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Re:[teacherartexchange] questions about linocuts


From: Jerry Vilenski (jvilenski_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Apr 03 2006 - 15:51:29 PDT

I use the same type of linoleum blocks from Sax that
you mention in your questions. Here is what I have
found: Older linoleum needs to be warmed before
carving, because I believe there is linseed oil in the
linoleum compound that drys out over time. I use a
heat gun set on low heat and it seems to work well,
even on linoleum that is several years old.
As far as printing goes, you really need to
"condition" your printing ink before attempting to
print with it. It is a bit hard to explain, but
basically I roll a line of ink onto a sheet of glass
or plexiglass. You have to roll the ink until it
becomes "tacky", which you can discern by the look and
sound of the ink as you roll the brayer over it.
Experience will tell you what to look for, but the
texture of the ink looks even and the sound of the
brayer becomes louder as the ink dries slightly. You
have to roll the ink on the linoleum very evenly or
the print comes out uneven. I do not use printing
presses or barens--just have the kids use the pads of
their fingers to rub the ink onto the paper surface,
then pull the print. Speaking of paper, use a paper
that has a fine texture, not rough or coarse in any
way, or the ink will lift small amounts of the paper
fiber and give the print a speckled look. I use black
ink printed on cut-up fadeless art paper, which makes
great colorful prints. I also have kids make test
prints made on typing paper, which has a similar
Hope this helps, Jerry

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