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HOW TO MAKE A monstera leaf LINO STAMP

A lady called Hayley, from Buff and Blue Prints, holding a lino black and gold lino print

Hey there! This is Hayley from Buff and Blue.

I’ve been asked by the folks over at Essdee to do a little beginners tutorial to help you get started with the first steps into printing.

Lino printing is a fun and relaxing craft and gives great results even if you don’t consider yourself an artist. Here I will tell you how to get started on making a simple monstera leaf lino stamp.

 

– Hayley

www.buffandblueprints.com

ink tray with green ink, roller, and piece of lino cut into a monserta leaf

What you’ll need:

Lino

Lino Cutter

Pencil

Tracing Paper

Drawing Paper

Roller (Brayer)

Ink Tray

Block Printing Ink

Baren

We have used the Essdee Lino Cutting and Printing Kit for this tutorial which includes all the equipment needed.

Any paper can be used, for this we have just used standard A4 cartridge paper and a soft 2B pencil which makes your tracing easier to transfer onto the Lino.

The lino we have chosen to use today is Essdee Softcut which we have cut down to 7.5 x 10 cm.

Optional extras are a cutting board to protect your work surface and the safety hand guard included in the kit to protect fingers while carving. You can also use a pallet knife to apply ink to the tray. A Sharpie or Permanent Marker can be used to draw over your design to see better while carving.

Essdee lino cutting and printing kit
Essdee red handles roller, brayer, piece of SoftCut and green block printing ink

STEP 1 – DESIGN & TRANSFER

To draw your image to the correct size for a stamp. I like to draw round the outline of the piece of lino onto paper to give your image size. Inside the outline draw out your stamp image. For mine I have made a simple Monstera leaf shape.

Top tip – Try to fill as much of your lino as possible to avoid wastage.

Using your tracing paper, trace over the lines of your design then flip the tracing paper pencil side down onto the lino. Making sure not to move the tracing paper, rub over to transfer the pencils lines down onto the lino. I like to then draw over the pencil lines with a Sharpie so that I don’t rub off my drawing at the carving stage.

 

image of monstera leaf drawn on a piece of SoftCut
picture of monstera leaf drawn on a piece of SoftCut

STEP 2 – READY TO CARVE

Now that you have transferred your image you are ready to start carving.

The first thing to remember is to always hold your lino securely with your fingers behind the cutter. Lino carving should be done slow and easy so don’t rush this part, even if you’re impatient like me and just want to see the end result.

I like to start with the middle sized V-cutter as I find this one easier to work with and it gives a nice clean edge. Start by going round the outlines of your basic shape. Then start to take away the excess around the shape, remembering wherever you leave the surface raised is where the ink will adhere.

After clearing away the excess you can start working on the detail of the design. Try to work with the cutter facing outwards from your design so that if you do make a little slip you are not accidentally cutting through the entire shape – when its gone its gone! Change out your cutters to suit the piece of the design you are trying to cut out.

When you are finished carving you can cut away any excess lino around your stamp using a craft knife or scissors.

Top tip – Turn your lino when cutting round curves as it gives a smoother line than turning your wrist at an unnatural angle.

 

monstera leaf carved onto SoftCut, ink tray with green block printing ink

STEP 3 – ROLLING YOUR INK

Once you have finished carving you are ready to roll out your ink. For this stamp we are using a waterbased block printing ink which is perfect for beginners and is easy to clean up afterwards using just soap and water.

First you should put a few thin smears of ink on the tray and start to roll it out with the Brayer (roller). With block printing ink you must only have a thin layer. If too much is used it will sink into the detail of your design and you will end up printing a messy blob.

Keep rolling your ink until you have a thin even layer across your tray. It should have small even peaks the texture of orange peel if it has been rolled enough. When the ink is ready carefully roll a layer across your stamp then re-ink and roll across again. I usually build up 3-4 thin layers to make sure the stamp is completely covered.

roller being used to apply green block printing ink to carved monstera leaf

STEP 4 – READY TO PRINT

Once you’re inked and ready, get your paper ready to print.

Hold your stamp by the edges face down and place slowly onto the paper. Be careful not to move or smudge it as you place it down. I find it helps if you use a finger from the opposite hand to help anchor it down as you place it. Press down firmly down with your hand then get your Baren from the kit and press down firmly over the whole surface area, being careful not to move your stamp.

Once you have applied pressure to the whole design gently lift your stamp while holding your paper down to avoid smudging. You should be left with a beautiful print of your design.

baren being used to transfer printed monstera leaf onto paper
green printed monstera leaf

TOP TIPS

  • Remember to re-ink between prints or you will be left with a pale ghost print.
  • If you want to use a different colour you can simply wash off the ink with soap and water and make sure it is completely dry before reusing.
  • If you are overlapping the stamp prints make sure the first colour has dried first.
  • Lino stamps can be used with a variety of mediums including Fabric Blockprint ink for textile designs or ink pigment pads for stamping cards or your own wrapping paper.
  • Remember that letters will print in reverse so it is easiest to write them out and flip the tracing onto the lino as described above, do not write them straight onto the material.

I really hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial and have inspired you to get started with your own lino Stamps. If you have further questions or want to share your lino creations we’d love to hear from you.

 

Hayley, Buff and Blue x

www.buffandblueprints.com

Image credits: Buff and Blue Prints

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