Monday, 27 February 2012

And Another Lino Project!

Another Lino project - though probably the last for a little while, as there are so many bookbinding projects clamouring for my attention!
This is something I tried at home, a few days after I got home from Mijas (see the various posts all about that here: !)

I wanted to see if I could make nice prints, using the equipment I already have to hand.

I started with a photo from a magazine story...  I loved the dancer's feet and the reflections in the studio floor, as if she was dancing on water.   I made a tracing-sketch of this.
I transferred the tracing to a piece of my soft lino and cut it out with my lino cutters.  This photo shows the plate inked up, after making my first test print.
The card surround is to help me line up my paper when printing, so I can get the print straight and in the middle of the sheet.
I have five colours of water-based printing inks, in tubes - white, black, crimson-red, ultramarine and silver.  I decided to print with a pink colour, mixed from my red and white.  Here's my glass inking sheet (it was once a kitchen chopping board - about a zillion years ago, before I realised how useful it could be in my craft room!) 
I found that nice little roller at the local art shop, in their "reduced" basket.  It was originally quite expensive, so I was really pleased to pick it up very cheaply.  The other roller I have came with my "Letterpress" set, for my die-cutter.  It's really not very good - a bit rubbish in fact.  This roller is okay - I like it, "it'll do" as they say!
Of course, when choosing the printing colour, I didn't really think about how tricky it is to photograph pinks... ah well!
The first test - printed into my sketchbook.  I printed this like a stamp - just laying the plate on top and pressing hard.  I wanted to see what it came out like.
My first "proper" print.  The paper was laid on top, using my registration guide.  I burnished the back of the paper with my favourite bone folder.  It came out okay in places, but more work needed.
This is the second attempt at burnishing on the back of the paper.  It came out better, but not brilliant.
I had a sheet of Murano art paper, in a sort of rosy-beige marled finish.  So, I thought it would be good to try printing on this.  I really like the effect of the beige paper showing through where I cut the lino.  Because the ink is quite pale, it gives a great contrast. 
The printing is still a bit soggy though...  
I had an idea.  I already have a "letterpress" kit for my die-cutting machine, which prints quite nicely.  I wondered if I could come up with a combination of base-plates, which would allow me to put the linocut plate and paper through the machine, as if it was a tiny printing press. 
The die-cutter doesn't have any facility to alter the distance between the rollers; the only way to increase or decrease pressure, is to use different thicknesses of base-plates, with little card shims in between, if a tiny adjustment is needed.  And, if the lino plate was too thick, it could break my machine!
After a bit of messing around and experimenting, I did manage to make some prints.
The first attempt.  Not sure about this. I think the ink had dried a bit by this point, which made it less smooth. 
You can see the "dent" round the bottom edge of the print though, from where it went through the "press". 

The second effort, which isn't bad actually.  It has printed a bit more evenly.  It's not so easy to see these prints, because I chose pink as my print colour!
A second try with the rose-beige paper.  This one did come out quite nicely.  I think I could do something more with this "printing press" idea.  At least I could make small prints in this way, until I can get a "proper" press!

I think that, on the whole, this was quite a successful experiment.  One or two of the prints I made are really not bad.  I may have another try soon.  I may also get some sort of medium to mix with the inks, to see if I can stop them drying out so fast and making the prints patchy.  Or else, I will try dampened paper. I'll maybe buy some other ink colours too, if I can get small tubes - no point buying large amounts at this stage.  Not until I have some more skills built up!  

It's all experimenting and learning - it'll do me good!  


  1. Great experimentation. DPink defo looks better printed on on 'kraft' than white.

  2. What a fantastic job you did trying out the various options and creating your own printing press. Love the carving and it looks great on the beige paper.

  3. Yes, I agree, the ones on the kraft cardstock really look fabulous - I like this idea of the dancer on water, the reflection is lovely.

  4. You are clever! Time spent experimenting is never time wasted. Although I have to say - they don't look like you were only playing around!

  5. Looks like you had a lot of fun and made some great strides of progress!

  6. I like the one on the caramel colored paper. Very pretty! You'll have to let us know if your experiment with your letterpress works. :) Go Lizzie!

  7. what a fabulous print, you are such a star! and a great idea with the different printing methods, keep being an inspiration! love from Mijas! :0)

  8. I am in awe of this (but then I find myself in awe of so many of your projects which are really inspiring)

    The detail is incredible and I love the different variants.

  9. They look great! I really like the pink on the beige paper, makes the image really pop!

  10. These are totally wonderful! I love what you've been doing.

    I also wanted to thank you for taking my survey. :) Sorry it took me so long to give you a proper "thank you" it has been a bit crazy lately.


  11. Lovely prints, Lizzie and so nice to see your process and thoughts! I've used my Wizard to make little prints with quite successfully, though mine were black or blue on white. And of course a ballet theme is close to my dancing heart! Wishing you lots of success in your continued experimenting!

  12. I've just been back-reading and I see you did a course with Mariann. Lucky you! I'm going to meet her when I'm in Spain, but time does not allow me to work with her.

    I am enjoying your lino experiments.And the reductions are lovely.

  13. lovely print and neat idea with the cuttlebug!

  14. Hello Lizzie, A friend mentioned your site so here I am enjoying your story.
    The ten needle coptic stitch is very brave , especially as I struggled with two needled stitching!
    Love the Bird and Nest piece back in March 2nd.Lovely combination of green and mouse-brown ! very soft.

    Ballerina's shoes again soft and also nicer on the brown toned paper.

    My very favourite story is the Spanish Lemons, reduction piece in lino and well written with the process. Lucky winner.
    Thank you for sharing.

  15. Just wondering , Lizzie, if there was an embossed edge around your print when you used lino with the cuttlebug? I cannot afford a printing press but I adore the embossed edges that occur when a press is used as in etching.

    1. Hi Helen, thank you for reading my blog post and being so interested!
      Yes, I did indeed get that lovely embossed edge that you find on prints that are hand-printed through a press. It does look very nice and "authentic"!
      Recently, I bought a new die-cutting/embossing/printing machine. It is a larger die-cutter, from a craft shop, but it has Adjustable Roller Height too! It's the new X-Cut machine. I haven't really had time to experiment with printing yet, but I have Hopes for this machine. The platten is larger than the Cuttlebug (9" instead of 6"), so that also gives more scope for printing. I want to have another experimenting session as soon as I can.
      Anyway, I hope this answered your question. Do come back and see other posts, if you are interested - there are a few print-making related posts, plus lots of other stuff.


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