carved linocut stamp

How to make a block print stamp: block printing basics

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! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising revenues by advertising and linking toSome of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Pinterest image: "How to make a Block print stamp" showing carved block and carving tools

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:

  • Keep it simple: basic geometric shapes and chunky lines make awesome block prints
  • Think botanical: flowers and leaves are good choices too. You can trace the basic outlines from a picture and then add some interior lines to add some texture to your design
  • Inside lines: the raised parts of the stamp you carve are the ones that will print. Make sure to add some lines and shapes inside your design for more interest

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.

design for block print stamp

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

transfer paper, design, block, and stylus for transferring design to 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.

transferring a design to a block print stamp

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.

tracing a block print design onto block with sharpie

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.

Watch the video tutorial of how to make a block print stamp

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