Lino cutting has been on my list of crafts to try out for a while now. I’ve finally got stuck in and I love it! I’ve been enjoying this printing process so much that I am about to ‘attempt’ to venture into the world of selling. Yep, you guessed it. I have just launched my very own Etsy shop (eek!). The Etsy shop name is called Gifts Made By M. Currently there’s only two designs for sale but I’m working on more prints to add to the shop soon.
If any of you own an Etsy shop I would love to hear your thoughts & any advice you could give. Equally, if you are interested in purchasing a print head over to my shop for more details. As well as the prints I am also working on a series of craft kits that I will be adding the shop. I’ll be sharing more news on this as the products develop! Sorry for the shameless self-promotion but if my own blog can’t promote my work who will!
Now, onto the making. With lots of great tutorials online to choose from, it’s easy for anyone to venture into the world of printing. Check out Linocut boy for some great tips on technique, materials and inspiration. I’ve also started a Pinterest board dedicated to lino printing (any excuse to fuel my Pinterest addition). You can explore the board here.
I’ll admit I have a habit of skipping the basics when it comes to learning new crafts. I guess I just get impatient and want to dive into something more ambitious (and usually way beyond my capabilities at first!). Which is why I ended up making an intricately carved, three colour gradient print.
- Lino cutting tools
- Ink (I used water based)
- Slip resistant mat (optional)
- Tracing paper & pencil (optional)
Start by tracing over your design with a pencil. Place your tracing paper face down onto your lino and rub with a pencil over the drawing to make a transfer onto the lino. I like to start by carving the outline before delving into the trickier areas. Experiment with techniques & different blades on a scrap piece of lino first. You will soon get to grips with the pressure needed. There’s no right or wrong way here. Just find a technique that works for you.
Once you have carved out your design make sure that the negative space has been carved out well so that no ink bleeds into parts where it shouldn’t. When rolling the ink onto your design make sure to cover all areas with an even coverage of ink. I have been hand pressing my prints. There’s a wooden spoon technique which is popular for hand pressed prints where you use the back of a spoon to apply pressure to the lino.
- You can purchase a slip resistant mat to help keep your lino in place whilst carving. I’ve just been using a rubber heat mat from the kitchen.
- Make sure to always carve away from your hand. I know this seems like an obvious one but it is easy to get carried away with a curve and ignore the risks of slipping and cutting yourself. Trust me, I’ve got the v-shaped cuts to prove it.
- Don’t use too much ink. You only need a small amount to work into your roller.
- Water based inks are a whole lot easier to clean. I have yet to try out oil based inks for this very reason. Although, from what I have researched, oil based inks give a much denser colour and more even coverage, there’s quite a lot of hassle involved in cleaning.
Go the extra mile
- It doesn’t have to be a print design you are making. You could stamp onto cards, invites, letters, notebooks or even fabric.
- Black is the traditional colour used for lino cutting. But there’s now a huge variety of ink colours available to experiment with.
- You could even carve a range of stamps and make your very own customised wrapping paper!