Studio Friday - Linocut Block Printing

This week I've been working on block printing with acrylic paint in my studio. Last Friday I was having difficulty with the paint covering the rollers and then the print blocks in uneven ways. The paint didn't want to stick to the roller and dried too fast.

I have worked on these issues. I tried one suggestion of adding medium to thin the paint, but that made the paint too transparent and it still wouldn't stick to the roller. I also added drying retarder which did help the paint not dry too fast. 

I found that adding the drying retarder and rolling the paint out on a larger surface until it got thin and tacky feeling prepared the paint for rolling a block print.

Jonathan Molvik, block printing

I made paper prints at the same time as I was printing on the papers taped down. I found out that just pushing the print down on the surface does not give enough pressure to create a clear print. 

When I placed the paper instead over the print and rub and press on the paper until I could feel the contours of the carved image coming through the paper, the print would come out much more clearly.

Lifting print

I also found that I needed more contrast. I painted darker color over the taped down paper. I later removed the tape and printed each piece by placing the paper on top of the linocut print block.

I also learned that my roller really squeaks. I apologize to my family. I'll not be making prints at night again. Maybe I'll oil my roller. 


  • Thank you Uncle Tom! I’ll try the wooden spoon and look out for a press. I always loved looking at your block prints that my parents have hanging up in their house!

    Jonathan Molvik
  • Use a wooden spoon to rub the print on the back for better transferring of the ink. Buy a small press or find someone with an etching press.

    Tom Dartt

Leave a comment