Linocut Print Making Tutorial

linocut relief prints
linoleum for linocut print making

Hey guys! Today I’m sharing a simple Linocut print making tutorial featuring a project I’m working on for my Printmaking class at school.

Linocut is basically what it sounds like, carving out a piece of linoleum to create a surface to print from, or “matrix”.

The above image shows what the piece of linoleum looks like before it is carved.  You will begin with something similar to this.

Step 1

Draw your design directly onto the surface in pencil.  Then you can go over the pencil with Sharpie or another permanent marker that gives the lines some thickness.

linocut print making

At this point don’t worry too much about making mistakes since you can adjust the image when carving.

Step 2

Use your carving tools to carefully carve out your designs, scooping out a little bit of material at a time until you get the design and depth you want.

After carving out the plates they look like the ones below. You can also cut around the edges to get rid of unwanted material.

linocut tutorial

Step 3

Before printing your designs on expensive card stock paper make a few test prints. I like to use regular printer paper for this, to see where I might need to make some adjustments. 

Squeeze out your printing ink onto a glass plate and scrape it around using a palette knife so the ink will be the right consistency.

This is called “warming” the ink.  Sometimes the ink can be too wet or too dry so you have to experiment with it to get the look you want for your print. 

I had to leave my tube of water-based relief ink overnight with the cap off because it was way too watery. 

linocut print making tutorial

Step 4

Use your brayer to ink up the carved linocut plate over a clean piece of newspaper. The ink tends to get all over the place so you have to be pretty careful and wash your hands a lot and use a clean piece of paper between each print.

The ink always seems to wind up going somewhere you don’t want it on your plate so one way to counter this is to rip off tiny pieces of paper and put them on top of those spots before printing.

Step 5

Lay the paper carefully over the inked linocut plate. Then you need to press it down so to do this I use a wooden spoon and rub in small circles all over the design. You will need to press fairly hard and try to get it even in all areas.  I go over it several times to make sure the print will be as even as possible.

Here is how mine turned out next to my wooden spoon.

relief prints

Peel off your paper, and voila! Not too bad right?

Here are the finished prints I made with these linocuts!

I hope you’ve found this post interesting and useful.  If you would like more information about this printing process do feel free to leave a comment.

If you like my work please check out my website and follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more updates! 

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

~Julie

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