I think I am officially addicted to lino printing ! As surfaces to carve can become quite costly and as I am thinking of working on bigger scale prints., I have been looking for alternative materials to use for carving and printing.
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I did a bit of research and found artists that were successfully carving on marmoleum (a flooring linoleum), plywood, MDF and pan shower lining.
I did not try Marmoleum and plywood yet but tried MDF.
This artist Søren Bjælde makes wonderful prints from plywood with many plates and colors, you can watch videos on his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCObvZ8ukdlii4k-62Ju7Zxg
MDF is a very pleasant surface to carve but I wasn’t happy with the precision of lines I could get, even after brushing a few layers of shellac. I also tried coating the MDF with GAC 100 but found that it was becoming a bit too hard and slippery to carve.
Lines were not precise enough for what I want to do when printing with MDF
Pan Shower liner
I also tried pan shower liner mounted on board, and so far this is my favourite alternative to linoleum or vinyl plates. Pan shower liner is made of PVC, so a material quite similar to the vinyl plates you can buy in art supplies store.
You can find shower pan liner at home hardware stores.
Pan shower liner is easy to cut with scissors.
The liner is only 4 mm thick so not thick enough to use by itself, so you have to mount it on board. I mounted it the same way I am mounting watercolor paper on board.
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This is the pan shower liner once mounted on board. Once mounted on a hard surface like MDF, the pan shower liner is very easy to cut and makes very clean lines.
Pan shower liner is very easy to carve. My only disappointment, with pan shower liner is that the plastic smell is pretty strong, to the point of being too much if you leave the whole liner out in your studio. It is manageable if you work on a small surface.
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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.
While carving you will probably expose some of the MDF underneath, I recommend you apply a layer of GAC 100 before printing to seal the wood.
Here is a video of me hand printing a large 24 x 24 inches tree cookie from a carving that was done on pan shower liner mounted on MDF.
I used Arches watercolor paper and Caligo safe wash ink for this print.