What Inks Are Best For Lino Printing?

When you create your lino print you need to consider one of the most essential & important materials, which is the ink. You can use waterbased or oil based ink for block & lino printing, each have there own pros and cons which have been listed below to help you make a decision of what you need.

Caligo Inks

Caligo inks come in a variety of colours and are readily available online. The beauty about Caligo inks is that they boast all the benefits that you would normally associate with oil-based inks yet require a fraction of the clean up effort. Caligo inks are something we personally use ourselves as they provide a great solution for those in-between water and oil based inks.

It’s worth noting however, that Caligo inks take just as long as oil based inks to dry however, this can be affected by the thickness of the ink and the surrounding temperature/humidity. A good recommendation would be Cranfield Caligo Safe Wash Relief Ink.

Oil Based Lino Printing Inks

Oil based inks are a commonly used option for Lino printing thanks to their richness in colour and the fact that they give you a little more time to play around. Due to the oil base, they won’t dry too quickly on your roller or plate and there’s noticeably less flecking with them too. Thanks to the viscosity of the oil based inks, they won’t run when wet either.

They do however, require a much more thorough clean up and have been known to cause quite a mess if found on your own clothes or footwear. Oil based inks are also a fair bit more expensive than water-based inks too. If you do want to try oil based, we suggest looking at Cranfield’s traditional oil based inks.

Pros of Oil Based Inks Cons of Oil Based Inks
Ink is rich in colour Clean up uses chemicals
Does not dry quickly on rollers or plate/block More expensive & costly
Less flecking (Paper showing through ink) Can cause a mess if on clothing or shoes
Waterproof inks don’t run when wet Longer drying times

Waterbased Lino Printing Inks

Water based inks are the perfect option for those wanting something a little cheaper. They’re easy to clean up with a simple soap and warm water solution and they offer a very quick drying time.

Nothing comes without its downsides however and water-based ink, as convenient as it is can lack colour density at time and can dry a little too quickly on your plate. If you’re looking at a water based ink, we recommend looking at the likes of Schmincke Aqua Linoprint Ink. They’re great quality and easy to apply.

Pros of Water Based Inks Cons of Water Based Inks
Cheaper than oil based ink Dry quickly on your plate
Easy cleanup with warm soapy water Colour is not as dense
Quick drying time of prints Not all ink is of great quality/density