You don't need a press to experience the fun of printmaking. Lineleum and woodcut prints can be made inexpensively, and bring about wonderful results.
If you don't want to buy something to work with then you can use the back of a wooden spoon to rub the back of the paper. This will pull up the ink from your linoleum or wood cut plate, and you can check how well the cover is by holding one end of your paper on the plate and lifting areas that you have rubbed. If you want to go a little more expensive after you find that this medium is something you want to pursue there is the Printing Pin. This is made from machined aluminum and looks like a rolling pin. This runs for $99 at Daniel Smith. I am not sure of the price at Dick Blick.
Wood can be easily found for anyone. I would suggest at least a quarter inch of solid wood to carve. Wood cutting tools are very reasonable for the beginning printmaker also. My first set was under $20.
Linoleum cutter sets are also within that price range, and with these you can buy replacement cutters or different shaped cutters to work the linoleum with. You can find linoleum in the artists catalogs in any size you would like either mounted or unmounted on wood. Personally I prefer the unmounted linoleum because I can put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds ever so often to soften it up and make cutting easier.
Start out shallow with your cuts and then work them a bit deeper. You don't need to cut too deep for either wood or linoleum to prepare the surface to take ink.
For both techniques you will need a soft rubber brayer to roll your ink on with. These run between $8 and $15 dollars depending on size for the less expensive brayers.
Inks come in all colors in tubes for this technique. You can get either oil or water based inks also. The colors and size of tubes dictate the price of these inks as they do in paints. It is best to roll the inks out on a glass surface. Use a line of ink about 6" wide, and roll out until the ink is tacky. It sounds like velcro being opened when you have reached the right consistency. Then roll the ink on your plate giving a good coverage of the plate where you are unable to see linoleum or wood beneanth. *Hint* Disposable rubber gloves are a good idea to keep your hands clean while inking plates. Then you won't have to worry about getting ink on your paper where you don't want it.
Paper should be medium to heavy weight for wood and linoleum prints especially if you are hand pulling your prints. There are some wonderful papers available in a variety of color. Rives and Stonehenge are both good papers and run in the medium price range. I would suggest buying parent size sheets that you can cut or tear to the size you want.
Tearing paper to get a nice deckled edge is very simple and should be torn before printing into the desired size. Take a metal ruler or yard stick and mark off where you to tear. I take a small sponge or painters brush with good bristles to slightly damper the paper along the edge you are using to tear with. Then take one edge of the paper while holding the ruler down firmly and tear the paper slowly but smoothly.
For water based inks warm water and dish soap can be used to clean the plates off once you are finished. For oil based paints I suggest an oderless paint thinner otherwise it gets pretty stinky. Do your printing in a well ventilated area. Clean your plate after you complete your prints. This will leave the plate clean and ready if you want to do more prints later on.
Now you are ready to print. So, for those that try this method of printmaking get your prints together and let us see what you have created!
Lay your prints out somewhere flat to dry. Water based inks dry faster than oil. For oil based inks give it a good 24 hours to dry. You can also hang your prints from one of those indoor clothes lines with clothes pins, or string fishing line up tauntly.
Number your print edition like this 1/8, 2/8 etc.... The first number gives the number of the print, and the second gives the number of prints made off the plate.
Below you will find some of the tools I have spoken about, so you can get an idea of what to look for in the art store or the catalogs.
* Correction * I labled something wrong in my picture. That is a Japanese Studen Baren not a brayer. I had brayers on the mind I guess.......lol And I didn't even put one in the picture.