How to make Lino Prints

I have attempted to make a video, using photographs, to demonstrate how to make a lino cut print.  I imagine it would be even easier to understand the process in film, but until I get a video camera,  photographs and film making software is all I have!

Here is my explanation in blogging format, with more detailed written instruction.  I am sure my students would expect me to write instructions, if I make them practice a few times a year.  Maybe I should set an exercise to read through, and find all the imperative verbs Mrs Miles has used in some real life instructions…fun times I’m sure. 

Lino cut is a print making technique.  Wood used to be use as the ‘print block’, but lino is much easier to cut into.  To cut a design into a lino, I use these tools:

You can screw each blade into the handle, and when they become too blunt, you can just replace the blade.  I mainly use the v shaped blade to cut out the design, the u shaped blade to clear away larger sections, and the flat blade to cut the lino into smaller sections.

Before I start cutting, I always draw out a coloured design onto paper, so I know which parts of my design to cut away first.  I then draw a line drawing of my design onto the lino.  Remember when you print, the image will come out as the mirror image of the design drawn onto your lino.  This can be tricky, as you have to draw everything on back to front onto the lino, if it matters which way around your image is (you may have letters for example).DSC_0972

Then you can start cutting!  Always start cutting away the parts you want to keep the colour of the page.  In my ice hockey linos, I have a lot to cut away, as the ice is white and so is the paper! I also cut away anything I want to fill in with a different medium e.g. pastel or watercolours.

Afterwards, I squeeze out the ink I need as my first (lightest) layer onto some glass.  I then roll the ink out using rollers, until it makes a wonderful sound like sausages sizzling in a frying pan.  (At least, that is the noise my art teachers from school used to tell me to listen for.)

Once I’ve heard the sound of sizzling sausages, I roll the ink onto the lino.  Next I carefully place the lino face down onto the paper, and with a clean roller, press and roll on the back.  When you peel the paper away from the lino, your image will appear (as a mirror image).

Wash the glass, rollers, and lino.  If you have more colours to add, then the process is repeated.  Cut away anything you want to keep the colour of the previous ink you used.  As you keep working in this way, your lino will be destroyed and unusable by the end stage, so it is a good idea to make more than one print (in case of mistakes and to make the most of your one piece of lino).

Above are all the stages of this design, including the added pastel for the background, watercolour to show shadows on the ice, and white acrylic paint to suggest ice spraying up.

The finished articles:

These are available to buy on Etsy, or at the Ice Hockey Summer Smash charity event, (Ice Sheffield, 21st August, Face Off at 6pm)!  I am rather excited about this event, and I hope to make many more of these prints for them or any other ice hockey teams around the UK!

If you want to see the video of how to make lino prints, go to:


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