02/24/11
17 comments Learn how to Block Print by   |   17 comments

A guest post by Ania of Paper Cut Works.

Block printing is the exact opposite of paper cutting, a new adventure for my “x-acto knife-wired” brain & hand. You begin by transferring a soft-pencil sketch onto the block, then using a chisel to carefully carve out the portions of the design you’d leave intact in a papercut.

To stay true to my papercutting roots however I began with creating a stencil of a heart and then transferring it onto the linoleum. A drawing of the design does not create the same lines as an x-acto knife and I wanted to make sure to keep this piece in my original family of anatomy-inspired hearts.

Since this was my first attempt working with this century+ old technique I had to stop in the middle of the process several times just to think through the steps and make sure I’m not ruining my print! When I cut through paper, I’m used to being able to elongate a vein or thicken the artery if the proportions don’t look right. Here however there is no turning back. You can start out bigger and then slim image parts down, but you can’t do the reverse.

Linoleum sheets are fairly soft and easy to navigate, an interesting change from paper! & I really enjoyed discovering a new cutting/carving tool and working through its limitations. Printing & pulling are skills of their own! I had to experiment with the paint quite a bit – not only the shade but also the amount to get the color and texture just right.

And here it is. My first limited edition hand pulled block print. Big thanks to my best friend Robin, a talented print maker, for teaching me this new skill!

A limited edition of 50 Heart Anatomy prints is available at PaperCutWorks.

About Ania: She has been re-purposing outdated cartography and vintage lexicography into paper-cut art for the one you heart for years now. You can also visit her blog, Paper-Cut Hearts.

For more ideas for quick and easy projects, click here to visit the craft tutorials and diy page  filled with more than 50 diy’s. If you like this diy project, please help Ania and I spread the word by using the twitter and facebook buttons below. Thank you so much.

17 comments to Learn how to Block Print Click here to reply

I bought some block print and didn’t carve anything yet…I still deciding what motifs I want and how to go about… Love the heart you create.

Annie commented on February 24th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ania b. alyson, ania b. alyson. ania b. alyson said: my first guest blog post! please stop by & comment! http://fb.me/S1VbFDhS [...]

Tweets that mention Learn how to Block Print | papernstitch -- Topsy.com commented on February 24th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Annie, I’d recommend just experimenting if you’ve never block printed before (if you have, then please ignore this). It’s a really fun art form, but it does take some getting use to. So, I always say experiment a little first, then figure out your plan of action.
-Brittni

papernstitch commented on February 24th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Annie, just try it! It’s so much fun. Linoleum is a very friendly medium. I’d love to see what you create on your blog!
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papercutworks commented on February 24th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I should try this again… The last time I’ve been doing this was sometime when I was ten or something. So it’s been a long long while. Thank you for inspiring!
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Mervi commented on February 24th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

This is really beautiful! Thanks for sharing this technique, I will try this week-end! It makes me thing of serigraphy, but easier ;-)
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Daisy commented on February 25th, 2011 at 4:45 am

I’m taking a printmaking class right now! We’re using a press though, of course. It looks like you’re just pushing down on it with a little mini-press?
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teacup adventure commented on February 25th, 2011 at 8:34 am

Ahhh, I recall doing linocuts in high school. Printmaking is a good lesson for art students (or anyone) because it’s high-impact at relatively budget costs. We used real linoleum flooring chunks that were donated from somewhere (gotta love the next-to-zero public school art budget.) I did printmaking with my elementary students, but we used embossed, cut and layered styrofoam meat-package trays (unused, also donated–there’s even LESS of a budget for elementary schools.) Surprisingly, we got some pretty cool results with a styrofoam plate. Printmaking truly is a fascinating medium. In college I got to work with collographs and monoprints as well as linocuts (using real artgrade linoleum this time around, lol.)

Mai commented on February 25th, 2011 at 11:38 am

This is absolutely gorgeous. Love that final photo staged with the importable and beautiful red typewriter as well!

Van commented on February 25th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Happy to see Ania’s post! I’ve been a big fan of her papercuts for a while now. Lovely block print.

Bonnie commented on February 26th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Daisy – thank you for the compliment!

teacup adventure – you’re right – i press on the sheet of paper from the top while the linocut stays on the table. i’d love to one day take a printmaking class & get access to a press!

Van – the typewriter was a gift from my husband for my last birthday. it’s fire-engine red. it’s the highlight of our dining room!
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papercutworks commented on February 27th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

[...] Ania from last week’s block printing tutorial? Well, I am back with Ania today, sharing her multi-use workspace for a long overdue studio tour. [...]

Studio Tour with Ania of PaperCutWorks | papernstitch commented on March 1st, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I want to try block printing SO bad! It’s my next fun thing to learn on my to-do list. I love Ania’s example print.
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Lauren Elise commented on March 1st, 2011 at 4:11 pm

[...] Learn how to blockprint tutorial op Papernstitch [...]

Link Love | Plutomeisje commented on June 12th, 2011 at 6:09 am

Maybe a silly question, but where do you procure said linoleum? It looks a tad thicker than the stuff you’d pick up at the hardware store in the pictures. Especially if you base it on the tissue paper they call linoleum in my apartment kitchen.

I also don’t recall seeing it in my local art supply/craft shop. Though that may just be a lack on their part.

Meg commented on October 25th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Meg – the two art stores where I purchase my supplies both have a sizeable section of block printing supplies. You can always try online! Good luck.
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ania commented on October 26th, 2011 at 9:45 am

Such an inspirational design! I’ve been having trouble finding a good tutorial for block printing. I’m still looking for a couple good how-to’s for block printing fabric. But this one’s very inspiring, thank you!

Julie commented on January 19th, 2014 at 10:42 pm

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