From the spoon, through the baren to the different presses of relief printing, we will see in this article the different tools you can use for the realization of linocuts.
In linocut when you want to make a print, you have to apply pressure on the paper so that the ink can deposited. And for that you have different tools more or less practical, more or less effective and especially more or less expensive.
So let’s go through them to give you an idea of what tool you might need.
The different printing presses
Print your linocuts with the back of a spoon
Everything is in the title! Simple and without any cost, it is a question of opting for a smooth spoon that will allow you to bring more or less pressure in order to transfer the details on your sheet.
This technique derived from baren works well but is easier to achieve on small formats with low grammage. When the paper weight is high, it is difficult to know if there are areas where the printing is not as good.
This requires the sheet to be lifted several times to make sure that everything has been transferred as desired and that the colors are uniform. It is therefore also essential to be interested in choice of paper for your linocuts
Using a baren to print linocuts
The baren is a Japanese tool that allows the transfer of inks on the paper by means of pressure on the paper.
The principle is the same as with the spoon except that the more traditional tool allows a wider contact area.
It will also be more suitable for thin papers than for heavy weights, although this is still possible.
On the other hand, depending on the paper and the ink used, it will be necessary to use printing presses for an optimal result.
Manual presses for printing
Halfway between the baren and the printing press, these tools can have different shapes and made of different materials.
We will find metal baren like the slama press with the possibility of adding discs around the handle to add pressure, different wooden baren or glass baren sometimes at exorbitant prices.
If you don’t want to invest, you can use a glass ball like a paperweight or even a metal door wedge…
Any heavy, smooth object, or one with an anti-slip pad attached, will also work. So if you’re just starting out with lino and don’t want to break the bank, use your imagination for your first few tries.
Relief printing presses
Also known as a hand printing press, it will apply vertical pressure on two wooden blocks between which your engraved linoleum and paper are placed.
Like a paper press, you can adjust the pressure as needed. I made my own press with a simple principle that works very well.
If you like to make your own material like me, I encourage you to do the same.
Etching presses for linocut printing
Etching presses are the most expensive, but they are also the ones that can provide the highest pressure without difficulties.
They are available at all prices but are not essential at the beginning.
The larger your formats, the more desirable it will be to invest in an etching press.
If you have a large print run with many colors for example, it will also be interesting to opt for a press that will allow you to always keep the right pressure and avoid failed prints and therefore save time. If the principle of the etching press appeals to you but your budget does not allow it, you should know that die-cutting machines that are not made for printing will give excellent results for a very contained price. Many printmakers use the Xcut Xpress for their creations. This one is not available anymore, you can use the
artemio cutting machine which is very well suited for A4 formats or the versions big shot or big shot pro from sizzix which will allow you to make A3. The great advantage of the little artemio is that you can adjust the pressure via a knob, which is very convenient. I was able to test it on several different linoleums and papers and the result is quite satisfactory.
In summary, we can say that everything will depend on your objectives and your budget. But in my opinion the printing press is not a requirement at all at the begining. Please feel free to ask me any questions and tell me your favorite printing solution.