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Linoleum printmaking techniques- 1st Tips

Linoleum printmaking techniques- 1st Tips

Linoleum printmaking techniques- 1st Tips

Floor covering material?

Although linoleum is a floor covering that dates to the 1860s, the linoleum block printmaking was used first by the artists of Die Brücke in Germany between 1905 and 1913

Well, that’s right! Linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum is used as a relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum with the right tools (we will write about them later). The uncarved areas represent a mirror image of the parts to show printed as the linoleum is inked and then impressed onto paper or fabric. You can print the image by hand or with a printing press.

Since this material has no directional grain (unlike wood) and does not tend to split, it is easier to obtain certain artistic effects, but the resultant prints lack the angular grainy character of woodcuts and engravings.

Linoleum is easier to cut than wood, especially when heated, but the plate degrades faster due to the pressure of the printing process, limiting the number of impressions, so it can be difficult to create larger works.

Color linocuts can be made by using a different block for each color, as in a woodcut, but, as Pablo Picasso demonstrated, you can also use a single piece of linoleum, the ‘reductive’ print method.

Linoleum prints cross the ocean!

In 1911 “linoleum art” was first displayed in New York City by the Czech émigré Vojtěch Preissig.

Pedro Joseph de Lemos, a respected American printmaker, simplified the methods for art schools and introduced new techniques for color linocuts, including the printing of the key block first, in his publications on linocuts (1926-29)

Due to ease of use, linocut is widely used in schools to introduce children to the art of printmaking and non-professional artists often cut linoleum rather than wood for printing because it is easy to get into and execute at home without a printmaking press or other large equipment.

Nowadays, linocut is a popular technique among street artists, who make impressions that later glue through the city streets.

Now let’s leave some tips for anyone who wants to try.

  • First of all… Cut the linoleum, not yourself.

Who knows the technique also knows that this really happens. Be sure to always keep your hands behind the movement of the cutting tool and be very careful.

  • Keep your tools sharp.

It is important before you start craving, to take some time and check the tools. Sharp tools work better and are easier to control.

  • Reverse your image.

A cut blocks prints a mirror image of the design so you need to flip the drawing or photograph you want to work from, or, if you are drawing directly into the material, think about it first, especially if you want to enter some text in your image.

  • What you cut is white.

If your linoleum has a light color, it is a good idea to paint it with china paint or dark washable paint so that it is easier to see how the result will be.

  • Hot linoleum cuts easier.

You can use hot air hair drier to heat the surface. Some people warm the material on radiators or with pans of boiling water. With the hair drier you can use it to heat the linoleum over and over again, warming the surface once it gets cool enough to offer resistance to the cutting tools.

  • The linoleum hardens with age (like most of us)

Buy your linoleum in small amounts and use it quickly. If you have older linoleum, it is a lot harder to cut.

These are just the first tips (nothing too detailed) for anyone who is initiating this practice. Soon we will do a more advanced post on the topic.

If you want to try and have no material, here you’ve got a kit with everything you need to get started:

For detailed information, we recommend this books:

To continue your research on Linocut, follow these link:

Hope you enjoyed. If so, please leave a comment.
It’s a great help for the project and an easy way to give us a helping hand. 😉

If you don’t want to miss our next articles…


  • Ann February 13, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks for the tutorials – always appreciate the opportunity to expand my repertoire of skills. I paint on silk with dye & am exploring tradition printmaking techniques as surface design.

    • TOP Team February 14, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Thanks for your visit.
      Please email with your website or some pictures of your work.
      Soon we will start promoting artists who are developing work in this area. Who knows, we can show your work …;)

  • Sahar February 13, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you for this perfectly detailed instructional. It’s exactly the right amount of information and details for a beginner.

    Also it is an easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and now I’m inspired to work some more on my linocuts 😀

    • TOP Team February 14, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Thanks for the comment.
      The idea of the first content about this technique is that!
      We want everyone to have the will to try or return to pick up the tools.
      With time we will deepen the themes so that everyone can improve their work. 😉

  • Georgi February 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks, great for begginers

    • TOP Team February 14, 2018 at 11:38 am

      Thank you for visiting us! 😉

  • Léa Soibelman February 17, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Olá Daniel Figueiredo! Muito interessante! Lembra-se de que participei de um álbum seu? Gostaria de ter seu e-mail.

  • Lenny March 18, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Just wanted to pint out an oversight in this article – professional artists use linoleum too. And do so by choice. The comment “…and non-professional artists often cut linoleum rather than wood for printing because it is easy to get into and execute at home without a printmaking press or other large equipment”. Is too general.

    • TOP Team March 18, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Hi Lenny.
      We know that the use of linoleum may be a choice, in fact, we have published quite a few articles about artists that dedicate themselves exclusively to this technique with incredible results. It was not our intention to diminish this technique, only to indicate that it is ideal for beginners and children to take the first steps in this area. Thanks for your comment, we will review the text and try to improve it. 😉


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