Linoleum Prints Are a Fun Summer Craft Project with Kids

Linoleum prints are a fun and easy art based craft project for kids of all ages. Searching for easy and fun craft projects for the kids this summer? Linoleum prints are a great craft that kids over twelve years of age should be able to complete with relative ease. Adults will also find linoeum prints a fun and truly artistic craft project. At the end of the article I will give you some ideas for creating a linoleum type print with children under the age of twelve.

To complete the linoleum print craft project you will need to start with a few basic tools and supplies. All of the materials needed to make a linoleum print can be found at any arts and crafts store, online at major art sources like www.dickblick.com, and sometimes in bigger and newer home super centers.

To get started on a linoleum print you will need to buy:

Linoleum blocks or linoleum sheets (Any size you want)
Craft knife
Linoleum cutting tools (You can find inexpensive sets at art supply stores)
Ink roller (Also known as a brayer)
Linoleum Printing Ink (also known as block ink)
Paper (Any kind you like to print on)

The first step in creating a successful linoleum print craft project with your kids is to start with a basic and straightforward idea of what you want to draw. Animals, nature scenes, flowers, geometric shapes, patterns, and basic ideas always work well with linoleum prints.

Lay your linoleum block on a stable flat surface. Draw your image onto the linoleum with a pencil or pen. Mistakes made with pencil or pen won’t matter and won’t show up in the final print, so play around with your design. For a more detailed drawing you could draw your sketch onto a piece of paper, lay a piece of graphite paper between you linoleum block and sketch, then trace over your lines. The graphite should show up on your linoleum block.

After you have drawn your design onto the linoleum block you are ready to start cutting away at your craft project. You want to use the linoleum cutting tools to remove any areas you want to print white or clean. The soft linoleum is easily dug out and removed with the different sized linoleum cutting tools. Any linoeum left on the block will print black. Think about an ink stamp. You are basically creating your own personalized and unique ink stamp when you create a linoleum print. You should always instruct your children to work the linoleum cutter tool away from them. NEVER under any circumstances allow them to cut towards themselves.

Once you have cut away any negative area in your linoleum print craft project you are ready to start printing. Use the ink roller to roll printing ink onto your cut linoleum block. This is very similar to using a paint roller to paint your wall. You can squirt some of the ink onto a plastic or foam plate and lightly roll the ink roller into it. If you have too much ink on the roller you can remove some by rolling it over a piece of scrap paper.

Once your linoleum has been inked you can turn it over and press it onto the paper you wish to print it on. I personally buy a second ink roller (better known as a brayer) which I never roll in ink and use to press the linoleum print craft project out on the paper. Roll your clean ink roller over the back of the linoleum and apply as much pressure as possible. This is one part of the craft project you might want to help the children with. It is important to apply enough pressure to transfer the linoleum print to the craft paper cleanly and clearly.

One linoleum block should give you at least five good prints. Children may not care how crisp the lines are and could possibly get and unlimited number of linoleum prints out of one cut.

Linoleum printing is a great way to create multiple copies of the same piece of artwork for extended family, Christmas cards, birthday cards, and more. I personally love to create a linoleum print on the back of a brown grocery bag. The heavy brown paper is beautiful with black ink pressed on it. This is also a great way to save a little money on the craft project with your kids.

If your child is under twelve or you just want to save a little money you can create a similar style print craft project that is like a linoleum print by cutting a raw potato in half. Carve out negative areas and roll the ink on and print. You will be more limited in size and detail, but it will be a safer craft project for younger children because the potato is softer than the linoleum.

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