Artists Linoleum – Lino for Linocuts…Linoprints

Artists Linoleum

I must say there have been a few changes to the artists linoleum used to make linocuts/linoprints over the last 30 years or so. Many people will remember those old hard brown squares of lino we valiantly tried to carve in our high school art classes! Well they have progressed since then…thank goodness!!

Below are some of the samples of the lino that I have used over the past 20 years – much of which is from the past 10 years. Just a few small thoughts of my experiences with these different types of artists lino.

Original old brown Lino

This is the original hard lino from a very long time ago….

nostalgic…but it is hard to carve, turning many a high school student off linocuts for life!

Original grey silkcut linoThis is the original grey silkcut lino/

I used this over a few years

Many of my earlier linoprints use this lino.

older silkcut light brown linoThis is the light brown lino silkcut replaced the lovely grey with.

I found it difficult to carve.

So sourced some other linoleum listed below….

Uknown red brown linoThis is a very flexible easy to carve lino.

It has a smooth surface for printing and does not need to be heated for carving. However I found for fine detail work it does have a tendency to chip off a little.

Armstrong Dark brown linoThis is Armstrong dark brown lino.

I have found it carves nicely and easily but again can ‘chip’ off smaller fine details more easily than other lino but a little less than the light red brown lino above

Current Grey Silkcut LinoThis is the current light grey silkcut lino.

It is a little firmer to carve than the above 2 brown lino but it does chip less so can be better for finer detail. I must say I do like this new style the silkcut have produced.

12 thoughts on “Artists Linoleum – Lino for Linocuts…Linoprints

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  1. hi there! hopefully you get this, i know you posted this last year! i wanted to know because i am just now starting to experiment with incorporating linocuts into my line of greeting cards. do you talk anywhere about the kinds of ink to use? i used screenprint ink, but not sure how diff that is from block ink. and do you clean the block after so that they can be reused in another run of printing? i posted my very first rough draft print last night, still got a ways to go. i made a cherry tree with a cage, because after i print i will hotglue a folded origami crane sitting on top of the branch. any info you have as far as the ink would be great, i’ll keep reading your posts too! maybe you could follow my blog too!

    1. Hi David,
      Screen printing inks are designed to be pushed through a fine screen so are not really the right consistency for relief printing.
      Relief printing inks have a ‘thicker’ quality that can be rolled out with a roller or brayer and then transferred onto the block for printing.
      There are two basic types of relief printing inks for linocuts – water-based and oil-based. I use oil-based ink as I then handcolour using watercolours – they need be cleaned up using turps or something like vegetable oil etc. You can also use water-based relief printing inks – which have the advantage of having a water wash up. Many linocut artists use waterbased inks especially when using multiple blocks or reduction blocks using different colours.
      I prefer the effect I can achieve for my work with wildflowers etc using the hand colouring with watercolour. I also enjoy working with this particular process at this time.
      All the best with your linocuts and your cards.
      kind regards

  2. Used Linoleum
    I have used Linoleum from a 500 sq feet area. The Linoleum has been taken off the floor in strips.

  3. I found your reviews on the different types of Lino interesting . It’s always nice to see a different opinion. I have always found the so called easy cut or soft cut Lino’s less effective than Brown Original Lino.

    1. Sorry Anne for the late reply!! Life outside artwork has been very hectic these last few months!
      I have found there are shortfalls as well as advantages to all the different types of linos. The one I am currently using is the grey Silkcut. It still has the traditional hessian backing but has a lovely smooth surface for printing and is easier to carve than the old floor tiles. I have issues with RSI in particular so some degree of easiness makes my life easier & less painful. I have never used the double sided extremely soft easy carve tiles so I cannot comment on them.
      Glad you have found the lino that suits you and your style of work as this is the most important advice I can give.
      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hello,
    I am hoping that you can advise.
    I have been looking for a wholesale supplier of linoleum, whether Australia or Overseas……I am wanting to cut large sizes and shapes….!
    Thanking You

    1. Hi Heather,
      I visit the local University Shop & get large pieces of lino there but in the past I have ordered it in a large roll.
      Just be aware that you need to use the lino as quickly as possible as it can ‘dry out’ and become harder to carve.
      Also ask the supplier if it is soft & pliable & not hard when you buy it – some suppliers have the large rolls for some considerable time & again it can become a lot harder to carve.
      I am currently happy using Silk Cut Lino which is soft & pliable – it suits me but it is always good to buy a small sample to make sure it is the type you want. I notice Silk Cut are now selling it from their website – I have not ordered it this way but would be tempted if the postage was not too bad.
      In the past I have used PARKERS FINE ARTS SUPPLIES 3 Cambridge Street The Rocks Sydney NSW 2000 Tel: (02) 9247 9979 Fax: (02) 9252 3706
      You can find a resource list on the Warringah Printmakers site –
      Hope that helps

  5. The internet brings us closer in some respects but farther in others. Tried to purchase Silk Cut linoleum for shipment to New York, USA and shipping was more expensive than the sheets. Heard accolades about their linoleum and tried to find a resource here and was unsuccessful.There is not the vast selection that you in AU seem to enjoy. I’m new to this medium and searching for softer linoleum than the brittle orange and grey sheets here.. ANy suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Jerry,
      Sorry that you can’t get Silkcut it really is such a nice lino. There is a print exchange I belong to call SSNW – it is a Yahoo group which anyone can join. There are members from the US & Canada & you can ask questions on the forum. Everyone is really nice & open to helping others. A possibility is to join this group & get some advice for lino supplies in the US. This is the link
      kind regards

      1. Hi Lyn,

        I did find a US supplier of Silkcut at an art store in Santa Cruz CA. Their name is Lenz Art Supply and they are shipping a few sheets to me.

        Thank you again for all your help


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