carved linocut stamp

How to make a block print stamp: block printing basics

How to carve your block print stamp

in process of carving a block print stamp

Grab your carving tools and start carving away the outside parts of your block. Fit your tool with one of the curved blades and slowly carve out little pieces of the block to define your main shape.

This step is a little messy. If you work on a piece of paper, you can easily clean up all the little block crumblies later.

Carve down several layers deepon the outside of your design. This’ll make for nice clean edges on your final block print.

Don’t cut yourself now!

Make sure that you cut AWAY from yourself. Rubberized blocks used for block printing are generally soft and easy to cut, but the carving tools are still sharp, so be safe!

Changing out your blade

changing the blade on a linocut tool

The carving tools come with a variety of different shape blades. Unscrew the top to release the current blade. There’s a little slot in the top where you can slip in a new blade and screw it back into place.

Experiment to see which blade you like the best. I tend to like the bigger rounded blades or V-shaped blade for carving the outside and the finer V-shaped blade for the interior details.

Finishing up carving your block stamp

carved linocut stamp

Keep on carving out the little interior details on the inside of your design.

Before you’re ready to print, make another pass with one of your finer blades on the outside of your design. Make sure that the edges around your design are well-defined.

Make a test print

Making a test print is one of the most important steps when your making your own block stamp for block printing, so don’t skip it.

This is going to help you see if your design is looking good before you start printing on fabric.

hands inking a block print stamp with marker

To make a test print, grab your washable marker and ink up the surface of your block. Only add marker to the parts you want to print, not the parts you carved away.

Evaluate your test print

Press the block onto a piece of paper. Now really focus on your print. Are there any little bits that printed that you don’t want there? Any little specks or lines that look out of place?

test print of a block print stamp

If you do see any little specks you want to get rid of, simply go back with your carving tools and carve them away. You can see on my block there’s a couple tiny little extra bit where the arrows point. The second print was after I carved away some of those extra bits.

And that’s it!

Now that you’ve carved up your block stamp, you’re ready to start using it! You can use it right away to make DIY cards or scrapbooking papers. In another post, I’ll show you how you can use your block to make your own block printed fabric.

Here’s some of the things you can do with your handprinted fabric. And check out this Patternreview Lillian Dress I made with my favorite lace motif block of all time!

What will you make with your block print stamp?

And to keep going on this block printing adventure, here’s how to block print fabric.

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