Step 5: Printing

Proofing: Proofing is important. It shows you how the block will print and what mistakes you need to fix before you start really printing. You can proof your print on paper grocery sacks, butcher’s paper, or really any scrap paper you have around so that you don’t waste good paper on proofs, you can use the paper for your good prints instead.

After you have proofed, you can go back and carve out the parts of the design that didn't print the way you might have liked. Try to proof your block every time that you make new cuts to make sure you are satisfied with the way that the block is printing. 

To print you will need:

• Printer’s Ink (NOTE: Oil ink is permanent, so be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and consider wearing rubber gloves to keep your hands clean.)
• Carved block
• Ink roller (brayer)
• Smooth surface (glass plate or glass baking pan)
• Paper
• Spoon (or Baren)

Be sure to first clean your block off so that there are no stray shavings because they will mess up your print.

Begin by squeezing ink onto your glass plate or pan, I simply used my bench hook as a flat surface for my ink. Do not use too much ink, if you need more you can add on later.
Use a paint knife or just a flat utensil like regular knife or even simply a Popsicle stick to spread the ink onto the surface of the plate.

Now, roll your brayer (roller) in the ink until it is evenly coated. Do not get too much or too little ink on the roller. When you have the right amount of ink on the roller, it should make a sound like ripping Velcro when you roll the brayer back and forth.
Now taker your roller and roll it back and forth across your linoleum block, making sure you cover the entire thing evenly.

Make sure your hands are clean!

Take your paper and position it in the block, now take your wooden spoon and rub, using the backside, curved side, to transfer the image. Go in even circles with the spoon and be sure to rub the entire area.

Lift the paper slowly and carefully, and lay it somewhere to dry for three to four days. Hanging prints is an easy way to dry them. You can do this by hanging a string and use clothespins to hang the prints.

After every print you need to re-ink the block.
<p>Nice instructable! Take a look at the small printing press I made :-)</p>
<p>I haven't done a linocut since college. I've got my image drawn, I know how to do the transfer. My question is. I know there is an easier way to transfer the drawing using a solvent of some sort that will break down the ink onto the lino. block? Is that Acetone?? i.e.Where you put your image face down and taped (scanned in and printed) onto the lino block and then cover it with acetone? or is that for another type of printmaking? </p>
So sorry for the late reply! Im sure you have answered your question by now, but for anyone else who is wondering: You can transfer images using acetone. I've only done this on 100% wood blocks and not linoleum, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I would just be sure to use a simplified image. If there are a lot of grey tones, it might get confusing durning the carving process. So keep that in mind and maybe stick to bold outline photo transfers.
<p>Thankyou really good idea to transfer image, Louise</p>
Thank you! I'm always looking for ways to cut costs!
<p>Thank you for your clear instructions and definitions. I'm looking forward to learning how to block print!</p>
Thank you so much! Good luck on your first block! It's always the hardest and you will likely make a few mistakes, I know i did. Just remember that you can always turn mistakes into really awesome aspects of your print that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise! :)
<p>Can you use regular inkjet printer ink for block printing?</p>
<p>I wouldn't recommend it. The reason I use oil based ink is that as you are charging your roller and applying it to your block, the block tends to absorb the ink a bit, causing you to have to use more ink, especially the first time you try and apply the ink to the block. I'm not entirely sure if inkjet printer ink is oil based or an acrylic, and depending on that, it could become difficult to ink up your block, which can get really frustrating within itself. If you'd like to try it with the inkjet printer ink, I always encourage creativity and trying to find alternatives to traditional methods, however, I would recommend just going to your local craft store and picking up a small tube of oil based ink, or there are specific types of printing inks that are water soluble inks if you would prefer that. It's an investment that you won't regret and that will last you for quite awhile.</p><p> Here are some links to Amazon that are a rather good deals for small sets of printing inks:</p><p> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Speedball-Oil-based-Block-Printing-Starter/dp/B0027ACJBO/ref=sr_1_1?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1412856257&sr=1-1&keywords=oil+based+ink" rel="nofollow">Speedball Oil-based Block Printing Ink Starter Set</a></p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Speedball-Basic-Block-Printing-Ink/dp/B004PZ1ZJG/ref=pd_sbs_ac_20?ie=UTF8&refRID=0A3J2101097M6XT6V6YQ" rel="nofollow">Speedball Basic Block Printing 4 Ink Set</a></p><p>I hope this helps! Thank you for taking a look at my Instructable and I wish you all the best in your printing endeavors! :)</p>
Great work Angela. Your instructions are very clear and you've developed the steps in a very easy-to-follow manner. You also have great photos. That elephant design and print turned out absolutely beautiful!!!!
Gorgeous - and such patience! I love linoleum block printing, but it is so time consuming.
I did simple ones of these at college, couldn't get the tools to work in my favour, but yours is really good, i love the design it looks wicked. :)
This is fantastic. I love the elephant, too. :D
Thank you so much! It really means a lot that you enjoyed it! :D

About This Instructable


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Bio: I'm Angela! I'm a student at Indiana University majoring in Art Education. My ultimate goal is to become a high school art teacher ... More »
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