There are plenty of good instructions for linoleum printing online, so if you want to do it the proper way, you should read the tutorial at Sunberst Illustration or this one from Lizzy House. But I’ll show you quickly how I made prints with the kids. My six-year-old and my four-year-old were able to do everything in this process except the cutting. This is the first time I’ve done this since high school, so I’m certainly no expert! Do you like it when I tell you that I don’t really know how to do something, but then I proceed to tell you how to do it? Yeah, I have a problem with that.
There are some essential tools for this. All can be found at the art supply store or around your house for under $50.
- linoleum (I bought the cheap kind for experimenting: $1.58 for a 4″x6″ piece at the art supply store)
- carving tool
- water-soluble ink
- brayer (rolling device to spread the ink out)
- smooth surface for spreading the ink (piece of glass or metal is ideal)
- baren, or something to press onto the paper (see our method below)
- smooth paper
My older daughter drew a duck design directly onto the linoleum. You’ll be seeing a lot of duck crafts this week, as she is working on a report for school. My husband asked “Is this a research project or a craft project?”. Yes, everything is a craft project around here.
Then I carved the design. I cut along the lines, but you could also carve out the negative space. You can see that I slipped a bit on my first curve, so it might be a good idea to buy an extra piece of linoleum for practicing. Then we spread our ink on the metal board, spread it with the brayer until it was even and smooth, then rolled it onto the linoleum. We placed the linoleum on top of the paper (some instructions say to place the paper on top of the linoleum, but whatever works). Since we didn’t have a baren, we improvised by using a heavy book and our feet. The children took turns dancing and jumping on the prints, which was definitely their favorite part of the process. Then you just pull up the linoleum and there it is. We made some prints and some notecards for teacher gifts. These certainly weren’t perfect, but I think we’ll get better with more practice.
Try it with your kids and show us the results! Add your photos to the Make it Mondat Flickr pool here. Wow, I hadn’t checked that group in a while — lots of butterfly mobiles over there!