I’m almost finished fixing up our dungeon of a laundry room. (Before + after photos coming soon.) For the finishing touch I needed some simple cheery artwork, but I didn’t want to spend much. So, I decided to do some block printing. Here’s how:
1. lino handle with an assortment of cutters
3. dull pencil
4. inkjet print of your design in black on regular paper
5. inking plate (a piece of wax paper taped to your work surface will also work)
6. carving block (I like Speedball’s Speedy Carve best because it doesn’t crumble)
8. water-based block printing ink
9. baren (helpful, but not required)
10. paper for printing on (I like to use thick textured drawing paper so the weave of the paper shows through in the print.)
1. Place your printed design ink side down on the carving block. Use a dull pencil to scribble on the back of the paper. Press down hard to ensure that the ink transfers. (Or you could skip this step and draw your design directly on the block.)
2. With scissors, cut the excess carving block from around the design.
3. Use your smallest cutter to carve around the outline of the design. Anywhere you carve will not be inked, so don’t carve anything that is supposed to print. Next, use a larger cutter to scoop away the rest of the area around your design. Be careful that you don’t slip and carve your hand. These things are sharp!
4. Once you are satisfied with your carved block, you’re ready to print. Clean up all those crumbs before you start inking!
5. Squeeze ink blobs onto your inking plate or wax paper. You can mix colors right on the inking plate as you roll the brayer through the ink to coat the roller.
6. When you have a thin coat of ink on your brayer gently roll the ink onto your block. Make sure your design is evenly coated. Try not to get ink on the edges of your block, or you might end up with ink in places you weren’t expecting.
7. Place your block ink side down on the paper. Apply even pressure by firmly pressing your baren onto the back of the block. (You can use an old book, coffee mug—or anything with a wide flat surface—to press the block down if you don’t have a baren.)
8. Peel up your block and whalah! You just block printed.