Fun with Lino Printing

Issue 5 of my favorite Australian zine, Mix Tape inspired me to finally try something I’d been meaning to for a long time: printing!  Taking a screen printing class has been on my to-do list for years; I’ve coveted a Gocco printing kit for FOREVER; I’m obsessed with graphics arts and anything block printed (I sometimes think the main reason I keep CNN on constant-play in the house, is because of their poster-print inspired graphics! ;)); so Lino Printing is right up my alley!
It was Diana Jones’ “The Lowdown on Lino” article though, that pried me away from my regularly scheduled “work” crafting, to finally dip my proverbial toe into the wonderful world o’ printing!
I took a sketch of a simple tree I drew for a project in our eco book, and traced it onto a rubber block (I wanted linoleum tiles but unfortunately, they didn’t carry them at the craft store I bought the rest of the supplies from).
Using my fancy schmancy lino cutter (I’ve heard lore that a box cutter will work too), I carved away my design. 
Now, it was time to print!  I used unbleached cotton as my canvas, but any fabric would’ve worked. 
Below is the aforementioned cutter and also the brayer (the tool that helps the image print evenly).
The application is much the same as foam stamping.  Using a sponge brush, evenly apply printing ink onto raised surface of your block.  Place the block face down, on fabric or card stock.  Using a brayer (or rolling pin), roll over back of black several times.  Carefully remove block.  Experiment with different colors and amounts of ink.  I ended up liking the more faded look best (ie. less ink), but it’s totally just a personal preference.
Now it was time to set the ink.  There may be a special heat source tool for this step, but I used a hair dryer; which seemed to work just fine. 🙂

Of course, I had to also see if this art form was applicable to knitting, so I gave the printing a try on a sweater scrap.  It worked!  I see many mixed media projects in my future. 🙂

All in all, I had so much fun playing around with this project!  I definitely learned a few things, and will try and get more adventurous with my carvings the next time I try it.
Further feed my obsession by posting links to your own block printing adventures (which I’m sure, will put my first-try examples to shame! :))
xo, Vickie
Tree artwork copyright Vickie Howell, Inc. 2008.  All rights Reserved.