Multi Block Lino

There are two many ways of creating a multi coloured lino print – either the reduction method or a multi block method or if you are brave a mixture of the two.

The benefit of the reduction method is that all the information is on the one block and that you don’t have to keep cutting the same image which makes
registration easier and more exact. The downsides are you work from the colour of the paper (usually white) through to dark in multiple layers. It
is very tricky to print colours from either side of the colour wheel in the same image, the print is also limited as once you have cut parts away they
cannot be put back so if you decide you do not like the first colour you printed it is too late to do anything about it.

The multi block method, although a little more time consuming for cutting, allows you freedom to change your mind about colour and reprint blocks if needed.
It also allows you to print both sides of the colour wheel in the same image. A two layer reduction print will give you three colours – the paper,
first colour and second colour (mixed with the first colour), whilst a two layer multi block will give you four colours – the paper, first colour
on paper, second colour on paper and second colour mixed with first colour (I hope that makes sense!)

Draw round your sheet of lino and sketch out your first block.


Photocopy this image and plan the second block. I find it easy to colour in the areas I am going to cut away.


Trace each image using carbon paper onto a piece of lino.


Cut out the areas that you have coloured in using lino tools.  


We are making a simple registration sheet – the image is very simple and if the registration is not exact it will not matter too much. Draw around
your sheet of paper that you wish to print on. (If we wanted exact registration we would use the Ternes Burton pins and tabs.)


Place your lino inside this rectangle and draw around the lino. Each time you come to print you will always put your inked up lino and paper in the same


You are now ready to print! We are using Cranfield Waterbased Relief Ink, they are made by the same people as Caligo. They are really pigment rich, extremely easy to clean
up, fast drying and unusually for a waterbased ink have an extender so we can alter the transparency which is useful for layering colours.

First layer. Printed with Process Cyan.


Second layer printed with a mixture of Process Magenta and Extender for greater transparency. As you can see there are four colours white (paper)
Cyan, Magenta and Purple.   


Different colourways of the same print.


To make your own multi block lino you will need:



Lino tools


Carbon Paper

Cranfield Colours Water Based Relief Printing Ink

Kent Paper


Inking tray or glass slab 




Meet the Maker: Holly Newnham

Screen Printing in the Handprinted Studio

Hello, I’m Holly – many of you will know me from the Handprinted Shop and Studio! Between teaching workshops, creating Handprinted projects and working
in the shop I also make my own work which I sell under the name ‘Life the Holly Way’.

Carving lino for ‘Venetian Door’ reduction print

Describe your process

I’ll always start with a drawing or photograph, a few sketches and idea of colours. I won’t necessarily know at this point which method I will use for
each design. If I’m working on a linocut I will either draw directly onto lino or transfer my drawing. I love to use Japanese carving tools to make
my blocks as you can get so much detail –  either Powergrip or pencil handled tools. If I’m starting a screen print I will scan my drawing and print it onto a film, ready to make a screen. Batiks are the only type of work I make with
usually no planning at all.



‘Venetian Door’ – Five Layer Reduction Linocut


 How and where did you learn to print?


Coming from a very arty household, I grew up experimenting with various techniques. I would watch my Mum work for months on silk paintings and batiks.
There were always print making materials around that I would use for school projects and handmade cards. Whilst studying Art at A Level I borrowed
an old silk screen from school and took it home where myself and my Mum figured out how to use it. I screen printed fabric and upholstered two chairs
from what I had made. I built up my skills at university, at home and of course at Handprinted!

‘Hydrangea’ – Three Layer Screen Print on Book Page

Why printing?

I like the wide variety of styles that printmaking has to offer: a precise, flat coloured screen print; a textured, dynamic linocut; a delicate, smudgy
drypoint etching. I can work on a drawing or photograph and envisage it in all these forms to try to figure out which method would suit the style of
the image. Perhaps it would work as a repeat pattern rather than a static framed print? As well as printmaking I love to work on batiks, surrendering
to the gestural, splashy wax markings and bright spreading dyes.

Process of Making Batik with Javanese Tjanting

Where do you work?

Working at Handprinted, I am lucky to be able to steal hours in the studio when we are closed. I carve into lino blocks in bed, leaving slivers of lino
in the covers or go home to my parents’ house where I am still somehow allowed to spread out with a sewing machine and take over a whole room (or two)
in hours of need.

Dip dyeing a batik in its final layer of dye to give crackle

Lampshade made with the above batik

Describe a typical day in your studio

If I have a show or exhibition coming up I will come in to the studio early for a few hours before we open the shop. I can usually print a batch of tea
towels or bags in this time, add a layer to a linocut or expose a new screen. At the weekends I might sew up a few cushions, iron fix fabrics or frame
prints. In the evenings I sit at the kitchen table cutting lino, drawing new designs or adding products to my Etsy shop. I usually head to my parents’ house for product photography because there are always so many beautiful surfaces and
props to use!

