Step 4: SAFETY!!!!

You are going to be working with very, VERY sharp tools in order to cut your linoleum. They might look like nice and innocent little blades, but they can do some real damage.

Rules for using linocutting tools


This is a general rule when using any sharp object, but its a good thing to remember


This sounds stupid. How do you lose track of your finger? I promise you, it will happen. When you are carving, your non-carving hand will need to hold the piece of linoleum down to keep it from slipping and moving across your table. Instinctively you will want to hold it at the edge furthest from you, but if you are carving away from yourself, this puts your hand right in the path of your blades. No matter how much control you think you have, I promise you will slip from time to time. If your fingers are in the way, you will cut them. Trust me, your blades are sharp.


With such a sharp blade, you will make a tiny cut that is somewhat deep and will bleed a lot, if you do cut yourself. Apply pressure! Make sure you clean the cut by running it under hot water and applying antiseptic with a cotton swap or Q-tip. Place the band-aid on top of your cut to stop the bleeding and keep your finger from getting infected.


Linocutting is a great activity for kids who are mature enough to be around sharp objects. That being said, keep an eye on them!


In the unlikely event that your cut is fairly deep and will not stop bleeding, don't try and be the tough guy and wait it out. While it has yet to happen to me, I could easily see a foolish carver injuring themselves enough to need stitches. If you can see yellow fatty tissue in the cut, you probably need stitches. If applying pressure isn't slowing the bleeding, you probably need stitches. If your wound cannot be shut, you probably need stitches. With stitches, you cannot wait, you need to get them before the wound starts to heal. A large cut may heal without stitches, but is much more likely to get infected. When in doubt, call your doctor or visit a local ER.

