Saturday, 23 March 2013

How to create a lino print.

Lino Print Tutorial.

Having just recently got into lino printing myself I thought I’d share my methods and tips with you on how I go about creating my prints.

This is how I created the print featured in my previous post Handmade Three Seagulls Lino Print.

Lino printing is a relatively cheap, simple and versatile form of printing. It requires only a few basic tools to get started. Once you have mastered the basics the only limit is your imagination!

You will need:

Paper/fabric to print on

Block printing inks (widely available, I get mine on Amazon)

Lino board (again available online or from most craft/art supply shops)

Brayer (roller) I have a couple of different sizes.

Lino blades and handle to carve the lino (I have 5 blades and handle that I bought as a basic set)

Glass sheet to roll out ink (I use an old mirror, the glass from an old picture frame is another cheap alternative)

Lino printing equipment

The first step is to decide on a design and sketch it out on paper. Keep it simple to begin with, you can add more detail as you become more practised.

Initial sketch

Next you need to transfer your image onto the lino board. I do this by tracing over my image with a heavy weight pencil and then laying the image face down on the lino. I then apply pressure with a pencil over the reverse of the sketch which transfers it onto the lino. I then finalize the image on the lino with a permanent marker.

Image transferred onto soft cut lino

Once the image has been transferred you can start to carve away parts using a large blade for bigger areas and finer blades for the more detailed work. Always work away from yourself when cutting the lino and make sure your hands are never in front of the blade to prevent injury to yourself. It is so easy to slip when cutting! 

Remember that anything that you remove with your blade will appear white (or the colour of your paper/fabric) in your finished print as it will not take the ink. 

Sometimes with more complicated designs I take a photograph of my sketch and create a negative of it using a computer just to get an idea of how my finished print may look. Some people also take quick rubbings of their lino plate as they work to see how it is progressing.

Carved lino plate

When you are happy with how your lino plate looks it is time to start creating a print.

First put a small amount of ink onto your glass plate (I use an old mirror or sometimes an old decorating tray but anything that has a smooth washable surface will do). Roll out your ink using your brayer till it is spread thin and makes a tacky sound. Ensure that your brayer is completely covered with ink then roll onto your lino cut. Make sure the plate is completely covered with a thin layer of ink.

Inked up plate

There are different ways of creating a print but the way I do it is to have a piece of paper that is the same size as the one I intend to print on laid out on newspaper, this acts as my guide/template. I then place my lino cut face up where I want it on the sheet. Then using the first sheet of paper as a guide I line up a second (same sized) sheet and place it on top of the plate creating a sandwich. I then use a combination of rolling with a clean roller and rubbing with my hand (you can also use the back of a wooden spoon) to apply pressure evenly to the paper.

Applying pressure

Finally, carefully peel back your paper and you should have your completed lino print. If you are not entirely happy you can always go back, take some more lino away and reprint.

Final print and plate

Now comes the fun part, experiment with colours, papers, fabrics, textures and create as many prints as you wish!

Why not have a go? Get in touch let me know how you get on, I’d love to see if you have links to images!

For some inspiration visit the lino print section of PocketWren.