Handi-hour Crafting: Linoleum Blocks

  • GLORIA KENYON: Hi, I’m Gloria Kenyon, Public Programs Coordinator for the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery. We are preparing for our upcoming Handi-hour by making linoleum printing squares. You just have to carve out the linoleum. It’s the same material that your kitchen floors are made out of and you can make a stamp.

    So, to get your linoleum block done, you just need, this is a four-by-six linoleum square you can get in a craft store. You’ll need a carving tool; it comes with a lot of different little bits and pieces. We’re just going to use two for today for what we’re making. I printed a template of a gerbera daisy to fit my 4x6 square. I’m just going to lay it on here and you can arrange it to fit however you want. I’m just going to trace around with a ballpoint pen. Now, I’m just going to start carving around. For this one I left a border so I’m going to leave a border on this one. You just kind of determine, you can draw that out. I eyeball it and determine where I want it to go and you just dig in with the tool. It’s specially designed to cut into linoleum squares. It just peels the pieces away nice and easy. This one has a gradation in it. It’s great on top and then white below.

    I’m just going to carve until I see white. I’m going to go all the way around like this. As you can see, I carved the white. We’re going to have a nice clean background. I’m just going to come the other direction. Then you just work around your design.

    To do our details in our flower I’m actually going to switch out heads. This one’s a little bit more narrow so you can do a little bit more detail work. I’m going to follow my line I drew and create the outline for my flower.

    So, as you can see, we’ve cleaned out all of our bits and pieces, we’ve carved some details into the edge of the flower, we’ve really made a clear delineation between this white and the grey where we’re going to create our stamp.

    I have these note cards, they’re eight-and-a-half by ten, folded in half. I’m just going to use some acrylic paint and a sponge brush. I’m going to do this one without a border. I’m just going to apply my paint in a light coating. Then, you take your inked square and you lay it down. You want to press down evenly, so you get an even printing. There it is, your linoleum block print.

    Public Programs Coordinator Gloria Kenyon demonstrates crafting for the next Handi Hour program at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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