Friday, September 2, 2011

How Your Print is Made

Chances are you've come across this post via my Etsy shop.  This is a pictorial guide to what goes into making the card or print you were just perusing.  Shown is the process of making my "Bloody Hell" print, but the same steps apply whether I am making a print or greeting card.  The only difference is the size and the paper. Every single step is done by me, from start to finish.

Step 1: The design is made and outlined is soft pencil.
Step 2: The image is transferred and then outlined with marker so it does not rub away while carving.
Step 3: The outline is carved out to help prevent mistakes later.
Step 4: All of the linoleum is carved away around the design.
Step 5: The completed carving is brushed clean and checked for any bits that need fixed.
Step 6: The ink is rolled out with a brayer.
Step 7: The block is inked and ready to make one print.

Step 8: The paper is carefully aligned on the block and pressed over with a tool called a
baren, which helps distribute even pressure over the surface of the paper.

Step 9: The paper is pulled gently from the block.  This is where the term
"hand-pulled print" comes from.
Step 10: The print is complete! It is left to dry for several hours, is then signed and dated
and is ready to ship.

The only thing you don't see above is the beginning design stages.  Before the steps shown here, I came up with my design idea and drew it out by hand.  Most are inked out completely by hand then transferred directly to the block.  Images involving a lot of text, such as this one, are scanned or designed in Photoshop before being printed and transferred.

I hope this has helped you familiarize yourself with the process known as linocut or block printing!  If you have any further questions about my handmade cards and prints, don't hesitate to contact me via mt Etsy shop.


  1. Just started making prints like this so this was a really fun read for me.

  2. I just realized, I have always wondered what linocut prints were, and how they were made, but never actually looked it up. Thanks for the informative post!

  3. Cool! I always wondered about the term hand pulled print. It makes me envision a screen print - even though I knew they were linocut. Thanks for sharing the information giving us a peek into your process!!