Learn how to do linocut printing and create a modern, graphic, leaf-shaped linocut stamp to print your own cards and artwork. This is a simple project that uses just a few materials.
The different processes to linocutting make it an interesting artform – from drawing your design and cutting the lino, to rolling on the ink and finally that magical part when you stamp your image to see it replicated on your card. Plus, the beauty of printing is that you can use your design again and again – perfect if you want to whip up a batch of cards in one go.
It’s worth taking some time to practise using the cutting tool on a piece of lino so you get the feel of it and how much pressure to apply. You’ll find that holding the tool at a bigger angle will create deeper cuts.
To make our leaf linocut, you will need:
A rubber ink roller
Piece of lino
Lino cutter handle and a small and large v-blade
Block printing ink
Non-slip cutting mat
Permanent marker pen
A linocut safety hand guard (optional)
How to make your leaf stamp:
1. Place your piece of lino on the paper and draw around it so you know the boundaries of your design space. Draw your design in pencil within this frame, then cut the frame out.
2. Put the paper, with the design facing down, on top of the lino. Hold it tightly in place and scribble firmly over the top with a pencil to transfer the image onto the lino. Lift a corner to check the design has transferred, and go over it again if necessary. Your design will be back-to-front on the lino.
3. Using a marker pen, colour in the parts of the design that you want to print.
4. With your lino cutter, cut out the areas that aren’t coloured by the marker pen. Make sure you work on a non-slip mat to keep your lino steady and remember to cut away from your body. Use a small v-shaped gouge to shape around the edges of your leaf.
5. Use a larger gouge to cut out the bigger sections.
6. Squeeze a little ink onto a tray or tile. Dip your roller into the ink, then spread it over the tray. Roll until the ink is smooth and even, and make sure it isn’t too heavy and gooey.
7. With a slow, even pressure, roll a thin layer of ink across your lino design – keep it thin so it doesn’t go into the carved areas. Repeat a number of times, in different directions, to cover the whole design. If you get some on the surrounding lino, wipe it off with a (dry) cloth.
8. With your lino ink side up, put the front of your card on top. Holding it firmly so it doesn’t move, rub over the card with the back of a wooden spoon. Work over each small area in firm, circular movements, until you’ve covered the whole design.
9. Now, for the moment of truth! From one corner, gently lift the card off the lino to reveal your print. Leave your print to dry for two or three days, flat or hung from a line.