How to Block Print

Updated April 17, 2017

The art of woodblock printing utilises drawing, carving and colour design. It can be used on any type of fabric, paper, wall, metal and wood. It is easy to make your own gift wrap or wallpaper using the woodblock printing process. Linoleum blocks and silkscreen inks are easily available at art shops. Silkscreen inks can be mixed together to create an unlimited colour palette. Clean-up is easy with soap and water as long as the silkscreen ink is wet. Once it dries, silkscreen ink is permanent.

Lightly draw the design you wish to print on the linoleum side of the wood block. The area you draw will be carved out, leaving the positive or raised image as the final design for your stamp.

Use the carving tools to carefully carve out your design. Play with textures, repeated marks, curvy lines, dots and dashes to create different effects.

Blow off your linoleum block once you have finished carving. This is to make sure no leftover dust will affect your final print.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of your preferred silkscreen ink colour into a tray and spread it around a bit so it is even and flat. It should not be deeper than the linoleum on your block.

Dip the linoleum side of your block into the ink and then press it onto a test piece of newspaper. You may find that you have to stamp it a couple of times on the newspaper to achieve a good print that shows all of the lines that you have carved.

Press the linoleum block onto a piece of ironed fabric to stamp on your design. This can be repeated as many times as you like.


Wash off your linoleum block between colours so they do not unintentionally blend together. If you are making a block-printed garment, print all of the fabric before cutting it into a pattern.


Silkscreen ink is permanent. Be sure to wear an apron or old clothes while working. If you are working on a nice table, protect it with plastic or newspaper.

Things You'll Need

  • Linoleum wood block
  • Wood carving tool set
  • Silkscreen ink
  • Tray
  • Newspaper
  • Pencil
  • Fabric
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About the Author

Ellen Dean is a visual artist and painting teacher. She has been teaching and writing articles on art since 2001, and has been a professional artist since 1999, (, after studying sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an NYFA Fellow and was nominated by the Sovereign Art Award/Sotheby's Hong Kong, two years in a row.