What tools and equipment do you need to make a linocut print?

Updated: Feb 8

When I run my linocut workshops I often get asked where I buy my printmaking supplies from. Below are details of the tools I use on my beginners linocut workshops and as professional artist. Links to suppliers are at the bottom of the page.

I mainly cycle over to Hawthorn Printmaking supplies in Murton, just outside York. They're a lovely family run company and are always extremely helpful with advice. They make their own presses and Barry, an ex chemist, makes all their inks. I love learning about how things are made, so it's never a quick visit once we get chatting.

10 essential tools for linocut printing for beginners

A starter kit of linocut materials and tools for beginners
A starter kit of linocut materials and tools for beginners

Everything you need to start making your very own hand-carved and hand printed lino prints.

A starter kit of linocut materials and tools for beginners:

  1. Linocut tools: A good beginner set is the Essdee lino cutters and handle set with 5 lino cutters.

  2. Softcut lino: Essdee Softcut lino comes in various pack sizes

  3. Glass slab: I use glass kitchen workshop savers

  4. Ink roller or brayer: These Essdee rollers or similar.

  5. Printing ink: If you are making linocut prints at home I recommend using inks such as Speedball block printing inks

  6. Smooth cartridge paper

  7. Wooden spoon: For hand burnishing the inked up lino block onto the paper.

  8. Tracing paper

  9. Pencils, pens and rubber

  10. Photocopy paper: For drawing and printing proofs or test prints

Which type of lino is best for linocut printing?

Traditional grey artists lino

I now use traditional hessian backed grey linoleum. Some people call it 'battleship' lino. Traditional lino is made from linseed oil, pine resin and cork dust. It's harder to carve with cheaper cutters.

Soft cut or easy carve lino

When I first started teaching myself linocutting I used soft cut lino. When I teach linocut workshops in my York studio I use soft cut lino or easy carve lino. This is made from plastic. As the name implies it is softer to cut so better for cheaper beginners tools.

What are the differences between traditional grey lino and easy carve lino?

Traditional grey lino

Pros: The end of a carving line snaps off meaning you can create different lines and marks easier.

Cons: Harder to carve. Goes brittle over time and needs to be used fresh. I would recommend using professional lino cutting tool.

Soft cut or easy carve lino

Pros: Easy to carve. You can cut shapes out of the lino easily. Easy to use with beginners lino cutting tools.

Cons: You need to ensure that you carve up slightly at the end to ensure the scrap lino is cut away. It will distort in an etching press. It's plastic.

Read a blog that explains about the different type of lino on the Handprinted website blog here.

Pfeil linocut tools