A Little "How To Make a Linocut"

Amy Friendbuttons, etsy, linocuts8 Comments

I was asked how I made my linoleum block prints (linocuts). These are the tools of the trade. You need a block of linoleum, a carving tool with all the different tips, a brayer, and an inking tray.
First, I sketch my design onto the linoleum block. Then I use the carving tool to carefully carve out the negative spaces, those that I do not want the ink to touch. You should always carve away from yourself as the carving tool and slip and give you quite a nasty gash (ouch!).

These are a few of my finished blocks. The surfaces that are not cut away will receive the ink.

I use the Speedball inks on the left for printing on paper and the Versatex inks on the right for fabric. I begin the printing process by putting a little ink on the inking tray and rolling it with the brayer. Then I roll the brayer over the carved linoleum block. Once the block is covered in ink, I turn it over and press it onto the fabric or ink. When I remove the block, I will see the mirror image of my linoleum block. There is a bit of trial and error involved in getting the right amount of ink, the right amount of pressure, etc. to get a good print. Often I print many and save only one. Each print will be different because they are hand pulled from the block.

This is my latest batch of buttons. I used linen this time and printed in black ink. I printed some Wagon Wheels which you saw before in red. This time I made another set of buttons that I am calling “Knot Your Average Buttons.” I couldn’t resist the play on words…sorry. The image is a detail of an Ulbster Cross aka the Celtic Wedding Knot. These are in the shop.