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Makerly – Valentine’s Linocut

I’ve been wanting to have another go at Linocut for a while so I was quite excited when the January Makerly box ( turned up, with a Valentine’s theme. I always intend to make things in advance for holidays like Valentine’s but I never seem to have the time, so it was nice to have this kit ready to go in plenty of time.

Included in the kit was:

  • Lino blocks x2
  • Lino cutting handle
  • Lino cutting blades x5
  • Ink pad
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pencils
  • Card blanks with envelopes x5
  • Finger protectors

I’ve only done Linocut once before so I was pleased that there was a spare Lino block to practice on. There were five different blades included in the kit and the instructions encouraged some experimentation, so I had a little play around with each of the blades. I found the Lino quite difficult to cut at first but the instructions recommended warming it up by putting it on top of a radiator or in a bowl of hot water to soften it. I put mine on top of my portable radiator for only a minute or so and the difference was incredible! It was so much easier to cut, but I did find that it cooled and hardened quite quickly so I had to keep warming it as I worked through the project.

There were three designs to choose from, or you could create your own if you were feeling adventurous! I chose the one that was probably the easiest, which was probably best for such a beginner, but I mainly chose it because it was my favourite design. I didn’t carve very deeply on my practice Lino block, so I think I could try a second design on the back of it in the future. The image was applied onto the block using tracing paper with the traced design placed face down and then retraced on the back so the pencil marks transferred.

The instructions were full of great tips about how to carve to get the clearest lines. I did make a couple of little slips, but they didn’t show up on the final print luckily! I think I could have spent more time carving away the background of my design some more as some of the ink caught on some of the taller bits and transferred to the paper, but I got a bit impatient and I actually quite like the effect. It gives it a more handmade, rustic quality. When the carving was finished I then applied the ink to the design.

I was a bit confused about the wooden spoon when I first opened my box, but I found out that it is used for rubbing the paper on top of the block to ensure there is a good ink transfer as this won’t press ink into the carved out areas like a hand would.

I’m really pleased with my final prints! I think my technique could do with some refining, but overall I feel like they came out rather well. Now I just have to find some lucky people to send them too! It must be the season for Lino cutting because I have a second Lino cut project from Craft Box Club lined up. I’m looking forward to trying a new design and seeing if there are any different techniques recommended in the other kit.

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