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  1. #1
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    Feb 2005
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    Rochester, NY
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    Questions about Linoleum Block Printing

    I am planning to introduce my older son to block printing. He'll be 12 on Dec. 1st)
    Since I haven't done it myself since high school, I need a bit of help w/ a few things.
    1st, the brayer/roller. I am planning to use the water soluable inks. Is it better to use a soft brayer, or a hard one?
    Do you place your inked-up block on the paper, like a stamp? Or do you put the paper over the block? If so, what do you use to make the image transfer evenly from the block to the paper? Another brayer? A roller? Are these 2 interchangeable?
    What type of paper should be used? Could I use office papers you'd find at an office supply store? Specifically, the colored papers.
    I was thinking we could make x-mas cards by printing black ink onto x-mas colored papers. Or would they not hold the ink well?
    I checked out Dick Blick for the supplies. They have great prices!!
    Thanks for your help! I appreciate it!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2004
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    Boston
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    Re: Questions about Linoleum Block Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Sewlittletime
    1st, the brayer/roller. I am planning to use the water soluable inks. Is it better to use a soft brayer, or a hard one?
    I would go with hard for all block printing; soft makes it too easy to get inside the grooves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sewlittletime
    Do you place your inked-up block on the paper, like a stamp? Or do you put the paper over the block? If so, what do you use to make the image transfer evenly from the block to the paper? Another brayer? A roller? Are these 2 interchangeable?
    From what I recall it first of all depends on the size of the block, but generally the paper goes on the image source. I would not glue the block to anything.
    Getting it even can be done with another brayer though you should get one that is the size of the block, where the ink application one should be smaller than the block and you should use a criss cross pattern when applying.
    The block should be put on a slightly soft surface something with the consistency of leather rather that a hard surface that will allow it to slide around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sewlittletime
    What type of paper should be used? Could I use office papers you'd find at an office supply store? Specifically, the colored papers.
    I think it depends on the type of ink you use, though I think regular paper is fine, different papers will have different effects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sewlittletime
    I was thinking we could make x-mas cards by printing black ink onto x-mas colored papers. Or would they not hold the ink well?
    If you have something like a paperZone in your area you should go there for paper; it will depend on the absorption of the paper and how transparent or opaque the ink is. Some of it will come down to trial and error.

    I have not done this in a while (but I used to teach it to kids) so I am happy with any corrections people want to make but I think this should be good for a home set up.

    ~Q

  4. #3
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2004
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    Northern California
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    i prefer hard blocks, because the rubber ones tend to be too soft and crumbly, but it also depends on how experienced your son is with very sharp tools.

    i roll (water soluble) ink out onto the back of a glass dinner plate to spread it. anything very smooth and nonporous works, like a large tile or tray. you probably shouldn't use something you are going to eat off of later.

    if the block is small enough to pick up and handle, i turn it over onto the paper (i find it easier to center that way), then flip it back over (with the paper stuck to the ink) and either go over it firmly with another brayer or rub with the back of a wooden spoon or my fingers.

    any paper works okay, but softer cotton papers look better. office paper is thin and hard, and the image doesn't look as rich as on something like Arches.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2005
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    Rochester, NY
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    Oh Thank You quornflour and stella!! Your replies help so much!!
    I will check out papers first so I can decide which color inks to get.
    I'm sure I'll end up doing most of the block carving, but with very close supervision, I'm sure he can handle a bit of the carving.
    I'm going to have my 4 yr old draw a picture as well, which I'll carve onto a block for him. I'm thinking they can both do a holiday-themed block to incorperate into the card.

    This'll be fun! I've been wanting to try this again for the longest time!!

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    363
    I think this would be a great project for your 12 year old to learn trial and error! He can really get involved in finding the right paper/ink and figuring out the best methods.

    I miss linoleum block printing! I should try my hand at some.


 

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