I think the last time I did a block print was back in high school art class. I remember my teacher always making such a big deal about it because we had to use “the SHARP tool.” Well, some years have passed, and I really wanted to have another go at this.
Block printing has been around for years, and it’s a way that you can create a relief print, or more or less, a stamp of an image of your choice.
I’ve really been inspired by our Moroccan Romance lookbook, so when I was choosing an image, I went for one that resembled a Moroccan tile.
Once you’ve carved out your image and made your stamp, it’s fun to experiment with different colored inks and printing surfaces. Read below to find out how to carve your own, and learn some different ways to use it!
What you need:
Lino handle (linoleum cutter)
Block printing inks
Paper for printing on (I used some pieces of white card stock)
All of these items can be purchased at an art supply store, or you can purchase a block printing kit that supplies you with everything. I purchased a kit from Blick Art Materials.
First, draw out your image on the linoleum block with a pencil.
Once you have your image, it’s time to carve. Above is the tool called a lino handle. The bottom screws off, and inside will be different sized carvers that you can switch out, depending on the area you are carving.
Place your block on the bench hook (that’s that black tray). This will help you apply pressure when carving, and will help protect your hand from slipping so you don’t carve any of your fingers! (I experienced a little bloodshed when I was working on mine, so definitely be careful.) I started out with one of the thicker carvers to take away some of the larger areas.
Remember: Whatever you carve out won’t hold any ink, only the pieces of your block that are left raised up will.
I switched to a smaller carver when I was carving out the inside flower shape.
This is what my block looked like when I was all done carving. The area that I didn’t carve is the shape that will be printed.
The bench hook can also be used as an inking tray. Squirt some ink out on the center of the tray.
Take the rubber brayer and roll it in the ink, making sure to get good coverage.
Transfer the ink to your block by rolling the brayer over your carving. Make sure to cover all of the raised area with a good amount of ink.
After your block is fully covered, take some card stock and make a print onto the paper. Make sure you press down firmly all over the back of the block to make sure the ink transfers to the paper.
Lift off your block carefully to reveal the print!
To make more, just run your brayer back through the ink and reapply it to the block.
You can hang your prints on a wall for a cool decor idea, or use them as handmade cards.
Next I tried printing on a linen pillow cover. This is so easy to do and looks so cool!
Lastly, I washed off the blue ink and switched to gold. (The ink washes off easy in some warm water.) I took an old white tank top, and to give it life again, I tried printing half of my carved out design along the bottom edge of the tank top. It’s good to get fabric printing inks if you are going to be printing on fabrics.
Have fun carving and printing!
More DIY ideas from the BLDG 25 blog.
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