• Louisa Winning

Getting started with Lino Printing

Lino Printing is ideal to try out at home as the equipment you need for it is relatively compact compared with other printmaking techniques. Here's the products I use for my own printmaking projects and at my Lino Printing workshops.

The Essentials

The Essdee Lino Printing Set, £24.50 at Cass Art (or £23.99 at Amazon) includes a wide selection of tools and materials for Lino printing, this kit actually got me started in lino printing!

The kit contains: 5 lino cutters, 1 safety lino cutter, 1 lino cutter handle, 1 aluminium ferrule, 2 mounted 7 x 5” hard lino blocks, 2 mounted 6 x 4” soft cut blocks, 1 practice piece, 1 4” ink roller, 1 ink tray, 1 safety hand guard, 1 baren cap, 1 baren base, 1 100 ml tube of water based ink, 2 45mm soft cut printing stamps and an instructional booklet.

Lino Blocks

The Lino Printing set includes 2 hard and 2 soft cut lino blocks. If you'd like more lino blocks to work with, then always go for soft cut. Essdee sells softcut blocks in packs of 2, in two different sizes (150mm x 100mm and 300mm x 200mm) from £2.95 at Cass Art. I would always opt for soft cut lino over hard cut as it's much easier to work with.

Block Printing Ink:

The Lino Printing set includes 1 tube of 100ml black ink, if you'd like to experiment with more colours then Cass Art sells yellow, red, blue, green, white and black Essdee block printing ink in 100ml tubes for £4.95 per tube. Or Amazon sells a pack of 5 Essdee block printing inks in primary colours for £17.76.

Tracing Paper

You'll need tracing paper for transferring your design from paper onto your lino block. Cass Art sells their own brand 90gsm A4 tracing paper pad of 50 sheets for £9.95 or Amazon sells a Silvine 90gsm A4 Pad of 50 sheets for £7.08.

Paper to print onto

I like using Seawhite cupcycling cartridge pad (A4, 140gsm, 50 sheets), it's great quality and texture for printing with and it recycles takeaway cups! You can get it from Cass Art for £5.50. Any smooth cartridge paper will work, however, and I'd recommend going for untextured paper that's between 120gsm and 200gsm in thickness.

I also like using Clairefontaine Kraft Paper Pad (120gsm, A4, Brown, 50 Sheets) from Amazon for £5.70, and Frisk Black Paper Pad (135gsm, A4, 50 Sheets) from Amazon for £6.30.

Craft Knives and Cutting Mats

You'll probably already have a craft knife/stanley knife hiding in a drawer somewhere - knives are really useful if you want to crop your lino plate to different size, or to remove the background of a shape you've carved out. I use Jakar knifes, they're cheap and have an auto-lock for safety. You can get them in small or large sizes from Cass Art from £0.95.

You may also want to protect your surface with a cutting mat when using the knives, and also when carving your lino (to avoid taking chunks out of your desk/table!). I use West Gridded Double-Sided Self-Healing Cutting Mat, they come in different sizes from A4 to A1 at Cass Art from £3.95.

If you're cropping your lino sheets to your desired size, you might also want to invest in a good aluminium ruler. I'd recommend Jakar Aluminium Cutting Rulers which have a rubber back to help prevent slipping. Cass Art sells them for £10.95.

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