Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tutorial: How to Carve Linoleum Blocks

i did a lot of carving in high school, mostly bas relief type stuff, but i really liked it.  i think it's where my passion for sculpture really started.  surprisingly though, i think i only did block printing once.  lately i've been really wanting to do something with a tribal print; but rather than using freezer paper and cutting out each individual piece, i decided to try block printing instead.  

-pencil (for sketching designs)
-lino blocks
-lino cutting tool
-x-acto knife

i got my lino blocks (unmounted) and lino carving tool from dick blick.  if you buy the unmounted lino blocks it's cheaper but you also end up with a lot of blocks.  so if you're only making a few stamps i'd go with mounted.  i got a set of carving tools which is somewhat nifty because the different heads fit inside of the handle.  on the other hand, the blades are all pretty dull and some of the ends are pretty jagged.  basically it made me wish i had bought my own instead of leaving them in storage in oklahoma.  but it got the job done.  

first start by sketching out your design onto the block.

then use the xacto knife to trace your design with a deep, smooth cut.

then use a U-shaped gouge, my personal fav no one likes the V-shaped gouges...and carve towards your design.  you should be applying a slight downward/forward motion toward your design and you should automatically stop when you reach the your original cut with the xacto knife (unless you're applying too much pressure).

continue all the way around your design.

to clear out the rest of the area, make gouges away from your design.

and that's it!  as my high school teacher always said:  always carve away from yourself, never point the blade toward yourself or your hand.  otherwise you'll end up stabbing matter what.

i think i'm going to use these to make some printed t-shirts and maybe some curtains.  i think they'd make some pretty snazzy curtains but i'm not entirely sure i want to commit myself to replacing my blinds just yet...

linking up with these blog-a-licious blogs!


  1. I remember doing this in junior high school! I really like your designs, I'd love to see what you do with them :)

  2. This is a neat project! Thanks so much for sharing on Marvelous Mondays. I hope to see you again next week. :)



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