Choose The Right Lino For Printing

There are several Lino relief blocks available. With so many to choose from, it can often be a little confusing finding the right Lino block for you. To make that decision much easier, today we’re looking at each different choice and explaining more about them, their benefits and how best to use them.

For further reading on this you can check out a blog by Handprinted, where they tested various types of lino for printing.

Softcut Lino

Softcut lino is the ideal choice for younger people or those with a little less strength in their hands for the simple fact that it’s much easier to carve. Softcut, being as its name suggests is much softer than other options and quite rubbery. As a result, it does have a little stretch in it. This however can affect the edges a little but rest assured that it doesn’t crumble. When working with softcut, you’d also be well advised to work on the smooth side, as opposed to the rough side. 

Traditional Battleship Grey Lino

There are numerous benefits to traditional lino from the beautiful detail, the ability to control it and the fact that it’s nice to cut. It’s also pretty easy to draw on to using a white pencil, pen, transfer paper or even HB. If you’re dealing with cold lino however, you’ll need a little extra pressure to cut into it. It’s also worth noting that fresh lino is far better to work with than old lino. While old lino isn’t a complete write off; too old can mean it becomes drier and therefore crumbly which will see edges break off when working with it.

Transparent Lino Block

Next up we have something called Transparent block. This type of lino is a little firmer and as a result, a little harder to keep control of. As its name suggests, it’s transparent, which can make it a little tricky to keep track of where you’ve carved. Having said that, the fact that it’s transparent means it’s much easier to see prints and/or trace designs onto the block so swings and roundabouts here. Transparent blocks are particularly useful for multi-layered prints. It’s downside? Perhaps the fact that it’s not as easy to carve as the others on our list but at least it doesn’t crumble.

Japanese Vinyl

Japanese vinyl is very nice to carve, needing little pressure in comparison to traditional lino. It doesn’t crumble and can be used on both sides which can be utilised to the max when doing multi-layered prints, so long as large areas don’t need to be cleared, as this could potentially ruin the pressure. The added benefit of Japanese vinyl is that it has a middle layer in black that you can cut down to. This is great for seeing where you’ve carved and where you haven’t; in essence a great marker. 

Easy Carve Lino

Easy carve, as the name would suggest is super easy to carve, needing far less pressure than your traditional lino does however it’s not quite as soft as Softcut. It’s very similar to Softcut in the fact that it won’t crumble but it’s not quite as stretchy.

Regardless of which lino you choose to work with, do remember that in order to get the best out of them, you need sharp tools and warm lino. With both of these, you’ll find the process much easier whatever the type of lino you use.

List of Lino Types For Printing

Lino Type Suppliers
Easy Cut (Black) - Low Detail Designs For Beginners Soft Lino Block - 10 Sheets 150mm x 100mm
Hessian Backed (Brown) Backed Lino Block 1 Sheet 300mm x 390mm
Safety Kut (White)
Flooring Vinyl
Battleship Grey Hessian Backed (Grey) - 5 Sheets 300mm x 200mm
Golden Cut Thin
Wunder Cut