D.I.Y. Love: Block-Print Valentines

by Anna H. Blessing (Chicago, IL)

There’s nothing sweeter than coming across a Valentine while sorting through bills and junk mail midwinter. Since sending (and receiving!) love-filled missives always has me superexcited, I got really organized this year and made a few prints to send to friends and family during a printmaking class I took at Spudnik Press.

Linoleum block printing is relatively easy to do on your own at home. Though access to an actual printing press is handy, you can rub the paper with the back of a wooden spoon to pick up ink from the design.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A piece of linoleum
A brayer for rolling ink
Ink (oil based is best, but water based is easier to clean)
A linoleum-cutting carving set
Tracing paper and transfer paper

And here’s how you do it:

1. Draw your design, then trace the reverse of it onto a piece of tracing paper using a window.

2. Place the transfer paper on top of the linoleum, then put your tracing paper image on top of that.

3. Trace over with a pen or pencil to leave the lines of your design on the linoleum.

4. Carve away.

Of course, a class, an online tutorial or a book is handy, but jumping in and getting started is the best way to learn. And in case you’re running a bit short on time for a crafty, hand-carved Valentine, here are a few totally adorable pre-made cards that’ll still charm your sweetheart:

Rifle Paper Co., Anatomy of Love:

Mr. Bodington’s Studio, Perfect Pairs Valentine:

Larkpress, Ribs with Heart: