How to Carve a Two-Tone Block Print

Use this easy method for carving and printing your own block print designs.
Related To:
HCC2c_137_Borden_Blockprint

HCC2c_137_Borden_Blockprint

Materials and Tools:

image on paper
carbon or graphite paper
2 linoleum blocks
cutting tool
oil-based printing ink
brayer
smooth, heavy paper
wooden spoon or barren
watercolors
canola oil
pencil

Steps:

1. Find a subject, such as this spider, and draw a picture of it.

2. Create a reverse image by placing the drawing on a window with the image facing out. Trace the image on the backside of the paper. Because printing creates a reverse image, this step prevents your image from printing backwards. Note: This is very important if you have words in your picture.

3. Use carbon or graphite paper to transfer your reverse image to the first linoleum printing block. This is called the key block because it contains the most important image. In this example, it's the black outline of a spider.

4. Use the cutting tool to carve out the parts of the linoleum block that you don't want to print. Decide which parts of the image will be negative and positive. Negative (carved) is white or no ink, and positive (uncarved) is where the ink will print.

5. Print a proof of your image using water-based ink. Ink the block with a brayer and lay a piece of paper on the block. Rub the back of the paper with a wooden spoon or a barren.

6. Lift the paper off the key block. If the image is good, lay the paper image side down on block number two and press. This transfers the key image to the second block. Remove the paper.

7. Carve what you don't want to print. In this case, the second block is used to create a background, so carve out the entire area where the spider image is.

8. Put guide marks on the paper with a pencil so that you print the image straight and centered.

9. Using oil-based ink, first ink and print block number two, the background. Wait for it to dry.

10. Ink and print the key block, ensuring it lines up exactly with the image from block number two.

11. Clean up any ink mess with canola oil.

12. When the print is dry, watercolor the spider image.

13. Sign, title and date your work using pencil.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Make a Scratch-Off Card for Father's Day

Give Dad a break this year with a DIY scratch-off lotto-style card with prizes like breakfast in bed, a free pass from mowing the lawn and a car wash.

How to Make a Handy 2-in-1 Planter and Privacy Screen

Gain some privacy in style with this easy privacy screen great for small spaces.

How to Distress Furniture

What's old is chic again. Follow these step-by-instructions for achieving a distressed look on furniture.

How to Remove Wallpaper

How do you remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall – or yourself? Use these tips to help you decide which option will work best.

How to Kill Mold

Killing mold is a dirty job, but the right tools can help you wipe it out for good. Check out these tips for using the best cleaners to solve your fungus problem.

How to Remove Black Mold

Learn how to remove black mold safely and effectively.

How to Freeze Spinach

Freeze fresh spinach leaves—homegrown or store-bought—to create your own dark leafy green to flavor hot dishes and smoothies.

How to Install French Drains

Divert groundwater from the basement or foundation with the help of gravel and fabric.

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.