Exposed screen with ‘Fern’ design

Tea towel printed with ‘Fern’ design

What inspires you?

I take a lot of inspiration from natural forms. I also tend to go on trips and visits and come home manically inspired. I visited Charleston, the home
of the Bloomsbury Group in East Sussex, ten years ago and have been affected ever since. There is something about the way in which artwork creeps out
of the frame onto every surface in the home that helped me to see art and design as an integral part of our domestic environment.

A recent visit to a local talk by the daughter of designers Lucienne and Robin Day inspired my Polyprop Chair repeat pattern.

Lampshade being made with screen printed ‘Polyprop Chair’ design

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love to use Caligo Safewash Relief Inks. I used them on a reduction linocut taken from my photograph of a door in Venice but have also started
to use them on fabric. They roll out beautifully, create gorgeously intense colours and stay open for hours or days if covered. I also love using
Akua Intaglio Inks for drypoint etching. They print beautifully but, as they are water based, cut the plate cleaning time in half!

Caligo inks rolled out to print onto fabric with lino block

What have you made that you are most proud of?

Recently, I am proud of my Polyprop Chair design. I have worked on repeat patterns in the past but this was a new subject that I feel works particularly
well as a fabric design. It grew from a drawing of the Robin Day stack of polypropylene chairs in my sketchbook and has made its way onto prints, bags,
cushions, tea towels and lampshades!

Cushion made with screen printed ‘Polyprop Chair’ design

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

Lots of my most current work is in my Etsy Shop ‘Life the Holly Way’. I occasionally
exhibit at shows – most recently at Knepp Castle and in the Chichester Art Trail. I also have a website where I show my work, processes and ideas.

‘Nettles’ – Drypoint Etching

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’ve got lots of sketches and ideas for new batiks on cotton to be framed rather than boiled and stitched in to something new. I’m currently expanding
my range of hand printed cards and note books as I love carving the stamps and it’s nice to work on something small and affordable.

Printing cards with Mastercut stamps

My website will also be up and running soon if I get my act together over the next few weekends!

Finished screen printed and block printed cushions

Do you have any advice for printmakers, designers and creatives?

Set yourself a deadline for making work – sign yourself up to an exhibition, competition or show. After leaving the creative rigour of university it’s
easy to get out of the habit of designing and making all the time. I thought I was too busy to make my own work whilst working full time but with a
few adjustments it’s amazing how much extra time you can squeeze in when you have to. There’s nothing like a deadline to force you to find it.

See more of Holly’s work on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or read more about her on

Making a Layered Batik

Back in March last year we made a reduction linocut from a rather
handsome picture of our very own Handprinted dog, Fletcher (of ‘Fletcher the Screen Printing Dog’ fame).

The reduction lino process lends itself really well to this kind
of image because of the tonal build up in the fur. You start by carving out the white areas and then build the image with darker and darker colours,
carving away the lino in between each layer of print. We were pretty happy with the results!

The kind of tonal build up in layers created in a reduction lino works much in the same was as building up a layered batik. We have been really enjoying
the Batik Workshops in the studio recently and seeing all the wax pots, tjantings and dyes on the tables reminded us how fun it can be! We decided
to test the similarities between reduction lino and batik by using the same image of lovely Fletcher:

He’s a little more shaggy than intended but he looks close enough to the image to be recognisable. We’ve also managed the red tongue that we couldn’t
in a reduction lino. Here’s how this batik was made:

This batik was made on Prima cotton but they
also look brilliant on silk and on paper. We are using Procion MX cold water dyes which are easy to use, inexpensive and create beautiful colours. These dyes can be mixed with
Soda Ash (to fix the dye), Urea (to brighten the colours)
and Calgon (to soften our chalky South Downs water).
When Soda Ash is added to the dye, it begins its shelf life of about 2 hours, after which time the dye will not fix to the fabric effectively.
To avoid this, we like to mix up the dye and the dye fixative solution separately.

A good colour range for mixing a huge range of colours is to use two of each primary colour and black (two tones of yellow, two blue and two red).
The best Procion colours for this are Lemon Yellow, Golden Yellow, Bright Turquoise, Royal Blue, Orange Scarlet, Magenta and Black. Mix 1tsp of
each dye for each 100mls of warm water. This will create a strong dye that can be diluted with dye fix solution.

For the dye fix solution, mix 2tsps Soda Ash, 5tbsp Urea (yes, it is a lot!) and 1/2 tsp Calgon.
There are lots of different recipes available for dye fix solutions but we like this one.

If you’d like some guide lines, use a pencil to trace your image. We’ve drawn on the back of the fabric so that the lines do not show too much, but draw
on the front if you prefer.

