Learn how to Block Print

By Brittni • Updated on 02/12/2024

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 youd 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 Im not ruining my print! When I cut through paper, Im used to being able to elongate a vein or thicken the artery if the proportions dont look right. Here however there is no turning back. You can start out bigger and then slim image parts down, but you cant 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About Ania: She has been re-purposing outdated cartography and vintage lexicography into paper-cut art for the one you heart for years now.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 diys. 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 | Click here to reply

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!


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.


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.


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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.

Lauren Elise

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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!


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


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


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.)


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?

teacup adventure

This is really beautiful! Thanks for sharing this technique, I will try this week-end! It makes me thing of serigraphy, but easier 😉


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!


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!


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.


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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.

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