State Linocut Block Printing . How To-sday

June 19, 2012 separator DIY Tutorial

Today I have a fun tutorial by Kristen of The Artwork of Kristen Solecki. She’s going to show you how to make a linocut block print of your home state or country. The great thing about this project is that once you carve your block, you can use it over and over again to make prints. For that reason, it would be great for business cards or wedding invitations. This particular project, with your hometown, might be perfect for save-the-date cards! You use a lot of the same materials to make rubber stamps, so you could a ton of mileage out of your supplies. The main difference is that you’re carving linoleum blocks versus rubber, which means your block for these prints will be really durable and long-lasting. 
If you have any questions for Kristen about this tutorial, the prints in her Etsy shop, or custom art and logo work, you can leave them in the comments!
What You Need:

*Speedball makes a block printing kit that includes all these components and would also get you set up for basic rubber stamping projects as well. 

1.   Prepare your image. I drew my state (South Carolina) but you can easily print a copy of any state or country of your choice. I put a heart to show where in the state I currently live. Please note that you are printing the opposite of what you see. It is important to make sure you make a copy of your state an the mirror image of how you want it to appear when you print. 
Once your image is ready, turn it over and cover the back of your paper with graphite by rubbing all over with a soft lead pencil, like a number two variety. This will allow you to transfer your image onto your linoleum block. Once you covered the back of your image flip it over onto your block and trace over your drawing. It should be marked onto your block like you see in the image below.
3.   Now that your image is transferred, it’s time to carve away. Remember that anything you carve away will be white when you print, and anything you leave on the block will be colored or inked. Remember to always keep your hand that is not cutting behind your hand that is, as a guide and as a safety precaution.


4. When you’re done cutting, clean your linoleum of all excess shavings by dusting it off with a soft rag. Now squeeze some ink onto a paper plate or piece of glass and roll it out with your brayer or roller. You want your ink to be nice and smooth, if it  makes a sticky sound as you roll, that means you have too much ink and need to keep rolling until the ink looks flat and smooth.
5.   Roll your inked brayer over your cut linoleum block until your whole image is covered in ink. Again you want it to look smooth. 


6.   Print! Turn your block over onto your piece of paper and gently press. Repeat for as many prints as you’d like to make! This is a great project to make for a gift or for your home!

Kristen Solecki, the talent behind The Artwork of Kristen   Solecki, translates small moments and stories into illustrations with strong, changeable line work. She takes on clients for comissioned work and logo design and runs an Etsy shop packed full of owls, flowers, and other folk art in ink, paint, and various media. 


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