If you want to experiment with making your own textiles, DIY block printing (aka lino printing) is one of the easiest and most fun ways to go, but first you have to learn how to make a block print stamp. Block printing on fabric to create my own fabric is one of my favorite DIY ways to add some interest to plain fabric.
There’s a couple of basic block printing supplies that you’ll need, and then you’ll be ready make your own block printing stamp. Let’s dive in!
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Supplies you need to make a block print stamp
Draw your design for your block stamp
You don’t have to be a great artist to make a linocut design. In fact simple shapes and designs work really well, and the details in a really complicated design will get muddied up in the process of block printing.
Here’s some pointers for making a good design for carving a block:
First, measure out the size of the block you’re going to carve onto a piece of paper. Graph paper is a helpful tool here.
Draw your design inside the bounds of your rectangle. It’s not a bad idea to trace the design onto a lightweight tracing paper. The design is going to get destroyed pretty much in the next step, so if you want to preserve your design, definitely trace it first.
Also, flip the design so it prints the way you intend. For this design, it doesn’t matter much, though I did flip it because I wanted the stork scissors printed towards the left. If you’re working with text, you must flip it unless you like backwards letters, LOL!
Now it’s time to transfer the design.
Transfer your design to make a block print stamp
Next you need to transfer your design to your block of choice.
First grab your tracing paper and put it dark side down on top of your block. Layer the design on top of the tracing paper.
Trace over all your lines with a ballpoint pen or a tracing stylus.
Trace around all the big design lines. The transfer paper can muddy up finer details, so keep your drawing handy and you can add them in the next step.
Clean up your block
After the tracing process, your block is going to look pretty awful, but don’t panic. You’ll fix that now and the rest when you start carving.
Go over the lines in your design with a Sharpie so that you can clearly see everything. Add in all the finer details in your design now too.
At this point, you’re ready to carve your block stamp.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.