5 in. 

Speedy Stamp Blocks 4 in. x 6 in. block 

 

Save up to 75% on art & craft supplies 

Important for carving safety:  Always use sharp (rather than dull) tools (they come with a small sharpening stone).  Always carve away from you.  To make the linoleum a bit softer, you can warm it briefly on a coffee pot warmer.  Don't let it melt!

picture of lino block prints of blue fish

fish lino block print

picture of lino block prints of blue dolphin

dolphin lino block print

There's much more you can learn about making linoleum block prints.  There's inks, paints and special beautifully textured papers if you want to go all out. The fibers of a Japanese rice paper can add beautiful elegance to a print.  Or recycled paper with little wood pulp bits sprinkled within the paper fibers with an earthtone colored ink, can add a rustic flavor.  You can also just use a stamp pad (if it is big enough for your block). With printmaking, you can also get a brayer. It is a hard rubber tool to roll ink smoothly and evenly onto the block. (Sort of like a paint roller for inks)  I have one but have rarely used it because I am still learning about inks.  So, mostly I use markers and acrylic paints and paint bumpy right onto the block (with a stiff brush- careful not to get into the indents). Then I stamp away: on scrapbooks, cards, in journals, ...it's endless.  You can make original business cards or make a special signature stamp logo to sign your paintings. The wonderful thing is that no two block prints are ever the same. While you are carving, it's exciting anticipating how the first print will come out.  You can make a quick personalized gift for someone by making a stamp of their name.  Just make sure you write it backwards, so when you stamp it, it can be read.  I learned this mistake the hard way.  (But you could always say, it's their name in code and they have to look at it in the mirror?!

 

 

A few more examples of carved lino blocks:

picture of linoleum block carvings of lion

Lino block  Lion carving

picture of linoleum block carvings of lilly bug

Lino block
Lilly Bug carving

brayer for making linoleum block prints

Rubber Brayer hard 4 in. 

brayer (ink spreader) for making linoleum block prints

picture of linoleum block carvings of chinese lettering saying thank you

Linoleum block carvings of chinese lettering saying thank you.

 

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