If you’ve always wanted to make your own custom-stamped cards, patches or invitations, but feel like you’re out of luck since you aren’t a master illustrator, this instructable is for you! No drawing skills? No tracing ability? No problem! If you can carve a pumpkin, you can make a linocut. I’ll show you a handy shortcut to making your own linocut and you’ll be block-printing away in no time.
This instructable includes a photocopy transfer technique to apply an image to your linoleum block, an introduction to carving linoleum, ideas for embellishing your block print with color, and tips on printing on to fabric and scrap paper.
A set of carving tools with different tips ($6-$10 for a starter set)
A linoleum block ($1.29 for a 2"x3" piece & up)
Block-printing ink ($3.79 for a small tube of water-soluble, a couple extra dollars for oil)
A brayer (I got a 4” hard rubber one for $7)
A barren (optional; $6-$20)
A plate of glass for ink, or a flat-bottomed glass dish (around the house)
Use of a printer or copy machine & standard paper
Cards, scrap paper, or fabric to print on
Step 1: First thing's first- what are you making?
Before you buy any materials, you need to decide what your end result will be. I tend to be a spontaneous art-maker, but this is one thing that benefits from planning ahead of time.
Do you want to make your own wedding invitations? How about some postcards or patches for your band? You’ll need to know the size of your final product so you can select the right size linoleum block for your project.
I usually make art cards with card blanks (a heavy cardstock with a shallow pre-bend) in a 5”x7” size so that they are easy to frame, so I use linoleum blocks that are 5”x7” for that purpose. I find it is easiest to use paper that is the same size as your block when you’re printing.
You can print on most smooth surfaces that will hold ink. Paper is ideal, fabrics with a mild texture work best. You can use either water-soluble inks or oil-based ink for paper; it’s best to use oil-based ink for fabric or wood.