How To Block Print

How To Do Block Printing & What You Will Need

Add a personal touch by Block Printing your own greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift tags.  Block Printing is an art form dating back to 9th century China and can be used to design anything from cards and prints to decorating sketchbooks and cloth bags.

Why not create this year’s Christmas cards, gift wrap and tags with Block Printing techniques … and don’t worry, Block Printing materials have come a long way since I used them in school.  Soft cut lino and soft rubber rollers are now available and are so much easier to use.


Block Printing

What Will I Need To Do Block Printing?

You will need the following Art Supplies to do Block Printing:

– An Ink Tray.

– A piece of Lino.

– A Lino Ink Roller (also called a Brayer).

– A Lino Cutter with different sized blades.

Block Printing Ink.

– Paper or Blank Greeting Cards that you wish to print on to.

– A Pencil and Tracing Paper.

Alternatively, you can purchase a Lino Cutting and Printing Kit which contains everything that you need to start Block Printing. It would also make an ideal gift for any artist or student!

Essdee Lino Cutting & Printing Kit


When it comes to choosing a Lino Cutter, there are several different ones on the market. You can choose from a basic Lino Cutter tool with 5 different shaped blades or one with 10 different cutting blades.  For a Lino Cutter that does everything, go for the Essdee Lino Cutter and Baren Kit.  It cuts and burnishes and you can turn it into a stamp by attaching self adhesive lino discs.  Simply cut, attach, ink and stamp!  This would be ideal for creating gift cards, gift wrap and gift tags.


             Lino Cutter & Baren Kit        Block Printing Baren Tool


There are also different types of Lino available.  Soft Cut Lino is much softer and smoother than traditional Lino.  The cutter just glides through it and finer detail can be achieved with a craft knife.  Soft cut lino is ideal for beginners and for printing onto curved surfaces due to its flexibility.  Traditional Grey Lino and Mounted Lino Blocks are also available.


Soft Cut Lino

How To Do Block Printing:

1. Once you have decided on your image draw it onto the tracing paper.  Put the drawing pencil side down onto the lino and transfer it to the lino by tracing over your design with a hard pencil. Some artists draw directly onto the lino but it will print in reverse.  Consider this if using letters in your design.

2. There are now two options, the black line print or the white line print.  Do you want to create a print without a background or a print of cut lines?

For the black line print you will have to cut out the whole background of the lino, leaving only the raised parts / lines that you want to pick up the ink.  Soft cut lino is ideal for this technique, especially if letters and curves are in the design.  If creating a white line print you cut out the lines of your drawing leaving the background to pick up the ink.

Remember to start with shallow cuts.  If you dig the cutter down too deep it will cut through the lino block!


Cutting In To A Lino Block


3. Squeeze a small amount of Block Printing Ink onto your Printing Tray and then roll out the ink until it covers the brayer in a thin layer.  If you apply too much ink your design will appear blurry and the ink will cover over fine detail.  Too little ink will result in parts of your design not print.  If this happens, touch the printed design up afterwards with a small paint brush.

Roll the ink over your block and ensure even coverage.  It is usually best to do a test stamp on a piece of paper first to check that the whole design prints through.

4. Make sure your paper surface is slightly larger than your block and then place your block lino side down with firm even pressure. Peel the paper away from the block and put down to dry.

Ta Da! Now you are on a roll and can print as many as you want!

Remember to clean your block with water in between colour changes!

Try The Following Ideas In Your Block Printing Projects:

– Roll out two or more colours on your carved lino block and allow the colour changes to be spontaneous.

– If you are after a Block Printing Ink that is a bit more special, try the Schmincke Linoprint Paint. It has a great consistency and is fast drying.  You can create different effects with the 15 colours in the range as well as gold, silver and copper.  We also stock their special effect mediums in LINO-Pearl, LINO-Gloss and LINO-Glaze for extra special effects.  Add to the paint or roll directly over your print.

– Try adding glitter to your print when it is still tacky. Perfect for making sparkly Christmas Cards!


So now that you know how to Block Print, why not try creating your own handmade gifts and cards with Block Printing!


Get your Block Printing materials and other Art Supplies at Pullingers Art Shop.


Do you have any Block Printing Tips that you would like to share with us?

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