View Full Version : Paper & Ink for lino prints

11-25-2003, 01:19 PM
I've only cut a few lino blocks, but have pulled many prints from them by hand. I've had some problems with paper & ink...

My teacher had us using very lightweight paper. It's heavier than tissue, but is translucent. I found that the lighter the paper, the less ink and pressure are required. You have to exercise a bit of caution and not rip the paper by rubbing aggressively.

I had trouble finding light papers & was pointed to much heavier paper & had trouble getting a areas of solid color with most of them. Is the heavier paper meant for press printing? Or should I be using tons more ink?

I've settled on Japanese Mulberry paper for now, though it's a bit expensive ($5-6/sheet). DickBlick has it, as does ArtPaper.com.

Can anyone recommend something similar, but cheaper?

Also, anyone know a good shop in Boston to get some? Johnson Art in Boston has Mulberry, but their hours are limited.

Also, I haven't had good luck with Speedball water based ink. It seems to dry out enough between pulling prints that it's hard to get a good print after the 1st one. I tried adding more ink & spritzing the plate with a bit of water in between, but it didn't mix in well and left some grey areas on my prints.

I had much better results with Windsor Newton Artisan water mixable oil paints. I assume oil-based inks don't dry out as quick, but I don't want to stink up my house with solvents. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom


11-25-2003, 03:40 PM
We had good success using basic computer paper with lino prints. You could also use a moderate weight drawing paper I would think with pretty good results.

The heavier paper's important with a press, yes. Don't think it's important at all with hand-pulling prints.

When we did lino prints, we never even tried to get more than one print without re-inking. :-\ Don't know what to tell you there.

11-25-2003, 05:21 PM
Always re-ink between prints. (although you may mean it's drying on the palette? not sure)

Mmmm....Mulberry. I bought some of this in Tokyo and it's lovely. There are other japanese papers around that aren't so expensive. Some places here also sell sample-packs where you get 1/4 sheet of about a dozen types. Maybe try a search on printmaking supplies to get a wider range than most general art shops have?

I have worked with the heavier papers. Some more ink is okay but not really necessary. It is the pressure that makes the difference. I press with my hands and it takes a LOT of work. Also, I use a spritzer bottle to dampen the surface of the paper. Make sure it's not shiny-wet, if it is then blot off with blotting paper.


Diane Cutter
11-26-2003, 05:51 AM
After a lot of experimenting, my favorite papers are BFK Rives, Arches 88 and Arches cover, all in the lighter weights (250).

I use these for relief prints, monoprints, and etchings. I do have a press but still pull my relief prints by hand. I've never had any trouble with these.

Years ago I did exactly what timelady suggests. I got single sheets of a bunch of different possible brands. At the time I was checking out which worked best for embossing (fine art type, not hobby type).

I cut each sheet into small pieces (about 16), put them all in a labeled plastic bags. I then had tiny sheets I could use to check out colors, pressure, etc. After I did my sample, I noted on the edge name of paper, weight, type of ink (if used), press pressure (or none, if pulled by hand), problems I had, etc.

I still have those little sheets with all those great notes. Nowadays I only do this when working with a new paper; the rejected prints get cut up to baggy size with notes on how to best proceed next time.


11-28-2003, 06:50 PM
I recently came across Fox River Crushed Leaf paper. It is a commercial printing paper available at most paper distributors for offset printing. Interestin in that it is available for in cover and writing paper weights, a variety of colors and is sulfite based, archival and has recycled material in it. This meets almost all of my printing need in both silkscreening and lino. No I do not work for them, but am quite impressed with the material. Give it a try.

12-09-2003, 04:20 PM
The Rives BFK is a great paper, not too heavy and not to fragile for hand pulled prints. It is a paper that I always keep on hand.

I only use speedball relief inks for doing monoprints now. I just did not like the way it worked with relief prints. Oil based inks work better, and can easily be cleaned up with veggie oil and Dawn dishwashing liquid. That cuts down on the toxicity while allowing you to pull some great prints.