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Lino Block Printing on Fabric, Again! More Tips and Tricks

Lino Block Printing on Fabric, Again! More Tips and Tricks

Hello all you lovelies out there, I am back with more printing tricks and tips for doing your own lino block printing on fabric. Since my original post, I’ve been working with some different materials and design ideas. I was using a mounted lino block, which is heavier and thicker than the speedy cut slabs of linoleum. Using those blocks, I developed a technique where after laying the block ink faced down on my fabric, id flip the whole piece over in order to press both sides of the block. I still think this is the best way to produce large prints, as it assures complete saturation of the ink from the pressure placed directly on the block face. I find with the unmounted, speedy cut blocks flipping the fabric over for a double press isnt necessary, and in fact makes the block shift and ruins the print (One of these days I will do a “fail” post, because oh man, there have been plenty. But it’s how you learn, right?).

Okay, SO I’m going to start with how to ink a block and setting up your ink plate. I’ve got some newer pictures that I think explain the process better.

linoonfabric2b.jpg

Ink That Up

So you can see all my tools and supplies here-I’ve got my baren for printing, my ink plate, speedball fabric ink tubes, my roller, and my cut unmounted lino block. I like to keep a bottle on water handy in case things dry up

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You want to squeeze out a line of ink going across the top of your ink plate. I’d put less than you think you need, since it’s easier to add more if needed than to take some away. Plus an under printed design can always be touched up later, where an over inked image is not fixable.

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Roll the ink down the plate, pulling it towards you. It should be like peanut butter, slightly tacky. Make sure that the roller is completely covered with ink, not just one side of it.

linoonfabric9.jpg

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Roll. It. On. This is so satisfying on a freshly carved block, all those elbow numbing details just popping out. So great. Roll from the top of the block down to ensure even ink coverage. Hold your block up to the light when finished applying the ink, the surface should be completely shiny. Double check for any holidays and reapply ink as needed.

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See? Properly inked and super shiny

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Not inked enough = not shiny. After properly inking, do a test print. Its like a cast iron pan, you have to build up the layers or “season” it. I always find I get clearer, more even prints if I do a test every time I change colors

linoonfabric4.jpg

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I have a tendency to eyeball where to place my prints. I have a general idea of how big my blocks are, and I consider how big the piece of fabric is. If you’re new to printing or aren’t super confident in eyeballing measurements, definitely break out that ruler and use chalk to mark where things are going.

linoonfabric5.jpg

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Take your baren and firmly press down on the back. Engage that core! The biggest difference between these blocks and the mounted linoblocks are the backing-since you are pressing on raw linoleum, it will stick a little to the baren. So do not shift it around on the back or you will shift your print. And that sucks. Just push down REALLY firmly on ALL parts of the back of block

linoonfabric6.jpg

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Using your eagle talon claw hand, lift your block by edges up and off the fabric, like a coveted stuffed animal prize out of the claw machine. Only your glorious prize is a crispy, fully inked print.

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Look at that! *chef’s kiss* Hang your piece up to dry for at least two days. Sunlight and heat will speed up the process. There will be a lingering ink smell, that will dissipate over time or with washings.

Symbols vs. Signs: Puritan Burial Icons and Art

Symbols vs. Signs: Puritan Burial Icons and Art