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Transferring Your Image or Design onto Lino Blocks

Equipment Needed

Carbon Paper

Use to transfer the design from paper onto Lino.


Used to outline design once transferred.

Lino Block

Blank Lino block used for printing.


The alternate method to carbon paper.

Once you’re satisfied with your design, the subsequent step is to transfer it to the lino, facilitating an easier carving process. Alternatively, drawing directly onto the lino can be a time-saving option, but keep in mind that this method doesn’t leave you with a reference back to your original design.

Tips for Transferring Your Design:

  • Prepare Your Lino: Select a piece of lino slightly larger than your design to accommodate any potential misalignment, providing a margin for error.
  • Transfer Method: Position either carbon paper or chalk-backed paper between your original sketch and the lino. Trace over your design firmly to transfer it onto the lino. Be mindful that your design may be mirrored during this process.
  • Enhance Visibility: Once transferred, go over the design on the lino with a fine-tipped pen to improve its visibility and clarity.
  • Utilise Transparency: Employ tracing paper to preview how your design will appear when reversed. This is particularly crucial for text or designs with specific directional elements.
  • Secure Your Work: Place your paper and lino on a non-slip surface to prevent any movement, ensuring a precise transfer.
  • Apply Consistent Pressure: Ensure even pressure while tracing to achieve a uniform transfer of your design, avoiding any missed or faint lines that could complicate the carving process.
  • Verification: Compare the transferred design on the lino with the original sketch to confirm accuracy and completeness, making sure no details are missing or incorrectly mirrored.
  • Lightbox or Window Technique: For translucent lino (e.g., soft cut lino), use a lightbox or a window to backlight your design for easier alignment and transfer.
  • Tape for Stability: Temporarily secure your drawing or tracing paper to the lino with low-tack tape to avoid slipping or misalignment.
  • Optimise Your Workspace: Maintain a clean, clutter-free, and well-lit workspace to facilitate the visibility of faint lines and prevent any unintentional smudging during the transfer process.

Remember, preparation is key. Taking the time to ensure your design is accurately and clearly transferred can save you time and frustration in the carving stage.

Transferring Your Design With Chalk/6B Pencil

Transferring design onto lino

6B Pencil rubbed on the back of photo which will make a mark on your Lino when drawn over, you can use chalk too.

Transferring design onto lino

Sketching over photo with graphite rubbed on back will produce an outline on Lino.

Sketched design on lino

Outlined design on Lino after drawing over image with graphite on back of paper.

Sketched design on lino

You can hand draw design onto Lino, lines are to help drawing to scale.

Transferring Your Design With Carbon Paper

Other methods include using carbon paper on the back of your design.

Hand drawn design transferred with carbon paper with detail redrawn.

Types Of Lino For Printing

There are a variety of types of lino sheets for printing. The 2 main types of lino that you come across are soft lino with no backing and tougher lino with a skrim/hessian backing. Generally speaking both types of lino can produce high quality prints. The more accessible softer lino is easier to cut and cheaper, however more traditional tougher lino gives you more control and detail. I personally prefer to work with the grey lino due to the quality of the print it will produce, as well as the longevity of the lino block.

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

Lino TypeSuppliers
Easy Cut (Black) - Low Detail Designs For BeginnersSoft Lino Block - 10 Sheets 150mm x 100mm
Speedball Speedy Carve Block (US) 9"X11.75"Pink Soft Lino Block
Hessian Backed (Brown)Backed Lino Block 1 Sheet 300mm x 390mm
Essdee Art LinoEssdee Art Lino 2 Sheets 305mm x 203mm
Zieler Easy Carve LinoZieler Easy Carve Lino 5 Sheets 210mm x 148mm
Battleship GreyHessian Backed (Grey) - 5 Sheets 300mm x 200mm
Essdee Mounted LinoEssdee Mounted Lino - 2 Sheets 75mm x 75mm
Artway Soft Cut Polymer SheetsArtway Soft Cut Polymer Sheets - 3 Sheets 594mm x 420mm
Types of lino for printing

Different types of Lino for Printmaking.

Types of Lino for Printing by

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