Pin your fabric to a wooden frame.
I like to use Silk Pins
as they cause less damage to the fabric than drawing pins. Stretch your fabric tightly and evenly.

Batik uses hot wax as a resist to the dye. The wax is melted in a Tixor Malam Wax Pot. Batik Wax

is a blend of paraffin and beeswax, giving the desired amount of ‘crackle’ to the final image. The wax needs to be hot enough to be melted and flow
through the tools easily but not too hot to cause fumes or become a fire hazard. This pot seems to work best set at 5 1/2 on the dial but needs to
be attended at all times.

Tjantings are used to apply the wax to the fabric through the little spouts at one end. Leave the tjantings in the wax to get hot between each use.
It helps to have a rag or wad of kitchen roll in your other hand to hold around the tjanting as it moves between the pot and the fabric. This will
clean any excess wax from the tjanting and minimise drips and splashes.

The wax is going to resist our first dye colour so we use it to preserve the current colour of the cloth. On this first layer, we are using the tjanting
to fill in any areas that we want to be left white in the final image.

Brushes can also be used to apply the wax and can create much more expressive marks – make sure that the brushes used are natural fibres such as hogs hair
as synthetic fibres will melt in the wax!

Once your first layer is waxed out, you are ready to mix up the first dye colour. We started with a pale yellow.

Use a pipette to select your dye colours – we used a mix of Lemon and Golden Yellow.

Add dye fix solution until your strength of dye is reached. You’ll need at least twice the amount of dye fix to dye. For weaker colours, add more dye fix.
Test your colours on a scrap piece of fabric and keep adding pipettes of colour until you are happy. Once you’ve added this solution, the dye will
only remain active for about 2 hours but they can be stored and used on paper for other projects!

The colour will appear a lot lighter on the fabric than in the pot.

Use a foam brush to cover your batik in dye. The wax will resist the dye.

Here is our reduction linocut at the same stage (looking a little more accurate than the haphazard style of the batik):

If you want to keep your dye from spreading, draw a border around your frame before dyeing.

Wait for the dye to dry. If hot wax is applied to damp dye it will not penetrate the fabric and wont resist the next layer of dye – don’t be tempted to
wax before it is fully dry!

Apply the next layer of wax to the dry surface. With this waxing, you are preserving any areas that you want to be left pale yellow.

The wax dries almost as soon as it touches the fabric so the next layer of dye and fixative mix can be added straight away. Each colour applied should
be darker than the previous colour. Remember that these colours are translucent and will show some of the colour underneath. Blue painted over yellow
will become slightly green toned, red over blue will become purple toned etc. Building up from light to dark will help to achieve the colours you want.
Areas can also be sectioned off with a wax border and painted in with separate colours in a single layer.

To help the dye to dry faster between layers, blot it with kitchen towel and then use a hairdryer on a cool setting. Do not use the hairdryer too warm
or it will melt the wax! If you do have time to leave the dye to dry by itself, it helps the colour to fix to the fabric.

We want our background to stay this mustard yellow so needed to wax out the entire background with a natural bristle brush.


We wanted Fletcher to have a red tongue so added some magenta dye mix to his mouth. The dye will spread as far as it can until the next wax line so we
need to paint the whole area of his mouth…

…and then select the areas we want to remain red with wax after the dye has dried. The rest of the red will be covered up with the next dye layer.

A medium brown dye mix fills in all the areas that have not been waxed, giving us a red tongue and a yellow background.

To create fine lines, the wax can be scratched into with a sharp tool. We used an Etching Needle. To do this, remove the fabric from the frame (our pins are stuck in the wax) and place it on the table. Scribe
into the wax on both sides to reveal some of the fabric underneath.

Go over the area with dye so that it can go through the gaps to dye the fabric.

Our final waxing preserves any areas that we would like to stay mid brown.

Paint your final darkest colour over the fabric.

When the batik is dry, it is time to remove the wax. Place the batik on a big wad of newspaper.

Place more newspaper over the top and iron (without water or steam). This will melt the wax into the newspaper. When the sheet is full of greasy wax, replace
it with clean sheet. Repeat until very little wax is coming off onto the paper. It is a good idea to use a separate iron for removing wax as it is
possible for the wax to come off the iron and onto your clothes! An inexpensive iron reserved for batik is a safer bet.

To make your own layered batik you will need:









Meet the Maker: Anna’s Drawing Room

Hello, my name is Anna Vartiainen, working under the name Anna’s Drawing Room.

I live by the south coast in Worthing with my partner and daughters, drawing and designing nature-inspired art prints, cards and home-wares.

Describe your process.

