We don’t send much snail mail anymore but Christmas is still an exception for me and I like receiving personalized Christmas cards, it is even better is they are handmade !
I work a lot with lino printing and wanted to explore block patterning made with lino for this year’s cards.
To make the cards you will need:
- Soft cut lino, it works better as it is easy to cut and thick, so easier to hold when printing. You don’t need much as we are going to work with small size squares and triangles.
- A bit metal ruler, pencil, eraser
- Cutting mat and cutter
- To write on the lino, I used fluid acrylic in black and a dipping pen. A ball point pen works very well too
- Lino cutting tools
- Ink, I used Speedball block printing ink (water soluble) in gold and black
- Paper, you can use card stock or Bristol paper
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Speedball Linoleum Cutters are made of the finest quality steel with long lasting cutting edges. They are made of quality steel for long lasting cutting edges.
Cutting the lino into blocks
I set up a piece of leftover lino on to of a cutting mat and cut some shapes into it.
I started by cutting a few squares and triangles in my leftover linoleum using the width of my ruler as a measurement for the width of the squares I was cutting (The width of my ruler is about 1.2 inches)
I cut some full squares but also some triangles and rectangles to use as much as the leftover lino as I could.
Drawing your designs
We want to make repetitive designs and there are many options, more or less complex to do that but here are the simple shapes and symmetries I used in the following examples.
I drew the shapes and the lines represent the symmetry of the motif
To draw on the lino, you can use a pencil but I found that a dipping pen with ink was working a bit better. Markers dry out really well and won’t work in that case. A ball point pen is the best solution.
This is the design I made with a diagonal symmetry and I am going to use it in a 4 squares motif as in the drawing below.
I carved out the space in between the motifs with my carving tools. This type of lino cuts very easily so you have to be careful to not cut too much by accident.
This is my square block once carved
I also carved different motifs like those two semi circles that are going to be printed as shown in the drawing below:
You can make a few blocks trying on different motifs and symmetries.
Printing on the cards
Depending on how neat you want to be, you can trace a light grid before printing to use as a reference or you can try to align the motifs just by eyeballing it.
I used some Speedball watersoluble ink in Gold to highlight an area on some of the patterns, or to print the whole motif.
I am inking the block for the 4 squares motif.
keep on printing using the grid as a reference.
The finished postcard
I am using gold ink as a highlight in this other motif.
I am starting by printing one block in gold and will print all the other blocks in black I am rotating the block each time I print
The Finished postcard
Variation on the theme.
Once the ink had time to dry, you can erase the pencil lines of the grid.
Have fun experimenting with different patterns and colors !