We are using the theme of Matariki for our lino printing this term; we have already designed, cut and printed the first colour of our two-colour prints. Here is some other print-making inspiration.
We drew out our simple designs on paper first (tip: leave a finger-space between lines so they are easy to cut out with the blades - if your lines are too close together then you will cut away too much and lose the design).
To transfer the drawn design to the lino, we used reverse tracing (pencil on the back of the design, then pressed on the top to reverse trace onto the lino). You can do this on either side of the drawing - just remember that whatever goes onto the block will end up printed in a mirror image.
To make it easier to cut the lino we heat the lino blocks in the microwave for a few seconds each to soften them - just watch out for burning of the hessian, as it can happen if you heat for too long and you don't want to set off any smoke alarms. Also, do not flex the lino while it is soft or it might snap in half.
Remember, when cutting - KEEP YOUR RESTING HAND BEHIND THE BLADE - THE BLADE SHOULD BE POINTING AWAY FROM YOUR RESTING HAND! If you need to cut a section of design close to you, then TURN THE LINO around -always keep the blade moving away from you as it can suddenly slip and stab you if your hand is in the way.
First cut away all the areas that you wish to stay white (or the colour of the paper you will print on).
I like to set up a printing station on one large table - if the ink is a bit firm, let the tube rest in a jug of warm water (but be careful to not let any water drip onto the inking plate or it will make the ink runny). I use a small plate so that we don't waste ink by 'painting' a huge area when actually we just want to get ink onto the brayer (roller).
Once the roller is coated, carefully roll over your lino block, making sure to get good coverage (we go up and down, side to side).
Then we carefully turned over the block (as we were using A2 paper sheets) to place it onto the paper; next we used a dry roller to press firmly on the back of the lino block to get the ink onto the paper. Again, use an up and down, then side to side motion. Carefully peel off the block and your print will be revealed.
You should be able to get at least two prints from one coating of ink. The kids all did six prints in total with orange; the next day they used their (dried) block again to do a set of red or yellow prints.
The block can then be washed in the sink (be sure to keep it flat so it doesn't bend or break) and left to dry. It will curl a little but should be okay.
Once dry, you can then cut away all the areas that you wish to stay in the colour that has already been done (in our case, orange, red or yellow).
Print the block again in your second colour (we used black for the night sky) - you will need to be very careful when you are placing your lino block on top of the prints that you have already done because you want to be sure you are matching up the pattern.
I'll post the results here once the kids have done them!!
A previous lino print post - based on gyotaku (Japanese fish printing)