Many of my prints are digital, but when possible, I do love hand-printing. All my pieces start with a simple pen drawing. For linocuts or stamps I’ll trace it to transfer onto a block, or for a repeat pattern I’ll scan drawings into Photoshop, create a pattern tile, print that and carve it.

How and where did you learn to print?

Largely self-taught, I’ve learned a lot by looking up what I need online and in books, buying the materials and quite simply trying them at home. With linocutting this was fine, but screen printing was a bit trickier and I came to you guys at Handprinted for a course with Sarah Hamilton. A few months later, Shirley helped get me started in your workshop to create my first screen prints for sale.

Apart from this I once did a short course in drypoint etching, which was amazing! This would be good to revisit some day. I’m still a printmaking beginner really, but every so often make the time to try again and progress.

Why printing?

Apart from the obvious – being able to create multiple copies of an image – I love the unpredictability, the possibility for block colour, the unlimited scope for learning, and even the stress! There’s an element of magic I think.

Where do you work?

At home (I have what would be the dining room as my workspace) and at a beach hut studio shop that I share with other makers on Worthing seafront.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

At home I only have Friday mornings dedicated to work while my youngest goes to nursery. This short time keeps me pretty organised, so I plan my day and am usually quite strict. I’ll get admin and anything important done first, often getting an hour’s work done before the morning school run!

On these days I like to do something that’s not feasible with the kids around, like taking product photos, doing some drawing or printing, anything that takes time and concentration.

Otherwise home work hours are restricted to toddler nap times, but weekends at the beach hut allow for some more relaxed drawing time, as well as meeting lovely customers and other makers.

How long have you been printmaking? When did you start Anna’s Drawing Room?

I put a couple of linocut prints in my Etsy shop about 4 years ago and started tentatively selling at occasional Brighton craft markets. This was at times good, at times disastrous! I started taking it more seriously at the end of 2014, when I became officially self-employed.

What inspires you?

Inspiration comes from all around in daily life, from the ever-beautiful seascape, to the trees in the park, to the birds in the garden or the pot plants around the house.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

It’s got to be my little wooden handled lino cutter with changeable blades. It’s so compact, comfortable to use and can be safely popped into my handbag to take to the hut. It’s really lovely to sit and concentrate on simply carving some shapes.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

My new seascape screen prints. They came out just as I’d hoped, and have been popular so I’m really happy.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

On Etsy, from Victoria in Lewes, Studio 45 in Brighton and our studio in Worthing. 

What will we be seeing from Anna’s Drawing Room next?

More landscape-inspired work, more patterns, colour layers and slightly larger scale work I hope!

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

I would recommend joining a community, online or otherwise. It keeps you going! And get expert help/advice from the pros for the things you find tricky.

See more of Anna’s work on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook or visit her Etsy Shop.



Thermofax Printing

Thermofaxes are made using photocopy technology from the 1950s. They create a light weight type of silk screen without any chemicals just infared light
and Riso silk screen fabric. We can make your own design into a Thermofax screen – have a look at this quick film to see how speedy the process is.


There is much confusion around the differences between Photographic Silk Screens and Thermofaxes. Thermofaxes are most suited to textural, light weight
lines without large solid areas. They are not as hard wearing as a Silk Screen but much cheaper. We really like them as they can be used very spontaneously
to print a tossed design on fabric. You can use a Thermofax with a variety of mediums including thickened Procion Dyes, Screen Printing Inks or
as we have used here: Handprinted Fabric Paints.

We started by drawing our image onto a piece of standard (80gsm) photocopy paper using a carbon pencil.  


We then made our drawing into a Thermofax screen – we can make your design into a Thermofax for you just order online and then email the image over to us and we will do the rest.

We pinned our fabric to a slightly padded table top – we use a blanket with a sheet over – it helps to get a good print. We put a
strip of fabric ink of along the top of the screen.            


We printed in a similar way to screen printing except using much less pressure and just one pull – a Thermofax squeegee is much softer.  


Because the Thermofax screen is so small (we used the medium size) you can print images quite close together.    


When we had printed enough of the Turquoise we washed out the screen in cold running water and then dried it with a soft towel. You must be much more
gentle with a Thermofax when cleaning.

Then we dried the printed areas using a hairdryer so we could carry on printing.


We kept layering up the colours using the same motif. You can have more than one image on a Thermofax like we have but you need to be careful
not to print the second image.


When the ink was dry we ironed it using a hot, dry iron to fix the paints.  


The finished print!


You will need:

Thermofax screen

Thermofax squeegee

Fabric paints – we used Yellow, Kiwi, Orange, Dark Turquoise, Pink, Wine Red and Plum.

An iron

Something to print – we used Prima Cotton


If you are local to us we are running a introductory class in Thermofax Printing on 24th June 1.30-4.30 – £15 for more details click here.  

Two other prints taken from the same screen.