How to Make a Block Print Part 1: Carving Your Block

Carving a Speedball Rubber Block for Block Printing

Have you ever wanted to make your own block print? Now you can! Here are instructions for carving your own rubber printmaking block. Check back next week for How to Make a Linocut Print Part 2: Printing.

Materials:

Speedball Speedy-Carve block, size 4×6″
Hard Rubber Brayer Pencil & Paper Adobe Illustrator (optional)
Speedball Linoleum Cutter & Assorted Attachments

 


 

Step 1

First, measure a 4×6 rectangle on a sheet of paper.  You can do this quickly by tracing your 4×6″ block.

 

Tracing your Speedball rubber block

 

Step 2

Use a pencil to sketch out your design in the rectangle you drew. After I sketch my design out, I usually scan the drawing and fine-tune it in Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have Illustrator, don’t worry, this part is optional.

 

Editing print designs in Adobe Illustrator
Editing print designs in Adobe Illustrator
Step 3

If you do design your print on the computer, you’ll need to print it out. If you sketched it by hand, you’re ready to go!

Now you will transfer your pencil sketch to the rubber block. Carefully lay your rubber block over your sketch so the edges align. Use your hard rubber brayer (or your fingers) to press down on the rubber block so the graphite from the pencil transfers from the paper onto the block.

 

Transferring your design to your block

Step 4

Lift up the block and use your pencil to touch up any areas where the graphite did not transfer.

Now use your linoleum cutter to carve your design out of the block. A few tips: Use the tool in a pushing (not pulling motion) for best results. Also, turn the block, not your hand when making a curved line.

 

Carving the Moroccan Tile Print
Carving the Moroccan Tile Print
Step 5

Voila! Your block is carved, and you’re ready to print! Check back next week for Part 2!

 

A carved rubber block for printmaking
A carved rubber block for printmaking

Published by Alex Hughes

I am a graphic designer from Dallas who loves printmaking, travel, illustration, soccer, and psychology. I love personality tests too--I'm an INFP married to an ENFJ.

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