<p>Agree about the bandaids. Suggest using on the knuckles of your carving hand. As you press deeply and focus on cutting, you won't notice until it's too late that you rubbing your knuckles on the surface. Nice to avoid with a pre-emptive bandaid.</p>
1. Is it possible to use acrylic paint instead of printing ink ? I tried this yesterday but results were not good.<br /> <br /> 2. It is possible to do the same kind of thing using balsa wood. It is just as quick as lino but there is a problem of cutting across the grain. Balsa is&nbsp; cheaper than lino so it is good for trying out designs before committing to lino. Balsa does work with acrylics<br /> <br /> 3. Even cheaper, in fact free, is to use styrofoam. This is used as food packaging. In the UK. It is used for boxes for takeaway food and for packaging pizzas. <br /> Styrofoan is quick and will take acrylics if it is sealed with printing ink first.<br />
<ol><li> everything's possible, but i wouldn't recommend it. it's a different consistency and bonds to the roller and the block differently, dries quickly, and can mess everything up when it dries. i'm not sure why you'd want to use it in the first place, though.<li>balsa wood is easy to carve, but it quickly degrades with use. and it's super absorbent, so the wood will actually swell and splinter and it's much harder to get a crisp image. The texture of the surface itself can also make for sloppy prints. if you want to try out a design, simply <strong>draw</strong> it, if it's not working as a drawing it probably won't work as a print. if you want to make a woodblock print, though, pine is usually the softest wood you can get that is still strong enough to survive the printing process<li>same deal as balsa, it's just not strong enough to survive printing, also the texture. I'm not quite sure why you want to use acrylic, though... shirts maybe? ink works fine for fabric. it doesn't sit on top like paint (or normal plastisol ink t-shirts, where you can feel the image on the fabric), but it absorbs into the fabric and stays.</ol>
&nbsp;1. I have heard it is, but I personally haven't tried. It probably depends on the type of acrylic. If I have some left over from a painting class I'm in right now I'll try it!<br /> <br /> 2. I have heard using Balsa wood, but I just figured it would be harder to use considering one has to consider the grain and I think it might dull your blades down a little quicker.<br /> <br /> 3. We have styrofoam here as well, though I've never tried it. Generally speaking I stay away from the stuff because it is pretty horrible for the enviornment, but finding a way to reuse it would be nice. I feel like it would be too easy to cut though, and that I would be bound to make more mistakes than I do with linoleum.<br />
If you have one of the counter top &quot;pastry boards&quot; with a &quot;lip&quot; on the edge that hangs over the counter top--USE IT for this as you brace the blocks against the lip that is on TOP of the counter. Of course you can add a lip on both edges of a wood cutting board or piece of plywood to make one. Do NOT place fingers in FRONT of your blade! This will help eliminate the dreaded--and dreadful--Finger Mangling. I have scars from this from 30 years ago! <br> <br>I wouldn't trade them but---better to prevent. <br> <br>You can also use a SHARP X-Acto knife to go AROUND the outline of your design sections as a guide line---you will not cut PAST that and it helps keep your edges crisp. <br> <br>If you play with this tech you will find that different blades leave many different edges and can be used for many different designs not just to remove the lino. Some I like are to leave the top &quot;ridges&quot; inbetween the cuts for texture. You can also &quot;chip&quot; away at the spots you want to for texture. it is hard to fix a small area if you mess up. But if you mess up a larger area you can carve out the whole section and glue on a NEW piece of lino and re-carve. <br> <br>For the styrofoam &quot;carving&quot; you don't actually carve--you just use something like a blunt pencil to impress the design--good for kids. There is a 'tute here for that! <br> <br>You can also print make using CRAFT FOAM--do a design; cut to fit a piece of scrap paneling or plywood or cardboard (if you only want to make a few copies) and glue on and ink. You can use this for Fabric Printing with acrylics and Fabric Medium (so the ink is not too stiff and scratchy) .
&quot;<a href="http://linomade.com" rel="nofollow">Linomade</a>&quot;
Lovely instructions. Could add using a baren or a wooden spoon for smoothing the paper down.
Great site on linocut. Do you mind if I use your owl image and this site to show my college level survey of printmaking class?? I will give all appropriate credits.
I don't mind at all! Go for it!
Thanks for making the supply list clear. It helped make my first cuts :D <br>(18&quot; x 4')<br><br>
Another way to do it is to put the inked block on top of the paper and roll over it gently with a clean roller, being sure to get every nook and cranny.
What I find to be a good indicator of well-rolled ink is the sound the ink makes when it's being rolled over. It'll almost sound like masking tape being peeled off of paper.
Also I use paper from my office for prints. This has been used on one side but works O.K. on the other - again free.<br /> <br /> Heavier art paper may need wetting a bit but the office paper can be used staright off.<br />
You do not use wet paper for lino cuts as it has &quot;lots&quot; of ink on the surface compared to other ways of printing. <br>Printmaking paper has less sizing (read glue to hold paper together) that would be the big difference in the ability to transfer ink to the paper.<br><br>The amount of ink that can be transferred has to do with the amount of pressure applied to the block as well. I have used printmaking paper and water color paper as well as drawing paper with great results. It does seem that it takes some time for the block to season and transfer the ink better. .
&nbsp;I have used office paper before, and while it doesn't look horrible, I find that unless the print is mainly empty space with a few lines, the paper warps as the ink dries.
Nice. This brought back some memories for me... I remember doing this at camp when I was a kid!<br />
This is a great tutorial!! Thanks so much. Also love your focus on safety :)&nbsp; <br />
&nbsp;Thanks! Safety is very important! About a week ago I was carving a large 16' x 20' piece of linoleum for a final project at university. I was talking to a friend and not paying attention and gave myself a nasty cut on my palm. Very deep, I almost got stitches! But right before we hopped in the car it stopped bleeding, so I opted for anti-biotic cream and a band aid.<br /> <br /> This is usually more of an issue for people like me, who are incredibly clumsy. Still, better safe than sorry!<br />
&nbsp;Owls! =D<br /> <br /> What's your experience with carving words in this medium? I don't mean the tiny little ones, but a good&nbsp;sizable&nbsp;chunk of font.<br />
<p>This gives me an idea.&nbsp; I have an Epilog laser, and I was thinking of using it to make woodcuts.&nbsp;</p>
&nbsp;I'll be honest, I know nothing about Epilog lasers. However, I would assume that it would make more accurate cuts, as well as making woodcutting much easier. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
That soft lino block stuff is great. Just be a little careful not to push hard, it takes almost no pressure to cut it. The best thing is that it minimizes cutting yourself! Better to ruin the block than injure yourself. Since it takes a good bit of pressure to cut linoleum, if the blade skips out of the lino and into your hand, it's going to cut deep. I&nbsp;know this from experience.<br /> <br /> The easy cut stuff also can be made into shaped blocks with ease, giving more flexibility and possibility for modular designs.<br />
Very cool
&nbsp;Thank you!

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