Essentials for your own linocut printing kit
Relief printing, particularly with lino, has the advantage that it is not essential to use the higher pressures that a mechanical press can apply hence you can make lino prints successfully with the minimum of materials and equipment. Here are our recommendations for the essentials for putting together a linocut printing kit.
We’ve priced our linocut printing kit up (December 2017) but if the exact price is important to you do check as prices may have changed. We’ve indicated potential suppliers names and websites . If you are ordering multiple items check which supplier has most of the items you want to avoid unnecessary delivery charges
Battleship grey lino
Our favourite lino is the 3.2mm hessian backed battleship grey lino. It is available from art suppliers precut into handy sizes
A single 15cm x 10cm sheet costs £1.50 from Lawrence Art Supplies http://www.lawrence.co.uk.
Buying in bulk will reduce costs but be aware that lino will get harder and less easy to cut as it gets older. Lino can be softened by gently heating it with a hair drier before commencing to work on it.
Pfeil lino cut tools
There are a number of low cost suppliers of linocut tools but we would recommend going for some quality tools. The swiss made Pfeil tools definitely get the highest number of recommendations that we’ve come across. They are beautifully made and excellent to work with. They come in a very wide range of shapes and sizes, far too many to make it economical to ever think of buying the full set. Personally we find that a small V tool and a medium U tool are the two most useful ones . Your personal style will dictate which sizes are best for you. Our choice for staring out would be a 12/1 (v tool) and an 11/3 (U tool)
Pfeil 12/1 £17.30 from Jacksons
Pfeil 11/3 f£17.30 from Jacksons
Remember Pfeil tools are very sharp so take care and never cut towards you or your hand! Before you get excited and buy a wider range of pfeil tools remember to buy a sharpening stone so you can keep them all in peak condition.
Caligo Safewash relief ink
Caligo safe wash ink gives excellent results and has the advantage that it is water washable. It is available in a wide range of colours but if you are sticking to just the essentials then get one. Nothing quite beats the simplicity of a black and white linocut print.
75ml Caligo safewash Relief ink black £5.75 ex VAT from Intaglio printmakers.
Fabriano unica paper
There are lots of great papers out there to try printing on . Currently we are enjoying using Fabriano Unica paper. It was specifically devised by the Italian Paper making company for a printing co-operative. It is a relatively low cost paper ( particularly in comparison with other Fabriano papers ) but we are enjoying the prints we are getting with it.
Fabrica Unica 50cm x70 cm 250g per sheet £0.72 ex VAT from Intaglio Printmaker www.intaglioprintmaker.com
A press is great for linocut printing but it isn’t essential . An old spoon is all you need. Place an additional protective sheet of paper over the back of your print and use the spoon to apply pressure evenly to the back of the print.
pair of stainless steel serving spoons £2.00 from Wilko http://www.wilko.com
A glass kitchen cutting board
We can’t think of a chopping board that we would less like to use for its intended purpose than a glass one, however ,they do make a very good surface to roll out ink on and cleaning up afterwards is simplicity itself. We bought ours from the homewares section in the local supermarket. If yours like ours has a stipple effect on one side just turn it over and use the smooth side.
Glass choppingboard/ worktop protector £4.99 from The range https://www.therange.co.uk
We use Speedball rollers. They are quite soft so they feel smooth and responsive to use . If your designs have very fine detail you may want to add a harder roller to your armoury but the speedball is a good place to start .
Speedball 100mm roller £10.50 ex VAT from Intaglio printmakers.
For cleaning up your roller , your lino cut and the glass chopping board just get yourself some of the cheapest vegetable oil on the supermarket shelves. dribble sparingly onto the inky surfaces to loosen and dilute the oil based ink so that you can efficiently wipe it clean with a combination of newspaper and paper kitchen roll
1 litre KTC pure sunflower oil £1 from Morrisons supermarket
A pad of tracing paper is great for transferring an initial sketch design onto the lino. The act of turning over the tracing paper before rubbing over it with a pencil ensures that the image on the lino is reversed allowing your print to be the same way round as your original drawing. Particularly useful if you incorporate any text into your design!
30 sheets A4 tracing paper £2.00 from Wilko supermarket
We find we always have a roll of masking tape handy for everything from holding down artwork and tracing paper to setting up registration marks so that you can align your paper neatly over your lino when you are printing
3/4 inch masking tape £0.85p from Jacksons http://jacksonmsart.com
Linocut Printing Kit Grand Total
The grand total is £63.91! It may not be the cheapest Linocut printing kit you could get but you may have some of the items already and you wont have compromised on quality where it counts.
Paper-works* holds regular introductory day courses for linocut printing .