Lino printing. With a knife

posted in: Fabric printing | 5

This post is dedicated to Mrs Mole, who asked for detail on how to do a lino block printed textile. I am delighted to help and warmly welcome any requests or suggestions for blog posts.

This technique is very simple and can be carried out at home. The materials are cheap and easily available. At its most basic you need;

  • Lino
  • cutting tools
  • textile printing ink
  • something to apply the ink such as a foam roller
  • plain cotton (light colours work well too)
  • a simple design
  • newspaper to protect your work surface
  • a hot iron (to fix the fabric paint)
  • a rubber brayer is helpful but you can just press the lino down with your hands

I started with a small piece of lino and a cutting board, a drawing that I wanted to print, and a pencil.

Lino and Lino cutting tool
Lino and Lino cutting tool

I went back to my original knife sketch and drew around it on to tracing paper. I then rubbed the pencil over the back of the drawing and used this to transfer it to the lino block.

Lino printiing
Trace the drawing

Zoe, our teacher, shows how to cut safely, away from your body.

Zoe demonstrates how to cut safely
Zoe demonstrates how to cut safely

I cut out the knife drawing, and then cut away, using scissors, the back ground so that it could be used on my previously printed grey fabric. Here you can see the lino after it has been inked up and applied to the fabric. This is a very small lino block. That is my rubber gloved finger and thumb. Making a bigger block takes more time but is much quicker when you are printing.

Lino cutting for textiles
Making the little knife lino cut

The ink was mixed – blue and black – to make navy. The ink is applied using a foam roller.

Lino printing for textiles
Navy blue printing ink

I find it works well to use a rubber brayer to press down the lino print, but it is not essential.

Rubber Brayer for lino printing
Rubber Brayer

After I had used navy blue I also used dark grey and red. I may apply another knife pattern to fill it out, but it maybe OK as it is. This is about one metre – the fabric is folded in half.

Home  made Lino printed cotton
Cloth with overprinted knife

I think it needs another knife. I will try to finish this piece of fabric this week, as I am keen to get on with our new project – opposites.

5 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    I love seeing the results of your printing. I have only tried lino printing once, in high school art class, and I gouged out a piece of my thumb with the carving tool! Oops. Looking forward to seeing your opposites project, too.

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