DIY Block Print

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:

block print supplies

Linoleum block

Lino handle (linoleum cutter)


Block printing inks

Bench hook

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.

drawing on block

First, draw out your image on the linoleum block with a pencil.

carve tools

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.

block on bench hook

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.

tiny carve tool

I switched to a smaller carver when I was carving out the inside flower shape.

carved block

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.

printing materials

After your block is ready, you can gather your surfaces to print on. I chose some card stock, a linen pillow case, and a white tank top.

ink on tray

The bench hook can also be used as an inking tray. Squirt some ink out on the center of the tray.

rolling ink tray

Take the rubber brayer and roll it in the ink, making sure to get good coverage.

brayer on block

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.

block down on paper

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.

print on paper

Lift off your block carefully to reveal the print!

all prints

To make more, just run your brayer back through the ink and reapply it to the block.

print vignette

You can hang your prints on a wall for a cool decor idea, or use them as handmade cards.

block on pillow

Next I tried printing on a linen pillow cover. This is so easy to do and looks so cool!

tank print

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.

tank top

Have fun carving and printing!

More DIY ideas from the BLDG 25 blog.

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7 years ago

Oh my gosh, that looks beautiful! Love how you decorated the pillow case and the top. Looks like I will be getting inspired on this for some home decor. :)

7 years ago

Always cut AWAY from yourself. I teach this in my art class…nobody ever listens.

7 years ago

This is awesome, I’ve never made a block stamp before. I especially love the way it came out with the gold paint on the flowy top, rad!! <3
xoxo Annejelina

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7 years ago

I LOVE block printing. So so much fun. You did a wonderful job!

xo, Juliette Laura

7 years ago

This is a great post! I am a printmaker by trade, and I find sometimes heating the linoleum up a little bit makes it easier to carve. I normally use a hot plate. if you don’t have one, I’m sure a hair dryer would work just fine. Love your blog.

7 years ago

Just amazing! I always loved taking print making and doing the block prints create the most beautifully imperfect results

xx, Tiffany
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7 years ago

very nice! I tell my students to wear a glove on the non-cutting hand. A little slip into the glove instead of your finger saves the bloodshed! Also, putting that piece of paper inside your garment it a great idea so the ink doesn’t bleed through to the back of the piece.

7 years ago

Did this as a child, using potatoes when making the stamps ;)

7 years ago

being a textile design graduate, printing is one of my favourite things ever. love it.


7 years ago

These are so cute, I know how to use potatoes, however those aren’t as big as a nice chunk of wood would be. Those vases are BEAUTIFUL!!! Do you recall where you got them from?


7 years ago

I love it!! ♥♥♥


7 years ago

Wow! I love this! I’ve been wanting to do some block printing on fabric so this is going to definitely give me the push I need! I am wondering if you could share your source for the tools and products needed? Thanks! Sue