Mounted vs Unmounted Linoleum for Lino Block Printing: Which is Best?

This article discusses the pros and cons of using mounted vs unmounted linoleum for linocut printing.

Mounted linoleum provides better stability and is easier to handle while unmounted linoleum is more flexible, cheaper, and easy to store.

Lino block printing involves sketching the design, transferring it onto the block, carving away the unwanted parts, inking the block, and printing the image onto paper or fabric.

There are various techniques like layering, reduction method, and using different types of ink and paper to create unique prints.

linocut being made

While playing around with linocut printing, I found that choosing between mounted vs unmounted linoleum can be a tough decision if you have not gone deep into the process and found what you truly like.

The type of linoleum you choose can also affect the quality of your prints, the ease of carving, and the overall experience of creating your artwork.

While mounted linoleum is often seen as the more professional option, unmounted linoleum has many benefits as well. Firstly, unmounted linoleum is often double-sided, which means you can get twice as much use out of it.

Additionally, unmounted linoleum is cheaper to buy and easier to store, as it is lighter and less bulky than mounted alternatives.

There are also advantages to using mounted linoleum. Mounted linoleum is ideal for big projects, as it provides more stability and support.

It can also be easier to handle when printing, as it doesn’t curl up like unmounted linoleum can.

Ultimately, the choice between mounted and unmounted linoleum comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your project.

Mounted vs Unmounted Linoleum

As a visual artist with years of experience, I have worked with both mounted and unmounted linoleum blocks for printing.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two depends on the needs of the artist and the project at hand.

Definition of Mounted vs Unmounted Linoleum

Mounted linoleum is a type of linoleum block that is attached to a wooden block or mount. This makes it easier to handle and print with, as it can be held securely in place while printing.

Unmounted linoleum, on the other hand, is simply a sheet of linoleum without any backing. This makes it more flexible and lightweight, but also more difficult to handle and print with.

Pros and Cons of Using Mounted Linoleum

One of the biggest advantages of using mounted linoleum is that it is easier to handle and print with.

The wooden mount provides a stable base that can be held securely in place while printing, which helps to prevent mistakes and ensure consistent results.

Mounted linoleum is more durable than unmounted linoleum, as it is less likely to crack or break during the printing process.

The main disadvantage of using mounted linoleum is that it can be more expensive than unmounted linoleum.

The cost of the wooden mount adds to the overall price of the block, which can be a significant factor for artists on a tight budget.

The added weight of the mount can make it more difficult to transport and store the block.

Pros and Cons of Using Unmounted Linoleum

The biggest advantage of using unmounted linoleum is that it is more flexible and lightweight than mounted linoleum.

This makes it easier to carve and handle, especially for small or intricate designs.

As I mentioned earlier, unmounted linoleum is often less expensive than mounted linoleum, which can be a major factor for artists on a tight budget.

The main disadvantage of using unmounted linoleum is that it can be more difficult to handle and print with.

Without the stability of a wooden mount, the block can shift or move during the printing process, which can lead to mistakes or inconsistent results.

Unmounted linoleum is more prone to cracking or breaking during carving, which can be frustrating for artists who are trying to create detailed designs.

How you can mount unmounted linoleum

Mounting unmounted linoleum for linocut printing purposes is not that hard actually.

It involves gluing the linoleum piece to a wooden block, which will act as the printing surface. Here’s a brief overview of how I would do it:

Choose your linoleum

Select a linoleum block that is the appropriate size for your print.

Prepare the wooden block

Sand the surface of the wooden block to make sure it is smooth and clean.

Apply adhesive

Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the wooden block using a notched trowel.

Mount the linoleum

Carefully place the linoleum onto the adhesive, making sure to align it properly with the edges of the wooden block.

Press the linoleum down

Use a roller or other heavy object to press the linoleum down onto the wooden block, making sure there are no air bubbles.

Trim the edges

Use a sharp knife or other cutting tool to trim any excess linoleum from the edges of the wooden block.

Once the linoleum is mounted onto the wooden block, you can begin carving your design into the linoleum using linocut tools. When you’re finished carving, you can ink the linoleum and print your design onto paper or another surface.

It’s important to note that linocut printing requires some skill and experience, and it may take some practice to get the results you want.

Mounting your own linoleum can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to create mounted linocut prints.

Lino Block Printing

Block printing is a popular technique among artists for creating unique prints. Lino block printing is a type of relief printing that involves carving a design onto a linoleum block and then transferring the design onto paper or fabric.

In this section, I will discuss the process of lino block printing, the tools and materials required, and some techniques for creating beautiful prints.

Process of Lino Block Printing

The process of lino block printing involves several steps. First, you need to sketch your design onto a piece of paper.

Once you have your design, transfer it onto the linoleum block using tracing paper or a transfer pencil.

Next, you will use carving tools to carve away the areas of the block that you do not want to appear in your print. Once you have finished carving your design, you are ready to print!

Tools and Materials Required for Lino Block Printing

To create a lino block print, you will need a few essential tools and materials. Here are the basics:

  • Linoleum block
  • Carving tools
  • Ink roller
  • Printing ink
  • Printing paper or fabric

You can also use a printing press to transfer the ink onto the paper or fabric, but it is not necessary. A simple wooden spoon can be used to press the ink onto the paper.

Techniques for Lino Block Printing

There are several techniques you can use to create interesting and unique lino block prints. One technique is to use multiple blocks to create a layered print.

Another technique is to use a reduction method, where you carve away more of the block between each layer of printing.

You can also experiment with different types of ink and paper to create different effects.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at lino block printing, here are some techniques to help you get started:

Choosing your block

Start by selecting a linoleum block that is the appropriate size for your image. Soft-cut blocks are easier to carve but can be more prone to wear, while hard-cut blocks are more durable but can be more difficult to work with.

Transferring your design

Once you have your block, transfer your design onto the surface using a transfer sheet or by tracing your design directly onto the block. You can use graphite paper or a stylus to transfer your design.

Carving your image

Using a carving tool, carefully carve away the areas of the block that you want to remain white. You can use different tools to create different effects, such as gouges or v-shaped tools.

Inking your block

Once your block is carved, apply ink to the surface using a roller. Be sure to apply a thin, even layer of ink to avoid over-inking the block.

Printing your image

After inking your block, carefully place your paper or fabric over the surface of the block, making sure to line up your image. Use a baren or a spoon to apply pressure to the back of the paper or fabric, transferring the ink from the block to the surface.

Cleaning your block

Once you’ve finished printing your image, be sure to clean your block thoroughly to avoid any leftover ink drying on the surface.

In my experience, lino block printing is a fun and rewarding printmaking technique that can produce beautiful and unique results.

By following these simple techniques and experimenting with different tools and materials, you can create your own custom prints and express your creativity through this timeless medium.

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