Linocut Valentines

Bull City Craft Lino Cut Card

Tell your valentine they’re special with a hand printed card. Linocut is a form of relief printing. The negative space is carved away, leaving the image in relief. The raised image is easy to ink and print by hand.

SIZE: Lino block: 2.75 x 4.5 inches

MATERIALS:

Speedball Speedy-Cut block, 2.75 x 4.5 inches
Speedball lino cutter handle and blades, #1 and #5
Pencils, #2/HB and 4B or softer
Tracing or drawing paper
Blank greeting cards and envelopes
Speedball water based block printing ink (Shown in White and pink mixed from Red, White and Blue)
Rubber brayer
Inking plate, or glass
Baren

NOTES:

Speedy-cut blocks are easier to use and cut than traditional linoleum blocks. Use caution when carving image. Always keep both hands behind blade at all times.

INSTRUCTIONS:

BCC Lino Cut Image

Design

Draw your design on a piece of paper or tracing paper with a #2/HB pencil. Trace over the keep design elements with a 4B or softer pencil.

Lino Valentine 2

Transfer

Turn paper over on top of Speedy-Cut block and rub lightly with your finger or bone folder to transfer image.

Lino Valentine 3

Cut Outlines and Details

With #1 cutter, cut the outlines, then cut details. Work from foreground to background.

Lino Valentine 4

Clear Background

Using #5 cutter in big spaces and #1 cutter in small spaces, clear background. Work from center of area to be cleared toward the edges. Be careful not to over cut outlines.

Lino Valentine 5

Print

Use brayer to ink up linocut block. Ink should have the texture of fine grain leather on ink plate. Too little ink will make the image faint. Too much will fill in fine details and make the image blurry.

With inked block face up, carefully lay card on top.

Using the baren (or another tool such as: finger, second brayer, large spoon, bone folder) gently press the paper onto the wet ink.

Pay close attention to large solid areas which often do not print fully.

Shifting paper or squishing the block will distort the image.

Carefully lift printed card off of block, and set aside to dry. Re-ink and repeat for additional cards.

Helpful Tips

Ink should have the texture of fine grain leather on ink plate. Too little ink will make the image faint. Too much will fill in fine details and make the image blurry.

Pay close attention to large solid areas which often do not print fully. Shifting paper or squishing the block will distort the image.

Clean Up

Wipe ink plate and brayer with paper towel, then wash with water, and towel dry.

To remove ink from block, hold under running water or dab with wet paper towel, then blot dry. Rubbing block may cause small pieces to break off.

Printable pdf file: BCC Lino Cut Valentines

Making a Photo Backdrop

I was planning a Valentine Photo Shoot event at the store with Raleigh photographer Elizabeth Galecke, and I offered to make a photo backdrop. We agreed it was a great idea and I jumped on Pinterest to get some inspiration. I noticed right away that most of the backdrops were not painted, but instead embellished with balloons, banners, crepe paper, glitter, and other items that can just be hung on a wall or fence. Hmmm…well, I had promised painted, so I decided to just jump in.

OK, it’s not as easy as it seems.

DIY photo backdrop

We bought a large canvas drop cloth and spread it out in the garage on top of some old drop cloths. We had some leftover chalkboard paint from recently updating the chalkboard in our store. I also had some red and pink paint sample jars that I had gotten free with a magazine coupon. First I primed the whole thing with Low VOC Kilz– it used up the half can I had, and I didn’t even reach the edge of the canvas!

The next night I measured and marked the canvas. I decided to do a simple heart about the width of two people. I sketched the heart and painted it with a combination of the red and pink. I painted around it with the chalkboard paint. I figured if it looked boring, I could always add chalk drawings or text. I also made a felt and paper heart banner and some heart wands for props.

heart wands and banner

The third night I touched up some areas and cleaned up the edge of the heart. When it was finished, Elizabeth came over for a practice photo shoot, and the results are amazing!

Elizabeth Galecke Photography

Elizabeth Galecke Photography